Head down, straight ahead

Soap box cham­pi­onships set for Tyne Val­ley July 25

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

Put your head down. Of all the ad­vice and tips he’s been given over the past year, 11year-old Tay­lor Arse­nault says that’s the im­por­tant one to re­mem­ber.

Arse­nault and his St. Gil­bert fam­ily left Thurs­day night for Akron, Ohio, where he will par­tic­i­pate in the 78th an­nual All-Amer­i­can Soap Box Derby cham­pi­onships.

He won his en­try there by gen­er­at­ing the fastest over­all time at last year’s Tyne Val­ley Oys­ter Fes­ti­val’s Soap Box Derby cham­pi­onship.

Be­fore set­ting out for Akron, Arse­nault took one rip down Tyne Val­ley’s prac­tice hill Thurs­day evening. He was in a car sim­i­lar to the one he will be rac­ing in Akron.

Keep­ing one’s head low in the tiny soap­box car is key, said Tay­lor, the son of Mar­cel and Tammy Arse­nault.

He said his dad keeps re­mind­ing him of that, “so the wind doesn’t catch it and slow you down.”

He said he’s ex­cited to be rac­ing on the big hill in Akron.

He will have been in a soap box derby car only seven times prior to ar­riv­ing in Akron - three prac­tice runs and three race day runs last year, and his prac­tice trip on Thurs­day. But what he lacks in ex­pe­ri­ence he makes up for in con­fi­dence.

He had a one-word an­swer when asked what he’s look­ing for­ward to the most in Akron: “Win­ning.”

He will also be par­tic­i­pat­ing in a soap­box derby pa­rade in Akron, proudly wav­ing a huge P.E.I. flag.

While Tay­lor Arse­nault is in Akron, another crop of soap­box derby en­thu­si­asts will be in Tyne Val­ley on Satur­day for the Oys­ter Fes­ti­val’s fifth an­nual soap­box derby cham­pi­onship.

With 65 of the smaller race cars and 20 of the big­ger ones, like the one Arse­nault won in, Tyne Val­ley is now home to the largest soap box derby cham­pi­onship in At­lantic Canada, said or­ga­nizer Rod MacNeill.

The soap­box derby race on July 25 is ac­tu­ally a pre-fes­ti­val event as most other fes­ti­val events, in­clud­ing the pa­rade and the sec­ond an­nual Rock the Boat Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, will be on the next week­end.

Race heats start around 9 a.m. and con­tinue un­til around noon.

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC MEDIA

Tay­lor Arse­nault straps on his hel­met as he tries out the Tyne Val­ley Oys­ter Fes­ti­val soap box derby’s prac­tice hill. Arse­nault will be miss­ing the fifth an­nual cham­pi­onships, be­cause he will be rep­re­sent­ing the fes­ti­val at the Soap Box Derby cham­pi­onships in Akron, Ohio.

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