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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 13, 2009

Soap Box Derby racers earn trips to Akron

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Capital District Soap Box Derby is quickly growing and some local drivers are winning the downhill battle.

Guilderland natives Cameron Burdgick, Ally Burdgick, Michael Morawski, and Christina Morawski all traveled to Akron, Ohio in July for the Soap Box Derby national championships.

Cameron Burdgick won two heats in the stock division to place in the top 18 and Michael Morawski made his third consecutive visit to Akron this year. Also, Christina Morawski was 15th in the Top Gun Rally Race.

“Akron is more competitive than the Albany races because there are kids from all over the world and stuff,” said Christina Morawski, who is 11. “It’s you and two other racers. If you don’t win, then it’s over.”

Director Ginger Miller brought the Derby back to the Capital District in 2006 after it was absent for 30 years. The field of racers is steadily increasing. There were 41 drivers in 2009 and Miller expects 60 next year.

“My son raced in 1976 and eventually the division died out,” Miller said. “I came across his car one day and I tried to sell it, but couldn’t. I went to Glens Falls to see a race and I asked myself, ‘Why don’t we have Soap Box in Albany?’ I spoke up and brought the races back to Albany.”

The Capital Region Soap Box Derby has an age range of 8 to 17 and drivers must weight 160 pounds or less. “I have so many kids racing now,” said Miller. “It’s really fun.”

All the competitors’ cars must weight the same, but the kids can get creative with the paint job. “I love my car and I love the New York Yankees,” said 8-year-old Cameron Burdgick. “My car is painted with Yankees pin-stripes.”

Racers can reach up to 40 miles per hour during a race.

“Soap Box racing isn’t as easy as one may think,” Michael Morawski, 14, said. “Albany has a pretty bumpy course, but Akron was smooth. You need to find a line to steer and stick to it. Make little adjustments, not big ones.”

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