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Montague race signup deadline Monday

Recorder/Paul Franz
Joe Landry of Montague sits in one of the soapbox cars that he has made or helped make.

Recorder/Paul Franz Joe Landry of Montague sits in one of the soapbox cars that he has made or helped make.

TURNERS FALLS — Whether welding, carpentry or extreme duct-taping is your forte, the Montague Soapbox races are coming and there should still be time to demonstrate your skills and put your wheels on the road.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 16 and race day is Sept. 22.

The goal of the competition is to glide from the top of the First Street hill — or the middle, for junior racers — to the finish line in front of Unity Park as rapidly or as imaginatively as possible in a cart of your own construction.

Trophies are awarded for speed in each age division as well as for creativity, and carts range from the meticulously engineered to the precariously whimsical.

Turners Falls artist Joe Landry will race this year in a high-tech fiberglass construction he said resembles an old Triumph sports car, but he doesn’t necessarily recommend that level of work.

With a moderate degree of handiness, some old bicycles and basic building materials, Landry said it should be possible to build a cart for under $50 in a weekend, and many entries are made in a day or two. The key, he said, is an old bicycle, which often provides frame, bearings and wheels.

The race is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Spectators are shielded from errant carts by a wall of hay bales, behind which can be found food vendors and a beer tent in the park.

Landry said he has competed in quite a few derbies in Montague and elsewhere.

“Just like anything, it’s the reward within building it, and it’s camaraderie, the race itself. Like any sport, you have fun participating,” he said.

Applications and rules, including cart specifications, can be found online at:

montaguesoapboxraces.com

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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