Martins Ferry prepares for Soap Box Derby

MARTINS FERRY – Derby day in the Purple City is drawing closer and the members of the Martins Ferry Soap Box Derby committee are hard at work making preparations for the 21st annual Great Race.

Members met last week to discuss a myriad of topics.

The race itself will be held Sunday, June 9 with a 10 a.m. sharp start time. The National Anthem will officially kick off the day’s activities at 9:30 a.m.

The pre-race clinic for drivers and their parents is slated for Wednesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the American Legion in town.

The following week, picture day for the drivers will be Wednesday, May 22, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot adjacent to The Times Leader at 200 S. 4th St.

Drivers will need to bring the shell of their car for the picture. Photos will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and will later be included in the color special section The Times Leader publishes prior to race day. All drivers are encouraged to attend.

Trial runs down Hanover St. will be held the Sunday preceding race day on June 2. The first group of racers will head down the hill at 9 a.m. and the trials will conclude at 1 p.m. Drivers are asked to register for their desired testing hour by calling the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce at 740-633-2565.

Car inspections will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4-5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Martins Ferry School District Bus Garage. Inspection times are handed out at half-hour intervals up until 8:30 p.m. each evening.

Drivers are asked to call ahead of time to sign up for your preferred inspection time.

Committee members noted that special attention will be paid to brakes in this year’s cars.

Braking was an issue for a few drivers last year and its members want to make sure drivers are seated far up enough to apply proper pressure to the brakes.

Boys and girls wishing to participate must be at least 8 years old by June 9 and cannot be age 16 on race day.

All drivers must wear the soap box derby helmet which costs $16. The registration fee is $40 per driver, payable by either the driver or the car’s sponsor.

Registration forms can be picked up at the chamber office, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

A good number of racers are already signed up. However, more is always better.

“We’re still looking for cars and drivers to sign up,” Dave Russell said.

The next meeting of the committee is Wednesday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the chamber office.