Skip to main content

Neighbors of Kane County

‘Haulin’ Down Houston’ Soap Box Derby on June 11

Apr 26, 2017 12:29PM ● By Neighbors Magazines

Are you ready for some racing?!!! The Batavia Fireworks Committee is proud to host the second annual Haulin’ Down Houston Soap Box Derby as part of our annual Flag Day Ice Cream Social celebration on Sun., June 11, on the Batavia Riverwalk. This year’s event will include a parade of cars as well as prizes for best design and, of course, grand champion. Register online at by May 31 to design and build an original car and join us in this fun-filled race down Houston St. (a $25 registration fee is required; this is not a sanctioned Soap Box Derby event). Our race is open to all age groups and skill levels.

Racers and fans alike can show their support for this year’s race by purchasing t-shirts and other exclusive Haulin’ Down Houston merchandise only at Batavia Parcel (1921 W. Wilson St., corner of Wilson and Randall).

There are five basic rules for cars and participants:

1. Gotta go!

Each derby car must be gravity powered. No motors or engines. There is no limitation on weight, materials or designs. Cars are generally made of wood. When using wood it is suggested that you use screws rather than nails and be sure to use plenty of wood glue.

2. Gotta turn!

a. Simple pivot steering is the most basic and common steering system. Basically, the front axle is a solid piece that rotates about a single pivot in the center. This system is the most simple to construct and is quite adequate since you will not need a big turning radius.

b. Four bar linkage is like a steering mechanism that you might find in your automobile. It is more complex and harder to construct and thus it is seldom recommended. Whatever method of steering you use, it is not wise to limit it to the range of your car. The derby will be run on a straight course so that there will be little need for sharp turns. Please do not design your car to turn on a dime, it is not safe and may cause your car to flip.

3. Gotta stop!

a. Skid pad on the wheels is a very basic, yet very effective braking method. In this method, you set up a pad or brake shoe that rubs against the wheels to stop the car. This is the most preferred method for cars made from scratch because of its effectiveness and simplicity.

b. A skid pad on the ground is similar to the first option, but instead of a pad contacting the wheels, it contacts the ground. This method is a little more complex to construct and probably less effective than the pad on the wheels method. However, this is the method that was first used in soapbox racers.

c. Caliper brakes on the wheels are like your basic bicycle brakes. This method works great although the construction needs to be fairly concise for the brakes to be effective.

d. A parachute could be used—but, just for fun! Regardless of the braking system that you choose the most important thing is that the car must be able to stop. Good brakes will go a long way in preventing crashes.

4. Gotta wear a helmet!Helmets are a must! Please do not alter helmets in any way that would change their effectiveness. Cars will not be allowed on the track unless the driver is wearing a helmet. Elbow pads are also encouraged.

5. Minors gotta have permission!All minor drivers must have the permission slip and release waiver signed by their parent to enter the derby. Entry forms need to be signed and turned-in before racing.

Registration forms and additional race information are available at Batavia City Hall or you can visit our website at Please direct questions or inquiries to