Milford Gravity Grand Prix – 2012


Mason Dickman, American Legion Post 450’s sponsored Soap Box Derby driver, speeds to first and second place in the elimination races.

The Cincinnati Soap Box Derby is a youth-development organization for kids ages 7 through 17. The organization, which started in 1934, brought the races to Milford this year for the first time.

Mason Dickman, Legionnaire Fred Dickman’s grandson, was sponsored by American Legion Post 450, Saturday, October, 13, 2012 to drive in the Super Stock class in the Milford Gravity Grand Prix. Youth from across the Cincinnati area started arriving in Milford at 7:30am for registration and classification.

Mason was assigned “The BMW Store R644” car #214 which was weighted and assigned to Mason for the morning Double Elimination races and the afternoon Single Elimination races. For those of us who have never attended or have been involved with the soap box derby, it was an educational and fun event.

Each race is two runs down the track, one in each lane, with wheel swapping between runs which verify that the bearings are equal for each car, time differentials are calculated for each run and the winner selected based on the times.

Mason took to the races like a professional, and had not lost a race in the double eliminations until the final race forcing an additional elimination race with car #206. Mason had taken the first heat in the right lane however he lost the second heat taking second place by less than .05 seconds. In the afternoon Single Eliminations Mason remained undefeated, speeding past car #260 to take first place in the final race.

The drivers, parents and sponsors all talked strategies throughout the day, talking about which lane was faster, how to steer the lane and straddle the sewer lid in lane two, who was driving well and who had what snack.  A nice day and great experience for all those involved.

A special thanks to the Cincinnati Soap Box Derby staff. They shared their knowledge, gave free coaching advice, and kept encouraging all the kids to do better. A real sense caring was demonstrated by Doug Newberry when he walked a car, driven by a special needs child, down the track to the finish line brining a load round of applause. Doug Newberry, a real “Class Act”, accept our thanks from American Legion Post 450 and our “Children and Youth” committee.

I can’t close without thanking the crew from the University of Cincinnati who donated their time to help load and unload the cars from the trailers after each race. Thanks guys.

Tom and Mason Dickman