It was a close race for Avery Klimec as the gate dropped and the two cars raced down the hill during the Downhill Derby Sept. 14.

Speeding by at 37 km/h in downhill derby

Would-be race car drivers had their chance at fame and glory during Ponoka’s Downhill Derby last weekend.

Would-be race car drivers had their chance at fame and glory during Ponoka’s Downhill Derby last weekend.

A special lift raised soapbox cars to give them a speedy start on the 42 Avenue hill in Riverside and kids raced side by side vying for top speed. Numbers were down this year, says organizer Greg Rowland.

“Everyone’s just stepping in,” said Rowland.

The derby started later in the year as well, making it tougher to get kids to race. He credits organizer Karen Williams for ensuring they were able to move forward. There are many benefits to the race, he added.

Kids and parents will work together to build a soapbox and he sees the children benefiting the most out of the experience. The downhill derby brings a safe place for children to race their soapboxes. “The kids really have a good time.”

He remembers racing down hills when he was younger but there were no hay bales or closed roads to ensure a safer experience. The derby provides a safe environment and allows kids enjoy speeding down the hill in excess of 37 km/h.

“That’s the main thing, it’s building memories,” said Rowland.

Support for the derby has been strong in Ponoka. The Lions Club, the Kinsmen, ATB Financial Services and Service Credit Union and other businesses have stepped up to sponsor the race. Rowland says organizers are looking for a service club to take over planning. “The Kinsmen and Lions Club are out here together.”

Much of the difficult planning has already taken place and crews know what is needed of them. He feels is whoever decides to take over the derby will have much support from organizers.

“The committee members have said they’ll be here for game day,” said Rowland.

For Williams the derby has been a way to bring kids and parents together. After nine years the derby has been a family event and she hopes to see more families try out in the future. “We have lots of kits for sale.”

Race results:

Division A:

• Jack Jones, first

• Serge Klimec, second

Division B:

• Callum Deditch, first

• Brayden Jackson, second

Division C:

• William Langille, first

• Carson Mottus, second

Best in Show:

• Logan Heidt, car 1

• Colby Reed, car 5

• Hiliary Gailbraith, car 11

• Madison Fleck, car 22

• Callum Deditch, car 9