Rules & Regulations
Dimensions & specs, race guidelines, car and driver categories
We try to keep the races as simple as we can, but there are some basic rules that apply to everyone.
Please read this page carefully if you plan to compete.
You should know that if you or your child wants to enter, we encourage you to build your own cart in keeping with the mission of the Derby, which is in part to nurture family participation. However, the Soapbox Derby Committee has its own carts which you can use. The same registration fees apply whether you're entering your own cart or using one of ours.
How the Races Work:
We use a large ramp to start the carts on their way down Main Street, which is on enough of a slope to allow the carts to finish the race. Carts must start off the ramp by gravity only - no pushing (except if it stops on the track - see below).
The ramp is capable of starting carts only within certain dimensions, specified below.
The front of the carts rest against a vertical bar held by the ramp crew until the emcee drops the flag. The bar is then dropped as quickly as possible so as not to affect cart times. The cart begins down the ramp and continues down the street to the finish line.
Carts are raced two at a time. Each entrant is assigned a lane and must stay in it. There is a clear chalk line between the lanes, and a chalk line finish where the timekeepers log the results.
If The Cart Stops in Mid-Track:
* Please note that uneven pavement and the gentle slope of our main street means that some lighter-weight combinations of small children and carts may need a helping hand to finish the race. This is not only allowed but encouraged. It is embarrassing to be sitting in the middle of the lane having run out of steam.
Each cart is allowed a pit crew of one person who may push from behind to get the cart moving once it has stopped. However... if pit crew pushes a cart before it has stopped the cart will be disqualified. This is as much a race of driving skill as it is of cart construction.*
General Rules and Guidelines:
- Pit crews must stay in attendance with car/drivers at all times, or driver may be disqualified.
- Good behaviour and sportsmanship at all times.
- If car stops prior to finishing the race, a pit crew member is allowed to give the car a physical boost (push) to enable the driver to obtain a time across the finish line.
- Drivers of cars must stay with cars for duration of the race or risk disqualification.
- Prizes will be awarded as stated on separate Award Sheet.
- In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by a separate race or heat.
- Times will be recorded only for drivers registered to the car.
- Prizes are awarded on the basis of your best time.
Racers are divided into age categories dependent on the age range of those registered.
Adult category starts at age 16.
Carts are divided into either Standard or Open category. Regardless of which one you are entering, your cart must have a braking system. This could be anything from fake Flintstone feet to air brakes, but if you're designing it to go fast, you must be able to stop it. See the Tech Tips page for ideas.
Standard category cart specs:
Max. weight (cart only): 80lb. (36 kg)
Max. length: 60" (150 cm)
Max. width: 36" (90cm)
Max. height: 32" (81cm)
*Standard category carts must contain all the GoKit parts.
Open category cart specs:
Max. weight (cart only): 100lb (46 kg)
Max. length: 72" (183 cm)
Max. width: 45" (114cm)
Max. height: 32" (81cm)
GoKit parts may be used but are not mandatory.
*Please do not exceed these dimensions. Our ramp is only so big!
Note that the retaining bar on the ramp needs to connect with your cart to keep it behind the line until the flag drops (see picture), so make sure you have something on your cart it can connect with.
Entrants can be any age (provided they're 5 and up). Cart category will depend on what kind of cart you use. Many of the open category carts are privately built (not kits).
The rules are intended to provide fair and uniform regulations governing the competition. It is not possible to write individual rules governing every possible circumstance, so the right and responsibility to interpret them in the interests of the entrants and the competition as a whole rests with the judges.
By participating in the event, all entrants are deemed to have consented to the rules and the authority of those who enforce them.
Now we've got all that out of the way, grab your racing goggles and go to the registration page!