Kitsap Soap Box Derby: Vroom without the fumes

POULSBO — In Kitsap Soap Box Derby, girls rule.

“The girls generally win,” said Kitsap’s derby president, David Walters. Such as 10-year-old Kirsten Vorpahl of Silverdale, who raced in the World Championships in Akron, Ohio last year — only her second year racing.

“It’s exciting, it feels way faster than it is,” she said. Derby cars can reach speeds of 35 mph in the Akron races.

But last Saturday was a feel-good race day, the first of the season. Kitsap Soap Box Derby opened the season racing on a more gentle hill, Dauntless Drive, next to the Big 5 Sports store and the Olympic College campus. Between 16 and 20 kids participated last weekend.

Kids age 7 to 17 can race in soap box derby; the younger in stock cars (total weight 200 pounds), and the older in super stock cars (240 pounds). The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934.

Trevor Martin, an 8-year-old from Poulsbo, is starting his first official year racing. During last year’s practice runs, he was a little nervous.

“Ahh! You’re going to hit the cones,” Trevor said he remembered thinking. But he kept trying, and now says its fun.

Kitsap Derby is a family affair — the older kids inspire their younger siblings, and moms, dads and grandparents are all out in support, and to help with maintenance. They were also joined by 22 Marines from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, volunteering to help move the soap box cars after races.

Walters said their goal is to provide a family-friendly activity: “‘Cause there may be just one seat, but the whole family gets in,” he said.

Around 50 kids from 30 families participate in the derby, now in its 10th year, and the 5th being headquartered in Poulsbo. Families from Hansville to Mason County participate in the derby, and no one is turned away for lack of financial resources. The club owns about 40 cars, to help get newbies started without the $500 investment. Walters said their biggest sponsors are the Suquamish Tribe and Marine View Beverage, and their previous partnership with the Silverdale Rotary Club.

April 14 All-American Rally Results:

Stock: 1st Kirsten Vorpahl, 2nd Brian Bosch, 3rd Bryanna Barry, 4th Jake Poggi, 5th Trevor Martin, 6th Alex Martin, 7th Ben Walters, 8th Logan Sjolin

Super Stock: 1st Danielle Bosch, 2nd Ryan Wixson, 3rd Anthony Poggi, 4th Tommy Walters, 5th Anthony Luchini, 6th Teresa Lynn Pender, 7th Andrew Tufts, 8th Gage Mayer

Sportsmanship Award: Gage Mayer

April 15th All-American Rally Results:

Stock: 1st Kirsten Vorpahl, 2nd Ben Walters, 3rd Bryanna Barry, 4th Brian Bosch, 5th Ryan Vorpahl, 6th Alex Martin, 7th Katie Stuart, 8th Ryan Williams

Super Stock: 1st Ryan Wixson, 2nd Danielle Bosch, 3rd Andrew Tufts, 4th Anthony Poggi, 5th Tommy Walters, 6th Gage Mayer, 7th Anthony Luchini, 8th Stone Van Beynum

Sportsmanship: Jake Poggi

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