BRATTLEBORO -- With not much sun glaring down into the racers' eyes, this year's soapbox derby participants were able to focus on the open road in front of them.
"Only 12 cars registered this year," said derby organizer Daniel Kornguth. "Next year, it will probably go back up. In the past, we've had up to 30."
On Aug. 18, the 6th Annual Kornguth Soapbox Derby was held. Approximately 100 spectators attended, with the band ?&@#$ providing music as racers went down the hill.
The starting line began at the top of the road at the Exit 1 Industrial Park in Brattleboro. Racers waited for confirmation to go through volunteers' radio communication. Three vehicles were allowed to race at once.
While some pushed their way back up the hill, others opted to receive a pull from the trucks of volunteers.
At the finish line, volunteers sat with stopwatches. They were timing the competitors' runs. Most racers were making it down just over a minute. Some were coming in below a minute.
Eric Matt, of Marlboro, raced his homemade vehicle that was designed as a "monowheel." Although, he was able to get down the hill with the vehicle, he toppled over at the finish line.
A spectator said Matt's vehicle was the best one registered this year. It had been his second time ever racing the vehicle.
"It was scraping this year. Last year, it didn't," said Matt. "I was a little better at steering this year."
Matt had earlier told the Reformer that his focus had recently been on making vehicles that people don't think would work. He mentioned eventually building a vehicle with no wheels, but legs instead.
The Green Machine looks like a Formula One racing car without a motor or engine. It was driven by two local cousins. They borrowed it from a neighbor, who had a broken leg and couldn't compete this year.
One vehicle run by the Calamari Racing Team had crashed twice during the event. The vehicle was made with sneakers as brakes, two rollerblades as rear wheels and a single small carriage wheel in the front.
"It had sketchy geometry," said Kornguth.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.