Ernest Hancock, of Naramata, won the 1957 Western Canadian Soap Box Championships. Jack Buckley was the sponsor. All cars competed in the provincial finals at Mission, B.C. and the regional winners qualified for the championship finals in Akron, Ohio. There were local and regional winners and two boys, Ernest and Brian Hancock, made it to the Internationals in Akron. (Photo courtesy of Smile of Manitou - OldPhotos.ca)

Ernest Hancock, of Naramata, won the 1957 Western Canadian Soap Box Championships. Jack Buckley was the sponsor. All cars competed in the provincial finals at Mission, B.C. and the regional winners qualified for the championship finals in Akron, Ohio. There were local and regional winners and two boys, Ernest and Brian Hancock, made it to the Internationals in Akron. (Photo courtesy of Smile of Manitou - OldPhotos.ca)

Our history: Soap box races in Naramata

In the mid-1950s, Naramata’s Jack Buckley had a dream

Information courtesy of the Naramata Museum:

In the mid-1950s, Naramata’s Jack Buckley had a dream.

It was to encourage a group of boys between the ages of 11 and 16 to design and build a motorless, wooden vehicle resembling a midget racing car. These soapboxes were built to give the boys some practical knowledge in building, learn something about driving and to have fun racing them. The boys usually spent two to three months building their cars which were then inspected for safety and eligibility.

Construction standards were high. Bodies were made of everything from fibreglass shells to hollowed-out logs. All wheels had to be of one manufacturer’s standard while brakes and steering had to pass rigid safety checks. Local races were held on Robinson Avenue between Naramata Elementary School and the garage, now the home of the paddleboard shop.

Two ramps were built to provide a fast running start and bales of hay were placed at the bottom to ensure a fairly abrupt stop. Needless to say, there were quite a few broken bales of hay.

All cars competed in the provincial finals at Mission, B.C. and the regional winners qualified for the championship finals in Akron, Ohio. There were local and regional winners and two boys, Ernest and Brian Hancock, made it to the Internationals in Akron.

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