Last year’s winner competing in U.S. at 82nd annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World championships
The reigning champion will be noticeably absent when the Tyne Valley Soapbox Derby holds its annual race this Saturday.
In winning the superstock class in Tyne Valley in 2018, Carter DesRoches, 13, earned the right to represent Tyne Valley at the 82nd annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World championship in Akron, Ohio.
That event is also this weekend and Carter, along with his mom and dad - Shelley and Jeff - and his brother and sister - Liam and Kate, are already in the U.S. making preparations for the big race.
Having seen the hill and the competition, DesRoches admits it’s going to be a hard race to win, but he says he will give it his all.
It’s an elimination event. Only the winners of the heats move on.
The Lot 16 family headed to the States last Thursday, and Carter got a practice run on the hill Sunday. It was easy to tell the hill is steeper and faster than the one he’s raced on in Tyne Valley the past four years.
“You have to push harder to brake,” Carter said.
He was also getting three runs down the hill on Tuesday, in a race program where the fastest overall time takes top place. It’s a competition, but also an opportunity to prepare for Saturday’s elimination races.
He said Soap Box enthusiasts in Akron take the sport seriously. Many of them race every weekend.
Jeff DesRoches said his son raced the smaller derby cars in Tyne Valley twice before moving up to the superstock in 2017.
DesRoches is racing in the P.E.I. Bag Company car, the same one that carried him to first place in Tyne Valley last year. It was shipped to Akron for inspections ahead of the family.
Back in Tyne Valley, a new crop of superstock racers are hoping to punch their ticket to Akron in 2020. Races start Saturday at 9 a.m. and registration is already full.
Tyne Valley has been hosting an annual soapbox derby as a special fundraiser for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival since 2011. They added the All-American Division in 2013 and have been sending the winner on an expenses-paid trip to Akron every year since.
There are 20 superstock racers and 54 go-derby cars all lined up to race in heats in Tyne Valley on Saturday.
Registration might be full, but there is still lots of room for spectators.