On your mark…
... to W. Prospect Street in downtown Nazareth this Saturday for the 4th Annual Nazareth Adult Soapbox Derby.
The race, which is organized by brother-duo Mike and Matt Rinker, is open to any and all local go-kart builders, and those who have the gall to climb into the driver’s seat.
The starting line is on the W. Prospect Street hill, and ends almost a quarter-mile later at the intersection of W. Prospect and S. Green streets. The road will be closed and marked into lanes, thanks to the aid of the Nazareth Borough Highway Department.
Practice starts at 9 a.m. and the races begin at noon. Expect the three-racer heats to last until about 3:30 p.m.
“It’s pretty hilarious to watch, [and] we do have EMS there,” joked Mike.
The rules, outlined by Matt:
- Cars can be a maximum of five-feet wide and ten-feet long.
- There is no weight limit, but a driver and a helper have to be able to lift the car.
- All four wheels must stay on the ground.
- No “James Bond stuff”: no smoke bombs, oil slicks, smokescreens, etc.
- Deadline to register your car - TODAY - Wednesday, May 4 at midnight
According to Matt, this year’s race has 44 registered drivers, 20 of whom are rookies. Racers must be at least 18 years old and trophies are awarded to the drivers with the best three times.
At the end of each heat, the cars will be lined up and those in attendance can vote for their favorite. This fourth winner is dubbed the “crowd-pleaser.”
Mike explained how the annual derby came to be:
“We made go-karts [and] we needed a place to run them, so we took them up to Mountain Road," he said. "Once [the go-karts] got to the bottom, they fell apart; [the hill] was too steep. Then we asked the borough, and they said it sounded fun.”
The first derby had 15 registered racers, and has only increased from there, said Mike, adding that turnout reaches into the hundreds.
Two years ago, Mario Andretti waved the checkered flag for each heat. In 2010, American Idol contestant Tyler Grady was in attendance.
“Everyone loves [the derby], it’s a fun event, and as long as the borough lets us, we’ll keep doing it,” Mike said.
All registration proceeds -- $20 per driver -- have always gone to Nazareth-based charities. Last year’s proceeds went to the , and this year's will go to .
To see the list of registered racers, as well as pictures and videos of past derbies, visit www.point-o-eight.com/soapbox/. And, for those procrastinators, you have until midnight tonight to register your car, which can be done through the website.