First Tumbler Ridge Soapbox Races

It all started with a road barricade. As I traveled along Monkman towards the Tumbler Ridge Secondary School (TRSS), I suddenly came upon those familiar spindly structures that you?re not sure whether you?re supposed to go around or avoid all together. Of course you never take a chance?what if a giant pothole consumed your car. But it was no such thing?it was, rather, Soapbox races!

Fred Walkley, the Woodshop and Mechanics teacher at Tumbler Ridge Senior Secondary (TRSS), had developed the projects for his students. Focused on a racing theme, he had grades 10 and 12 working on a Camaro that is destined to drag race in an auto skills competition with at least two other schools, such as Fort St. John, Prince George and possibly Fairview, Alberta, provided it gets completed during the remainder of the school year. The car will remain property of TRSS.

Grade nines built go-carts this year. Walkley felt good about the enthusiasm and focus of the classes.

Grades seven and eight were given a pattern for their soapbox racer. Except for the axle and wheels, the simple structure was built completely out of wood, seat included. The students were allowed to take home the soapbox, but the axles and wheels will be used again. Students raced in teams of three and their race circuit consisted of a flash ride down the hill on Southgate three times. The street had dozens of students and faculty cheering them on. The race was slated for the lunch hour but it got extended to an 80-minute challenge for the drivers and crowd watching.

Coming in first place was the team of Zach Groves, Daniel Helm and Justin Zimmer. In second place were Alex Beaton, Ashton Fallon and Ashton Philpott. In third spot was Wyatt Bye, Connor Hunter and Jordan Poulliot. Walkley was pleased with the good sportsmanship shown, and the students enjoyed both the creation and racing of the soapbox cars. All agreed it was fun and a great reason to be out of the classroom.