Speed demons, youngsters and businesses on wheels bombed down Zippy Raceway at the 2017 Soup Box Derby on Sunday morning in Langley.
Twenty cars participated in the annual race organized by the Langley Community Club. Around 300 spectators were treated to the sight of wacky derby cars driven by business owners and their employees, children, community members and off-islanders down First Street to Anthes Avenue.
“It was awesome; it’s beautiful weather and it was great seeing the different types of cars,” said Chris Burns of Langley, who watched the races with his 14-year-old son Caleb. “It’s the first time we’ve come down. It’s a really good local event and I thought it was pretty well put together.”
There were two minor crashes on the day, but nobody was hurt. The first happened early on in the derby when a young competitor crashed into a hay bale. John Lawson, president of the Langley Community Club, said he had a scrape on his knee from the crash and that he was wearing helmet.
During the “grudge matches” where racers are pitted against one another, Wayne Furber and Dave Holte’s dinghy-on-wheels named “The Rod Father” and Jason Shoudy’s derby car collided after crossing the finish line. The accident broke the left wheel of the fishing-themed vehicle, which knocked them out of the derby.
“We called in the coast guard,” Furber joked.
Both Furber and Holte found the experience startling, but Shoudy — participating in the race for the first time — enjoyed the thrill.
“It was pretty fun actually,” Shoudy said.
Other than the two minor crashes, Lawson said the event had “perfect weather” and healthy participation.
“The crowd was great,” Lawson said.
Claiming the first place prize in the final race of the day was Whidbey Island Winery’s speedy wine barrel on wheels, while second place went to the Whidbey Island Pirate Academy. All 20 participating cars were also awarded “goofy” awards made by members of the Langley Community Club.
There were rumors that Sunday’s race may have been the last for Whidbey Island Winery drivers Greg and Elizabeth Osenbach, who have won more than a few times since they started competing in 2002. Elizabeth Osenbach said they are currently undecided, but that the race is still a thrill.
“That whole day is so much fun,” Elizabeth Osenbach said. “It’s kind hard to say I’m never going to do that again.”
Some of the fun for Osenbach was seeing kids compete in the race. Railer Biggs, 11, was among them. Biggs, who considers himself a speed demon, used a retrofitted go-kart made by Tim Leonard. He was happy with its performance.
“It went fast,” Biggs said. “It was awesome.”
There were four kids who raced as individuals, while other children also raced with their families. Lawson said they may consider creating a separate division for the younger ages at next year’s derby.
Jaidin Jones piloted Village Pizzeria’s clunky but fast derby car by himself during the warm-up races, but added his friend Patrick Lee to help increase their rate of speed.
“It’s much more effective,” Lee said. “The more weight, the more momentum.”
Lee also helped slow down the derby car after crossing the finish line.