Youngsters roll to victory at Downhill Derby

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Lacombe’s Mason Deditch flies down the hill on 42nd Avenue during the Ponoka Downhill Derby on June 11. Thirty-eight children ages six to 16 took part in the event.

Lacombe’s Mason Deditch flies down the hill on 42nd Avenue during the Ponoka Downhill Derby on June 11. Thirty-eight children ages six to 16 took part in the event.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

From the bottom, the hill on 42 Avenue doesn’t seem that daunting. But when you’re on the top, strapped into a soapbox racer, it’s a whole new ballgame.

38 riders aged six to 16 participated in the 2011 Downhill Derby on June 11, reaching speeds of up to 35 km/h.

The track, from 43 Street to a park near the end of the street, proved to be a challenge for some, but a breeze for others.

The participants were split into three groups by age. Class A was six to eight, Class B nine to 12 and Class C was 13 to 18.

Brayden Jackson, a first-year racer from Ponoka, grabbed the top overall time with a finish of 20.78.

Jackson subsequently placed first in the Class A finals, while Callum Deditch placed a close second with a time of 21.73.

Connor Hoffman took home first prize in the Class B finals with a time of 21.25.

Andrew Jones, a grizzled soapbox veteran of five years, finished first in Class C with a time of 21.75 — claiming victory in the last two races.

Jones is forced to hang up the soapbox driving gloves at the end of this season, though. He will soon be too old to compete in the Ponoka Downhill Derby.

Jones says that the secret to being successful in the downhill derby is all in the car.

“It has to be heavy,” said Jones. “Mine is built out of solid wood.”

Winners in the timed categories weren’t the only winners, though. The Ponoka Downhill Derby Society also gave out the prize for best in show to youngster Madison Fleck.

She and her parents built the car, which was based on the cartoon character Penelope Pitstop from the Hanna Barbera cartoon ‘Wacky Races.’ Fleck also received a trophy for the prize.

“I’ll probably put it in my room,” said Fleck.

The Lions Club of Ponoka as well as various other corporate donors provided volunteer and monetary support for the event.