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A RACERS PERSPECTIVE RACING SOAPBOX - BY LIAM DONOVAN

Jul 03, 2016 12:00AM ● By Liam Donovan
My name is Liam Donovan and I am a Soap Box Derby Racer. I got into racing through my bloodline. My grandfather raced in the 50’s and started building the cars for his brothers and sisters. They then went on to build cars for their kids, including my father. When I was 8 years old it was my turn. I’m a third generation Donovan racer and am on my seventh year of Soap Box.

The Conshohocken Soap Box Derby is probably one of the most influential activities that I have ever participated in. Soap Box has taught me a lot about perseverance, practice, and family values. If it weren’t for Soap Box Derby, I would probably be a much different person from who I am today.

Unlike other sports, Soap Box Derby is a sport which involves the whole family. We travel together, set the cars up together, and help each other out throughout the racing season. My mom packs us up for our trips, catches my car at the bottom of the hill and helps me with getting ready to race. My dad is the one who builds my car with me, and also sets me up in the ramp at all of my races. My sister, Erin, is full of never-ending fun on the road. She’s a racer too and together we figure out the fastest way down a derby hill. My grandmother and her family helps out by sponsoring my car through her company, Schank Printing. My dad’s uncles, aunts and cousins all support me too. They help me with anything I need on the Fourth of July in town. If it wasn’t for everyone’s help, I wouldn’t be able to participate in Soap Box.

The lessons that I have learned in Soap Box have carried over into other sports that I am active in now. I wrestle for Methacton High School and I have greatly benefited in my ability to wrestle because of Soap Box. It took me 53 races until I had finally achieved a first place in a Soap Box race. This taught me that practice and perseverance pays off. If I hadn’t learned that, I might not be wrestling today. Even after I won my first race at 8, I was only a mediocre driver at best. I finally became what’s considered a good driver after 3 years of racing. This showed me that I have to practice more when I wrestle in order to become a winner.

Last year was probably one of the best experiences that I have ever had racing. I got to represent Conshohocken at the World Championships in Ohio, where I was able to place 3rd in the world. I won a college scholarship and a huge trophy. When I got back from the race, the town fire companies had a parade and I had my picture taken with Mayor Frost!

In the end, Soap Box Derby is one of the most important things in my life, and it has taught me many great things. I would recommend it for anybody who is at least 7 years old and who wants some adventure in their life. If you want to race in the Soap Box Derby, contact Mark Marine at 610-574-5101