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Soapbox derby takes off in Northport

Michael Danzi, 8, of Northport participates in the

Michael Danzi, 8, of Northport participates in the inaugural Soapbox Derby Race in Northport. "My car is called the flamerunner because I love the color red," Danzi said. (Sept. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: Ursula Moore

With their hands firmly grasping the steering wheel of their homemade cars, one by one, kids ages 6 to 13 raced down the steep hill in Northport on Sunday at the inaugural Soapbox Derby Race.

Northport Soapbox Derby Race president Scott Rykert was thrilled to see the array of colors and creativity at the event.

“There are no blueprints here, each car is different. It’s great,” Rykert said. “This event is strictly for fun. Everybody that participates today gets a trophy and certificate.”

Created by Rykert and Soapbox Derby Committee members Ali Murdoch and Joseph Bica, the trio decided that derby racing would be a great way for kids to have fun and be imaginative.

Inspired by their Irish heritage, Conor Murdoch, 12, and his 9-year-old sister Siofra of Northport created their race car named “Ar Nos Na Gaoithe” (which means as fast as the wind) out of metal and plywood and painted it green.

“We gave the race car the same name as my sailboat. It took us about two to three days to build it,” said Conor.

Jake Giordano, 9, and Taylor, 11, used the Northport High School colors as their motivation for building their car, “Spitting Cobra,” made of wood.

Their father, Tom Giordano, couldn’t be happier about their enthusiasm.

“We designed it together and I built it. It took about 40 hours,” he said.

Taylor admitted to loving the speed.

“I like when we go fast down the hill,” she said.

According to Rykert, the race cars can reach as high as 30 mph.

Racing in a car he made with his father, 10-year-old Joey Bica of Northport took a nasty turn while steering at the end of the hill during the race. Walking away from the accident with only a few scrapes and bruises, Joey didn’t let the mishap ruin his good spirits.

The Soapbox Derby Committee plans to raise money next year and make donations to local organizations.


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