Monrovia Soap Box Derby Racers Prepare for Big Day

Two vintage racers from the ‘40s appeared at the clinic held on Saturday. - Photo by Susan Motander / Beacon Media News
Two vintage racers from the ‘40s appeared at the clinic held on Saturday. – Photo by Susan Motander / Beacon Media News

By Susan Motander

On Saturday many of the race cars preparing for the Monrovia Old Town Derby next month were in the Mary Wilcox Center in Recreation Park being safety-checked and weighed before the race. On hand were officials from the official Soap Box Derby Association to verify compliance with the rules.

The Monrovia Old Town Derby will take place on Sept. 7 in conjunction with the 29th Annual Street Rods Forever Car Show in Old Town. With Delaware Financial as its principal sponsor, and the Street Rods Car Club playing host, soapbox derby-style racers will once again whisk down Myrtle Avenue.

This year, proceeds from the event will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills as a tribute to the Fred and Diane Bowden Family. The racing will take place on Myrtle with the starting ramp located at Palm and Myrtle avenues at the north end of Library Park. The races will start at 9 a.m. and should be concluded by 3 p.m.

Complete rules for the derby can be found at as well as the registration form. Registration is open now. Any questions regarding the derby can be sent to

There are three classes of cars for racing: stock, super stock and open. The rules detail the differences between the classes.

While the Monrovia races will not be part of the sanctioned Soap Box Races, they intend to adhere to the same rules; hence the need for the officials overseeing the operations.

There were a few surprises at the workshop on Saturday. Two vintage racers appeared. They were original soap box derby race cars circa the late 1940s. Both last raced in the 2002 Monrovia Derby held in conjunction with Monrovia Days. That year two young men raced against each other; they were cousins. For those of you who recall fondly the old derby races in conjunction with Monrovia Days, there is good news: former Chief of Police Joe Santoro has been acting as a technical advisor to the organizers and has promised to be on hand on race day.

In 2002 the Soap Box Derby was the highlight of Monrovia Days. – File Photo by Terry Miller/Beacon Media News

The day will start early for the racers and those setting up the event. Starting at 5 a.m., the hale bay barriers will go up on Myrtle Avenue from Palm to Lemon avenues. Families will be allowed onto Palm Avenue to drop off racers and canopies and picnic supplies for “Family Pit Spaces” in Library Park between 7 and 8:30 a.m.

This year the vintage “grudge” match will continue, but with two young ladies in the racers, this time second cousins.  And so it continues…


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