Topic: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Yes, it's time to start thinking about this again...  The pre-registration email has been sent out and it's time we start getting organized.  We have a championship to defend!

As always, the true struggle is to find volunteers for each team for race day.  Right now, that is the help we truly need.  We need at least two people (one per team) who are willing and able to spend the day away from the team (probably appeals to some of you!?) and supporting the event (free labor!).

Last year Bill and Jeff (Burns) were two of the volunteers.  Bill towed cars back up the hill and Jeff had a flagging station on the course.  There are many potential assignments, so it's a lottery for what you'll end up with on the day.

The date for the event is the third Sat in August, which makes it 8/18/18 this year.

If you're available and interested in this extremely glamorous assignment, please let Bill or me know as we would like to get the application done up ASAP.  Come on out and be a part of this motley crew!


Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

We NEED volunteers! Last year it was a last minute scramble to fill the spots for PDX Derby Volunteers, which as chris mentioned we need one for each team. We will also need volunteers in the pits and pushers as well. If you are interested in helping out please let me know!

If anyone is interested in volunteering for the Tow Back Crew, the position I volunteered for last year, I would be willing to consider volunteering the Team Scuderia Transport Vehicle (my Nissan Xterra) for use as a tow vehicle. The volunteer driver needs to be able to efficiently operate a vehicle with a manual transmission (I am not budgeting for a clutch replacement in this deal!).

So there it is, let's get our volunteer list finished early this year!.......PLEASE!!!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Scuderia Kouba successfully completed registration for 3 entries this year! Watch for the return of the 2017 winning car the MKI, running number 1 this year. Last year's Formula 8 winner will return as the number 8 car, and the newest Scuderia Kouba car the MKV will display the number 36.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Just had to post this recent communication from Scuderia Kouba Driver Jenny Burns (winner of Formula 8 Division in the 2017 Derby):

"Jenny Burns
Aka: fastest chick on the hill. “We upped our game, so up yours!”

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

I had the understanding that the #1 was reserved for the winning driver, not the winning car.  Am I going to have to win again this year to get it back now?

That quote was what I put down when we registered.  Except for the chick part.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

OK, OK, you can have credit for the awesome quote, but I think you'll have to wrestle Jenny for that #1 plate! I'm pretty sure she wants it on "her" car!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

SPY Shots from the Scuderia Kouba shop!

The construction of the MKV is nearing completion. The 4 wheel entry challenge has been accepted!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Looking good there chris.

The secondnidator

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Thanks Doc.  I am quite pleased with how it's coming together so far.  I think it has pretty good potential for the event. 

I think Bill's assessment of "nearing completion" is slightly optimistic though.  I'll be working on it in fits and spurts, and we have other upgrades which the Mk I and II will need prior to competing this year (brakes!!!), so LOTS of work to keep us busy!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Hello All,

The date for this year's PDX Adult Soapbox Derby is rapidly approaching. Chris has been hard at work on the NEW MKV while I have been doing absolutely nothing to help. That aside, one of our sponsors (Parkrose Hardware) has asked if we could possibly have one of our cars at their annual BBQ. I just found out today that their BBQ is this Saturday June 23rd. I know it is really short notice, but I could use some help delivering our cars to their site in NE Portland. After talking with Chris the plan is for me to head out to Chris' tomorrow morning and get the cars re-assembled to a point they are somewhat "show" worthy as far as representing a functional gravity car. Chris and I can load two of the cars on my trailer, but I will definitely need help unloading and re-loading the cars at Saturday's event. Any help any of you could provide would be greatly appreciated! I'm hopin' we might even be able to ingest a little BBQ for our trouble? Please let me know if you are interested in helping out!

Thanks in advance!


Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Just got the timeline for the BBQ on Saturday. We need to have the cars unloaded and set up by 9:30am. I am planning to arrive at the event at 8:30am. Our sponsor is setting up a canopy for our use. The event runs from 10:00am until 4:00pm. I could still use some help unloading and reloading the cars on the trailer. Any help would be appreciated even if you can only make it for a little while in the morning for set up or a little while around 4:00pm to reload the cars. ======Bill Bostic

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

I can meet you there in the morning. Is 8:30 when you want to meet?

