It’s Derby Day in the Abacos – the 18th annual box car races. Just south of HopeTown, the main road is blocked off for the day so homemade derby cars can race down the hill. We hitch-hiked there and back to enjoy the festivities.
The “track” is 800 feet to the bottom and takes 30-35 seconds.
Two cars race at a time. Each one perches at the top of the hill, held in place by wooden blocks.
The blocks, connected by a rope, are pulled out by the starter after the 3-2-1 countdown and air horn “gun.” Racers pump themselves back and forth to encourage speed off the starting line. As they cruise down the hill, the cars reach almost 25 mph.
The whole community comes out to cheer them on. There are even sponsors.
It’s a fun, popular event. One of the main organizers dresses in NASCAR gear – looks like he’s at Daytona.
Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are available, as well as mac n’ cheese and home-baked goodies. Plus, of course, beer and signature drinks. Lots of island music blares from a loud speaker. At some point, the races were paused while the gas tank on the generator powering the speakers was re-filled with gasoline.
The cars are interesting. A widely diverse mix of styles and elegance.
Or lack thereof.
A woman we know stands at the bottom of the hill, athletically waving in every winner with a huge black and white checkered flag. That’s actually how the announcer knows who finishes first. The woman could be a Rockette for all her energetic gesticulating – says she practices all year.
Here’s what the race looked like: https://youtu.be/WGrCub4r7SI
Women swept the top spots – unprecedented. There were a couple of wipe-outs but no injuries. Everyone had a great time.