Drivers, time to start rolling downhill!
The Kiwanis Club of Hazard is proud to announce that the 13th annual Bud Combs Memorial Soap Box Derby race, part of the international All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), is set for April 14 on Memorial Drive, starting at 8 a.m. Director Tom Cravens is looking forward to another exciting race day with drivers in both Stock and Super Stock division.
Soap Box Derby cars are gravity cars that start from a fixed point and roll downhill toward the finish line. In years past, some cars have been clocked by radar at almost 40 miles per hour. The cars in the Hazard race are sponsored by either local business or private owners. The two divisions are the Stock division, which is open to drivers who will be seven years of age or older on April 14, and Super Stock which is open to drivers who are 10 years to 16 years of age by race day. The Stock division had been set at 8 years in the past, but rules changed at the international level, so Hazard followed suit. Drivers wishing to register for this year’s race should contact Mr. Tom Cravens at the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky at 606-436-5721 or by email at email@example.com.
The Kiwanis Club of Hazard will sponsor two clinics for drivers to work on their cars and complete the necessary paperwork for the race. All clinics and the final check-in will be held at the gym at R.G. Eversole Middle School. The first clinic will be held on Tuesday, March 20 starting at 6 p.m. and lasting until around 8 p.m. The second clinic will be on Saturday, March 31 starting at 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. All drivers are strongly advised to attend one of these clinics. The final check-in will begin at 4 p.m. on April 13. If a car wants to run on race day, it must be at the final check-in, along with the driver. The Kiwanis Club of Hazard will be responsible for moving the cars from the RGE gym to the race site.
Local race workers have put together a suggested tools list that the drivers and their adult helper will find useful. These tools are: a No. 2 Phillips screwdriver, a wide flat head screwdriver, wrenches (3/8, 7/16, ½ and 9/16), hammer, soldering iron with lead free solder and flux, 5/64 Allen wrench, triangulation materials, feeler gauges, C-clamps, standard pliers, wire cutters, 10 foot or longer tape measure, a plastic cup to hold screws and washers, and a battery powered drill.
While each race site involved in the Soap Box Derby is different, the local site was the brainchild of its namesake in the 1930s in Bluefield, WV, and members of the Kiwanis Club in Hazard began discussions on bringing the AASBD back to Hazard. They received the full support of two former winners of the Hazard races from the 1930s, Bill Gorman (long-serving mayor of Hazard) and E.L. Adams (well-known Hazard businessman). Mr. Combs designed the starting gate and helped to determine the race track. Through the years he helped build many of the cars that took part in the race and put together the SBD racing team with the most wins for Dr. Mitch Wicker and the Hazard Clinic. His expertise and engineering knowledge were invaluable tools not only to his own race team, but to any other driver involved in the race who desired it. As Bobby Charles Turner, a Hazard race official said, “Bud has forgotten more about these cars than the rest of us will ever know.”