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

That would be great Mitch! I know I will need some help getting the cars off of the trailer!

Thank you very much! See you at 8:30am!


Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Here's Dick Gehrke our soapbox derby veteran from the 1946 race manning the Scuderia Kouba booth at Parkrose Hardware's annual BBQ held at Rossi Farms. We had a great time talking with folks about our team and the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby. Youngsters had an opportunity to try out the driver's seats, and the more senior youngsters had the opportunity to talk shop with Dick. A big thanks goes out to Mitch Brooks, Greg Dunbar, Jeff Jenny Lee Burns, and of course Dick Gehrke for all their help in making this event come together!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Wow, looks like the weather even cooperated!  Nice job all.

"Big Smooth"

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

The weather situation looked shakey! It was pretty cloudy most of the day but there were some nice sun breaks. It never did rain on us!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Hey y'all,

I just received an email from the PASD organizers. Registration for volunteers will be open to the public in a week or so. Registration for volunteers who are volunteering for TEAMS is open now. Folks that volunteer for a team have the advantage of signing up for the more popular volunteer positions. If volunteers wait too long they get stuck with the less desirable positions! Our past experience in acquiring volunteers for our teams has been somewhat dismal. We have a few team members that step right up but I hate to burden the same folks every year. It would be nice to establish a bigger pool to draw from.  We need 1 volunteer for each car/team. In all Scuderia Kouba needs 3 volunteers again this year. We have had previous discussions regarding volunteers for this year's race, but I would like to get our volunteer registration completed and have responsible and dependable folks in place. Once we get this step officially completed I can worry about other things! If we come up short I can volunteer for the tow back crew again this year. Please let me know if you are interested in volunteering so I can keep track of how many people are interested and or how many people have actually signed up. I can not sign people up they must complete the registration themselves. Also please keep in mind if you are volunteering, in addition to your position or duties on race day, volunteers must attend one of the volunteer meetings held before the day of the race.

Here is a portion of the email i received from the PASD organizers including the link to the website for volunteers to sign up:

So, that being said…volunteers.  The volunteer registration will be open to the public in a week or so.  We give the teams the first crack at sign-ups because some of the more desirable positions go quickly.  There are very few volunteer positions that are not on race day or during the actual race.  We need all the hands we can get on the mountain on race day.  I get numerous requests every year to find a team volunteer a position that is not during the actual race.  It would be awesome if we could do that but alas, the race must go on.  Below you will find the link to register your volunteer for their position.  Again, the sooner you register the more choices you have for your volunteer position. … index.html

Thank you all!


Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Chris, Beau, and I had a work session at the Scuderia Kouba Shop yesterday. Chris has been hard at work on the MKV and the results reflect his efforts. The MKV is totally awesome and our expectations are high for it's performance! It looks fast just sitting there! One of our goals for the MKI and MKII cars which raced at the PASD last year, is to improve their braking power. As many of you know the bicycle disc brakes we were using were not adequate. The brakes on the MKII had totally failed on our first Dufer run after the test session on Larch Mountain. Those brakes were replaced with an upgraded bicycle disc brake assembly for the PASD race, but those brakes repeated the same dismal results. This year Chris has designed a new brake system using motorcycle ventilated discs and Wilwood mechanical calipers. The Wilwood calipers are designed for emergency brake systems on cars. In addition to the new brake disc and caliper set up I replaced the brake hand grip lever with a longer and more robust model which resulted in an improved grip on the lever and longer throw. After the upgrades were completed on the MKII we took it out for a test run on the hills by the SK Shop. The improvement over last year's brake system was remarkable! After completing a few low speed passes on the smaller of the two test hills, I gave it a full test on the big hill. I found I was able to slow dramatically even on the steepest part of the hill. At the conclusion of the last test run I found I could even lock the rear wheel. On the tow back up the hill I drug the brake to get it good and hot. Even after heating the brake up I had very good stopping power with no brake fade. After the last test the brake caliper cooled down in less than 15 minutes. Now I fully understand that concern over brakes on a gravity car may seem contrary or even misguided. But I will say after my WIDE OPEN NO BRAKES run down Larch Mountain through two hairpin turns this is an upgrade I am very happy to have! Thank you Chris!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Indeed, we are making progress with the fleet.  Brakes look promising based on the work we did Thurs and I ran the Mk V down the back hill yesterday to a top speed of 38 (which is faster than the Mk I went back there).  In addition, bodywork is being worked on and we're getting ready for testing next Friday.

