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Ready, set, go! — it’s cart derby time

EYES ON THE ROAD -- ALL FOUR OF THEM: A competitor rolls down Major Mackenzie Dr. during last year's Great Maple Cart Derby. (Vaughan Today file photo)

Like a soapbox cart hurtling downhill toward the finish line, the 2008 Great Maple Cart Derby is coming up fast.

With race day scheduled for Sept. 13 and qualifying set for Aug. 23, there’s still plenty of time to register your 8- to 15-year-old and help them build the next champion gravity-propelled speed machine.

But before the fourth annual race can be run, the soapbox carts need to be built. Would-be racers and their families looking for a summertime project can learn the ins and outs of cart building at two workshops set for July 26 and Aug. 3 in Maple.

“To be able to spend the time working on the car as a family, whatever configuration the family is in — whether it’s the mum helping a son, or it’s a big brother helping a little brother, or an uncle working with his nephews, whatever the case may be — that we think is the important part,” said Detective Constable Garry Vosburg, derby founder and chair.

“The race at the end is just incidental.”

Building a cart is relatively simple to do and takes only about 20 hours, he said, but not everyone knows where to begin.

That’s where Vosburg’s kids come in. They do most of the talking at the workshops because they’ve built these cars before.

“It’s a little more convincing when you say ‘You can do this’ when a 12-year-old can do it,” Vosburg said. “I let them show them how the cars are built and the mechanics behind it.

“It’s a very simple system. … You can do it really out of scrap materials.”

Once participants have the basic knowledge, the sky’s the limit when it comes to design.

“We had a car last year that was designed like a stealth bomber, with a canopy and wings and the whole bit,” Vosburg said.

The derby is divided by age into four racing divisions, with prizes awarded for first, second and third place in each. Awards for best cart design, selected by the drivers, are also handed out on race day.

A fifth racing division — the corporate and community challenge — will pit derby sponsors against local councillors and media, among others.

For more information, visit or call Vosburg at 905-773-1221 ext. 8183.

“It’s not about who wins first, second and third,” Vosburg said. “It’s the accomplishment of building the car that really counts.”

Vaughan Today
Online: July 24, 2008 [link]