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The Great DF Soap Box Derby


The inaugural DF Soap Box Derby took place a little over a week ago as part of our end-of-year celebrations. The non-motorised racing event pitted DFer against DFer (and their loved ones) as 5 teams of 4’ish went head-to-head to design and build fantastical, human-powered machines.

Even before the pre-race brief, it was apparent that this wouldn’t be just another chance to get together for a social gathering. In the days leading up to the race, there was scheming, strategising, and even the odd verbal at the water cooler as we braced for what was to come.

Listen up because I’m only going to say this once

To bring about some order, the self-appointed organiser, judge, and race official, Julie McLeod, laid down some ground rules:

  1. Teams would be judged on speed, creativity and durability
  2. All carts had to be human powered (no engines)
  3. They had to be built on the day

Apparently the chassis didn’t have to be built on the day

Throughout the afternoon, the engineers and grease monkeys got down to business sawing, hammering, and drilling with all the grunt and determination they could muster.

As construction came to completion, each cart was carefully finished with patchy paint work and questionable decorations like only good software developers could do.

Show us what you’ve got

Finally, after all the talk and labour of love, the carts were complete and ready for some fast and furious racing.

We were looking good to begin with

All roads lead to Rome

Can’t you guys push any faster?

Daniel should stick to shooting standing up

In festive spirits

Putting the cart before the horse

A Sumo race is the natural end to a day of carting

Elaine’s entry seemed very familiar

This isn’t going to end well

That wheel has seen better days

You’re on your own Steve

The empire is falling

The challenging course with jumps, tight chicanes, and obstacles including shooting a basketball and getting shot at by paintballs caused several spectacular crashes but thankfully everyone came through relatively unscathed. Apart from Sam’s lot (which I may have been a part of) which failed to complete even one race for unspecified reasons (DON’T build your cart out of a preschooler’s bike).

As the sun set and the racing finished, we tucked into some tasty woodfired pizzas and enjoyed a quiet one before hearing the announcement that Craig and his band of merry elves had reigned triumphant.

It pays to let the boss win at this time of year


ray on 22 December, 2015

Thanks for letting us into the inner sanctum of DF and your crazy chinanicons. Enjoyable reading

Patrick on 22 December, 2015

Who said that software developers and mechanical engineering don't go together ? When does this event move to the port hills..........and get TV coverage? Seasoned greetings to all!

Glen Francis on 22 December, 2015

Craig had an advantage as he worked with milk trolleys years ago(never pushed them)

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