Next up are wheel disks all around and then skirts to go over the front wheels altogether.

Looking good though!

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

We now have a stack of 12 wheel disks which have been cut to size(-ish) and now need to be fitted to the wheels.

The raw vacu-form shape:

Images of them fitted up will come later.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

We are taking a head count for this Friday's (July 13) test session. We are planning for a full day of testing at our Dufer site with all three cars, the MKI (last year's PASD winner), the MKII, and the brand new MKV. The MKII can accommodate a variety of driver sizes (because I'm a pretty fat kinda guy) so guest rides will be available. Anyone that would like to ride along with Chris or I for the full day are welcomed. If you would like to come out in your own car for the day or even a partial day that would also be great. We will be using onboard GPS devices to record data from changes in the car's set ups, and to compare car's performance with last year's records. As with last year's testing I'm sure lunch and possibly even dinner will be worked in somewhere, sometime. We had a lot of fun testing last year and I'm sure this test session will be no different. So if you can and would like to come out please let me know.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Also, progress is being made on improvements to the fleet.  After a bit of brake work last week, the most significant work this week is at the hands of Mr Jeff Burns, who went to town reconfiguring the tail of the Mk II to meet the rule changes for this year.  I have run out of time to get this done prior to testing on Fri and Jeff was able to get the skeleton of the new tail built up and almost ready for sheetmetal.

The man with his handiwork:

While it may not get painted prior to testing, Jeff and Bill have another session planned for Thurs to get the bodywork on and set for the following day.  I am really looking forward to getting the fleet out on the hills!


Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Scuderia Kouba had a great test session on Friday July 13th. The day started early at our normal meeting place, The Stagecoach Saloon. After Chris, Bethany, Jenny, Jeff, Jessy, Johnny, Dennis, Beau, and I had breakfast we all headed out on the long drive to our secrete (OK maybe not too secrete) testing site.

The MKI, MKII, and MKV all performed well. The speeds posted by the MKI were equal to or slightly better than the speeds posted during last year's testing. The MKII speeds were down but only by 1 mph. The big news for the MKI and MKII were the brakes. The new brake systems adapted to both cars vastly improved their braking ability, a welcomed improvement! But the star of the show was the new MKV! On its maiden run the MKV posted a speed 2 mph faster than anything previously posted by the MKI or MKII. That is impressive! The front braking system on the MKV also worked very well. There was only one minor incident throughout the day of testing. A slight equipment malfunction with one of the wheel pants on the MKI on the tow back from one of the test runs almost put Jenny into the ditch. Thankfully her lightning quick reactions kept the car on the tarmac and she got it stopped safely.

It was a hot day but we were blessed with a nice cool breeze for most of the day. We made over 6 runs throughout the day and recorded some good data. More car improvements were planned as well as a few minor repairs. That's why these test sessions are so important and one reason Scuderia Kouba performs well on race day! We test hard, we make adjustments during test and record the test data. We break stuff on test day hoping to eliminate breakage and poor performance on race day! And we have great team members helping out with the entire process! Without our awesome team members Scuderia Kouba would not exist. A great big thanks to Bethany, Jenny, Dennis, Beau, Jessy, and Johnny for all their help in making this test day a success! And of course, THANK YOU to Chris and Jeff for building us these awesome toys!

Unloading at the test site.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

July 13, 2018 test session:

7:00 am and the MKI and MKII are loaded and ready for transport to the test site.

The MKI sporting its newly installed rear tail section, designed and built by Jeff Burns.

Re: 2018 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

Test Session July 13th:

Jeff Burns designed and built rear tail section on the MKI.

Rear brake modifications on both the MKI and MKII feature motorcycle brake discs and Wilwood single puck mechanical calipers. The improvement in braking was awesome as reported by all drivers!

Chris Kouba not only designed and fabricated these new wheel covers, he built the vacuform table to manufacture them!