What is Soap Box Derby Racing?

A soap Box Derby is a sport that has grown in popularity over recent years. It can be said that Soap Box Derby’s began around early 20th century in America. It is mainly a youth orientated type of sport, however, it has grown so popular that adults also take part in events. So what is it all about? Read more about it below.

What is the Object of a Soap Box Derby?

It’s pretty simple, you build a soap box and race it down a road or track that has an incline to gain speed. As the vehicles have no engine, it relies purely on the descent of a road or track. It’s all down to designing a soap box that can get up to speed quickly, and also have good aerodynamics to it can get faster.

Some images of people having some fun in a soap box.

What are the rules of Soap Box Derbys?

The rules are pretty simple for this type of event. It is pretty much the basics to how a soap box works.

  • Must have steering to able to control the vehicle.
  • Brakes must also be installed to control the stopping of the vehicle
  • No assistance from any forces to gain more speed such as an engine.
Soap box Derby
An image taken at the 1950 Allerton soap Box Derby. A lot has changed in the design of these vehicles since.

Racing a Soap Box

So the rules have been briefly explained. Where do these races take place? Preferably they would take place on a road or track with a decent decline to gain a lot of speed. The distance can vary depending on the type of event, but around 500 metres should be enough, although it can be a lot longer for more professional races.

A ramp at the beginning of the race is also installed to aid the vehicle getting up to speed in a fast manner.

The course itself will follow the natural lines of the road or track. Some will be modified to have obstacles, which is more reserved for the fun events of soap Box Derbys. Some obstacles that can be added include bales of hay to create a chicane or tight hairpin or simply cones.

A ramp being used for the start of a soap Box Derby Race. The water has been added for fun. Some races are more serious than others depending on the type of event. You will also notice there are two people in this vehicle rather than the one person in more serious racing events.

How Easy is it to Build a Soap Box?

Building a soap box is pretty easy as it requires no technical parts or engines. Four wheels, a steering wheel/bars, brakes and a base with a chair is enough to build a skeleton of a soap box. The body is pretty much down to the person constructing it. If the vehicle is used for pure racing then it will have a larger focus on aerodynamics. If it is built purely for fun then it will have a body built around a theme.

soap box derby track

How do I Get Involved in Soap Box Derbys?

Surprisingly Soap Box Derbys are held in almost every country around the world these days. A simple online search will give you plenty of results, whether it be nationally or locally. Some links are provided below to help you find more popular events.

  • AASDB provide a wealth of information and list of events around America, including rules, regulations and building guides. Well worth a look.
  • Red Bull holds races all over the world and are also televised.
A video from a soap Box Derby by Red Bull. This is one of the fun type of events rather than the more serious ones.

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