Sunday: Scouts bring back soap box derby


Spectators are invited to cheer on members of Menlo Park Boy Scout Troop 222 taking part in a soap box derby at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13.

The race of homemade, gravity-powered cars will take place on Lawler Road, just west of Interstate 280, in Woodside.

For several weeks, the scouts have been working on their cars at The Wood Leaf Inc., a custom cabinet shop in Redwood City.

After completion, each patrol team took its car to paint and add personalized styling for race day, as well as the sponsors' names or logos.

For more information, see the news release below from Jeff and Brett Anstrom of Troop 222.


NEWS RELEASE Feb. 7, 2011

Boy Scout Troop 222 brings back the Soap Box Derby!

MENLO PARK, CA - The Soap Box Derby is back! After several years, Menlo Park BSA Troop 222 is bringing the Soap Box Derby back to their Troop on the mid-Peninsula. Come see the scouts race their homemade, gravity powered cars down Lawler Road in Woodside on Sunday February 13, 2011 at 1:00PM.

The scouts started their weekend building sessions back in December at a local custom cabinet shop, The Wooden Leaf, Inc. in Redwood City. Working with website plans, scouts used 'Green' plywood to construct the body of their cars.

Next, scouts adapted steering linkage, a front axle and wheels to the race cars. Then, the all-important braking systems were fabricated from the online plans.

Each patrol team took their car to a private location to paint and add their own personalized styling for race day as well as the sponsors' names or logos.

The Boy Scouts received tremendous community support to help make this event happen.

Local sponsors who donated time, equipment and funding include; Argon (Radix) Systems, Chislett Equestrian Centre, D&M Traffic Services, Giga-OM, Ladera Recreation District, Nolasco Construction Group, Peninsula Custom Homes, Inc., The Wooden Leaf, Inc. and Young and Borlik Architects.

Troop 222 scouts spent several weeks of hands-on work building these Soap Box Derby cars themselves. Spectators are welcome to come cheer them on at the big race Sunday February 13, 2011 on Lawler Road in Woodside off Sand Hill Road just west of 280.

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 20, 1.1 million volunteers and nearly 300 local councils throughout the United States and its territories.

More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at

More information about Troop 222, Menlo Park, CA can be found at

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

Please note that while this scout troop is calling this a "Soap Box Derby" it is not part of, or sanctioned by, the All American Soap Box Derby, the organization that has been running the international races in Akron Ohio for 70+ years.

The cars being used in this race were built from kits not produced by AASBD, do not meet the assembly and safety requirments of AASBD, and would be ineligable for any true AASBD race. This might be a very fun activity for kids and parents, but I personally have safety concerns for the kids. I sincerely hope I do not get to say "I told you so".

Notes to organizers:
Please make sure you heavily hay-bale the left side of that track along that steep drop-off. I have seen cars mor managable than yours hit the side of the road with enough force to continue over that low curb, and once a car gets on that slope, I fear for the driver. There is a drainage ditch at the bottom that will provide a very hard stop. I know hay bales will narrow the track, but you can't let cars go over.

On the right side of the course is a chain link fence just off the road, no large stopping distance. if a car drifts into that fence and the axel gets stuck in the links, it could give the car a nasty spin. While this is not as bad as the drop-off on the left, it still deserves some hay bales.

Consider tire rubber for your brake mechanism instead of step tread. It has a greater stopping power. Make sure than when the brakes are applied, the rubber stays attached to the car and no metal (screw heads) touches the road. You want rubber-on-pavement.

Check and recheck the play in the steering of those cars. Once they get up to speed even a little play in the steering can make them unmanagable and lead to overcorrecting, and that is when cars leave the road. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. What works when you push the car by hand may not work when the car hits 20+ mph.

Since all these cars and drivers are new to this, take time before the race begins for practice runs. First start with a couple of cars half-way down the hill and see how they handle as the speed increases. Then move up to the top of the hill. In AASBD standard practice is for every first-time driver to get a practice run. It make take more time for this, but there is no substitute for safety where our kids are concerned.

Lastly, please everyone, consider joining Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby ( They are the local official AASBD group and they need your support. If you enjoy this event, check them out.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris Harris
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 9:36 am

The All American Soap Box Derby has been racing official Soap Box Derby races in Mountain View and Palo Alto for many years now! Kids from all over Silicon Valley and the West Coast compete for spots in the official All America Soap Box Derby race - including many Boy Scouts.

Please visit our web site at for more information on the official All American Soap Box Derby racing.

Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

Note to specators:
Enjoy the races, but stay behind, no on, the hay bales. be ready to jump out of the way Do not, under any circumstances, get in front of one of these cars in an attempt to stop it. they are very heavy by the time there is a driver in it, and they will be moving fast enough even when slowed down to seriously hurt you.

If you can't find a safe place to watch from, perhaps it is better not to watch. Stay safe. Above the starting line and below the hay bales at the end are probably the best places. Bring binoculars.

Like this comment
Posted by TOM H
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Good job Boys!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 3 comments | 2,690 views

Juggling Renewables
By Sherry Listgarten | 42 comments | 2,094 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 900 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 637 views

Migraines and motherhood
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 434 views


The Almanac Readers' Choice ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "The Almanac Readers' Choice" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 27th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 17th issue of The Almanac.