Uptown racing—soapbox derby style—on its way to Argyle

Thunder in the Valley won’t be the only race in town this summer with the Kinsmen Club’s soapbox derby flying down Argyle Street on July 30.

The Kinsmen Club of Port Alberni tests out Argyle Street for their proposed soapbox derby.

Thunder in the Valley won’t be the only race in town this summer with the Kinsmen Club’s soapbox derby flying down Argyle Street on July 30.

“This summer, we want to host a soapbox derby in the Alberni Valley for children to young adults to promote the club and the city,” Kinsmen member Mike Hadley told city council on Monday. The race will be open to kids ages six to 12.

“We want to have such a success that the event becomes an annual happening every year before Thunder in the Valley and becomes a beacon for causes that the kids can raise money and awareness for.”

Soapbox derbies are done with non-motorized cars using gravity to propel them forward.

“It is meant for kids who may want to race and compete but do not have the knowledge to build their own racer or access to tools, help or money for such a thing,” Hadley said. He added that soapbox car kits will be available from the Kinsmen Club for a cost of $125 for non-assembled ones and $150 for assembled ones. The cost will also cover the entrance fee.

Racers must use the provided soapbox car kits, Hadley added.

“The problem if someone makes their own cart is that they have a different advantage. If they put different wheels and tires on it they could go faster than the other kids in the event and that also takes away from the safety aspect,” he said.

“Next year, if we manage to hook a lot of people into it, it might be different.”

The race will require the closure of Argyle Street between Seventh Avenue, where it would start, and Fourth Avenue, where it would end.

A ramp will be set up for launching cars two at a time.

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