Fast or slow? Soap box racing in the Strackgasse

The series of “Orscheler Sommer” events came to close last Saturday (13th September, 2014) with the traditional soap box races which this year took place in the Strackgasse again.  As the Strackgasse is someone narrower than the Holzweg, the cars did not race each other but were timed instead.

The children’s races started at 4pm, with the children split into two groups: those with their own vehicles and those in vehicles that had been borrowed.  Each child raced five times, with the slowest time being discounted and the other four being added together.

Of the 20 children taking part, only 19 were left at the end after the brakes failed on one vehicle and it had to be withdrawn.

At the end there were trophies for the three fastest and three most “leisurely” drivers in each category.  Most leisurely were Vivien in her “Pusteblume” car and Tobias in his swan.  The fastest drivers were Lars and Patrick, with all of the children at least receiving a trophy for taking part.

One particularly unlucky participant was 10-year-old Noah, travelling in a car named “Rushmoor”.  There were only 7 children in his category, and having made 4th place he missed out on a top ranking in both directions.  Still, it was only his first time taking part and it was clear to see that it had been fun.  “Someone at my afterschool club suggested that I take part and I felt like giving it a go” he said after the presentation.

At 7pm the adult racers started, except that this time they were able to take part in teams.  Each team raced five times, with some even having two or more people on board.

Slowly it turned dark creating a leisurely atmosphere for the Strackgasse itself.  Many of the spectators were seated at tables outside the cafés, the butcher was cooking sausages on a barbeque outside his shop and the organisers had arranged for coloured spotlights and even a fog machine.  Those who had not found a seat made themselves comfortable on bales of straw that had been placed along the route.  Some of the soap box cars even had their own lighting.

One group from the Hans-Thoma-Schule took things particularly slowly, with their creation the “Landspeeder” taking a good 46 seconds longer than anyone else to complete the course, making them the slowest team of the evening.

The winner – and fastest driver – was Seda Altingül, who had been second last year.  A nursery school teacher, she works at “Kita am Park”, where one of her colleagues (Markus Wehner) had been set the task of building the car, something he did together with Stefan Ramert and Robert Dierolf.

She had a 3-second-lead over the second place, and had taken an average of 16 seconds for the course.  How did she manage to go so fast?  “I’m just good” she said after the presentation ceremony, and then looking at he team added “and a well-engineered car”.

 This article appeared in German on 18th September, 2014 in the Oberurseler Woche.

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