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  • 17 Sep 2014

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For daredevils, race is all downhill

Expect some beer, blood to be spilled at annual Soap Box Derby


Photo Credit: COURTESY OF PDX ADULT SOAP BOX DERBY - Creativity, piloting and speed - relatively speaking - are part of the fun in the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby, which will be held at Mt. Tabor, Aug. 16.Fast and fashionable or slow and stylish, people will be rolling downhill in notable events in August.

The same weekend as the Dew Tour will be the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby, a tradition on the paved, but daunting slopes of Mount Tabor since 1997. Scores of individuals and their crafts — many of them Portlandcentric, of course — go for speed and corners starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

The event was started by Paul Zenk and Eric Foren, with six hardy souls rolling down Mount Tabor the first year. Today, there are more than 40 entries for the event, launching downhill every four minutes — and it’s free to watch, with up to 5,000 fans cheering on the daredevil racers.

It’s too late to be a competitor for 2014, but it’s not too early to plan for 2015.

For all info: www.soapboxracer.com.

The next weekend, Sunday, Aug. 24, 41 of the most creative soap box derby racing teams gather up north for the Red Bull Soapbox Race

Seattle in downtown Seattle. Racers will speed down Yesler Way, with a berm and a hard left on Second Avenue before the crossing line.

There’ll be some entries from the Portland area: Los Vatos Locos del Toro Rojo, a low-riding, tricked-out craft steered by veteran driver Morris “The Magic Man” Torseth; MJ and the Blackfish, from Ridgefield, Wash., with Jared Armstrong driving an orca-inspired craft; Wildfang, with Emma Mcilroy piloting a craft for the “babelicious tomboys” team.

For info: redbullsoapboxrace.com.

For kids, another season of All-American Soap Box Derby has begun — for info, go to aasbd.org.

Of the Oregon clubs, the Salem Soap Box Derby (salemsbd.org) is the oldest dedicated derby organization west of the Mississippi River. Soap box derbies once were all the rage, with more than 50,000 spectators taking in the national championships in Ohio. But, attendance has fallen since the 1980s.