SAINT JOHN – As 10-year-old Lucy Wolfe barrelled down the centre lane at the All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship earlier this summer, the announcer faltered as to where she was from.
“In lane two from Saint John, uh, Canada? Lucy Wolfe,” he said into the loud-speaker.
But it didn’t matter, as a few seconds later, she made sure he wouldn’t forget it again. Lucy became the first person from Saint John to ever win a race at the Soap Box Derby World Championship, beating two American racers in her heat.
When asked how it felt to hear her name announced as the winner, Lucy told Global News she felt relieved.
Lucy was one of two Saint John racers at the World Championship Derby in Akron, Ohio. Eleven-year-old Alyssa Wright also made the trip with her family. Both girls came in first at the New Brunswick Soap Box Derby held in Saint John in May. Lucy won the stock division and Alyssa, the super stock.
The New Brunswick race was held at Lily Lake Pavillion in Rockwood Park. Many of the teams in the race came from local schools.
Alyssa explained her name was chosen in a draw to be the driver for the race and by luck many of her best friends were chosen as her pit crew. They spent the day cheering her on and keeping her tires clean so she could drive fast.
In each race, drivers compete against each other with the winner moving on and the losers held over to the “B” races. The drivers can expect to be in more than a dozen races throughout the day, before the final race.
“When they were just telling us who won by three-hundredths of a second, Car 15: Alyssa Wright, we were all jumping up and screaming,” said Alyssa. “It was like ‘Wow, I just won!’”
In Lucy’s case, she built her soap box with her family and they also formed her pit crew. Not only did Lucy win her division, but she also won every race.
“It felt good,” she told Global News. “But then you have to worry about the next race.”
Lucy has been racing for three years, while Alyssa only started racing this year.
In the U.S., both got to work together to build their own homemade boxcar for one race.
While there, they met competitors from around the world and Alyssa raced against people from the U.S., New Zealand, Germany and Japan.
When asked what they love most about racing, Alyssa was quick to reply that driving is her favourite part.
“Since I’m too young to drive an actual car, this is the next best thing,” she said.
Both will be competing again next year.