Sunday, 23 January 2011

Derby Car Races

This is our first year participating in Boy Scouts with Little Man and Princess. Our Boy Scout troop allows siblings to participate but they can not win a medal. Saturday were their first participation in the Derby Car race and it has been quite an eye opening experience for me. I had no idea how serious this competition was and all the rules that go into it. As it was our first year I wasn't exactly sure what to expect and really not at all sure what to do at all.

First up was cutting out a Derby car, since my children are still young this was done by me. I used a band saw and cut a block of wood into a car shape. Both car were pretty much exactly the same. I have since learned there are tons of websites with Derby car patterns. I will keep this in mind next year.

Next, was trying to get the children to sand a car. This was a slow and long process. I don't think either child was able to really manage sanding the car for more than a few minutes, and it didn't help that the sand paper I had kept tearing. After a week of the children sanding, I did do a minor touch up on the sanding in order to get the cars ready for painting. But the bulk of the work was done by the children, after all this is a kids race, right. I saw no need to do any more of the work:)

Next up was painting the car. Again, the kids did all the work. They painted and decided to draw pictures on their cars. All in all I thought they were fine, and happy that the kids did the work.

Little Man drew the solar system on his car with the sun on the roof of the car. Princess drew Dragons on her car. I did tell the children they could use more than one color but they wanted solid colored cars:)

At Little Man's troop meeting the children assemble a Derby Car stand which was also painted and sanded. So the children could display their cars at home after the race.

After doing all this, which was a 3 week process, we were scheduled to take the cars in to be weighed and impounded the night before the race. This is were I ran into trouble. Just before leaving the house I got an email message from base saying there was a tanker spill and that traffic was backed up. Once hearing that I bundled up the kids and rushed them into the car, one hour before we were to be at check in! If you haven't lived in England, then you may not know that if there is a accident is can really, really mess up traffic. My husband who was out of town, had just called from the airport and I quickly relayed the problem and he gave me an alternate route to take, warning me that everyone will be taking this route. Staying positive and determine to get my children's cars checked in I headed off. After 90 minutes on the road we had made it to the next village 6 miles away:(! While struck in traffic I was frantically trying to reach the cub scout leader to see what would happened if we couldn't make it. Surely we would not be the only people not able to make it to base that night. Unfortunately there was no answer to the 6 or 7 phone calls I made, adding to my frustration.. My children were in the back of the car getting more and more upset that we were late for check in. Unfortunately the importance of check in was stressed a little too well at the Boy Scout meeting:( trying to keep calm and not lose my temper at the children because this was an important activity for them and they had worked hard, I tried every back road I could find and kept running into more and more traffic. After 90 minutes I called my husband on the cell phone, he had not boarded his plane yet. There wasn't a thing he could do but I needed to vent and be upset of someone (not the children) so I called him. My daughter and I wanted to turn around an go home, but my son was getting hysterical in the back seat at the thought of not making it to check in on time. My husband hearing the chaos in the car was sympathetic and thought the best action was to go home. Hence even more crying from the back seat:(. However my husband, who was on speaker phone, reassured my son that we would go to the Derby car race in morning and Daddy would make sure the children were able to run their cars. To my astonishment, upon hearing this my son stopped crying and agreed to go home. Later that night when talking about our disappointment of not making it to base my son annouced that Daddy would make Boy Scouts run his car no matter what. I told my husband this when he finally arrived that night and he was so proud that his son believed that somehow Daddy would fix it:).

Later that evening I got a call from the Boy Scout leader letting us know that there were several families unable to make it in and that we would still be able to participate in the race. Big relief but we needed to show up one hour before the race so we could weigh our cars and have them inspected. Crisis solved, WHEW!

Check in included:
Weigh your car -- could not weigh more than 5 oz.

Add weights to the car, we used coins.

A trial run down the track and a basic car inspection.

The kids had a great time at the races and can't wait to do it again next year even tho their cars were not the winners.

I am linking this post up to Lynda's

Also don't forget to link up all month to


  1. I'm glad everything worked out OK. I actually kind of miss the Derby days now that my son has moved on to older Scout events (like camping in below freezing weather!).
    Janet W

  2. That sounds very stressful! Glad you were still able to race! I take it this U.S. Boy Scouts, since you are doing it on base? Or is it English? If so, I'd be curious to hear how things are different in English Boy Scouts.

  3. It is so nice they let them race their derby cars. What a fiasco that must have been trying to get around all the traffic.

    You were not late in the least linking this post to A Day In Our Life Blog Hop. I leave the link open all week. Thank you so much for your support and joining in the fun.

    Have a blessed week! I voted for you too.

  4. Wow, what an ordeal!! I never realized how much work it took to get one of those derby cars ready to go...quite a long process, eh?

    I'm so glad that after all the mishaps you unfortunately had to endure, that EVERYTHING turned out OK and that your son was still able to run his car and participate in the race.


  5. HI wdworkman I saw your post with your son out camping in the snow I think I have a ways to go before I have to do that and then I am sending Daddy as I really don't like cold weather:)

  6. Hi Maureen,
    this was the American boy scouts but the British boy scouts were racing with us. I tried to get the kids into the British scouting but there was a year long wait list.

  7. HI Lynda,
    Yes I got all worried over naught that night but when the groups stressed don't turn in your car don't race I got worried/stressed. I had no idea how serious it all was. At the race I had parents telling me about cheaters they had seen in other troops. I just don't get the cheating, to me it is only for fun. But some boys/parents take it very seriously:)

  8. Hi Pain SUX,
    Yes it was a bit like living thru a twilight zone TV series. But is all worked out in the end and I can relax still next year:)

  9. I hope you had a wonderful day Anna-Marie. I consider your recipe idea as an entry. I found this recipe and think it is what you were talking about. Check it out and let me know:,1735,157179-246203,00.html

    I voted for you.

  10. Hi Anna-Marie,
    So glad all your hard work and patience paid off so you could race the car! It looks like everyone did a great job! This year will be our son's 3rd BS Pinewood Derby race. The first year his car came in dead last and didn't even cross the line because my hubby didn't realize how the track would effect the car. Last year our son came in first for his whole pack which was exciting and then he got to race in district, but didn't place there. This year our derby is in Feb. so we'll see how things go. This is my husband's project with my son for sure :) Great post on all the hard work it takes to participate in the derby! I clicked a vote for you today! :)

  11. Hi Tracy
    I may have to ask you for tips next year I had no idea how serious this event was. There were some cars there that obviously the parents did all if not most of the work. Which sort of surprised me:) Some of the Moms told me it was a really competitive event. Glad to hear your son won last year. I hope he does well this year:)