Springfield racer defending title at Super Kids derby
|Shown celebrating their wins with their co-pilots at the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic race, which took place June 1, are, from left, Ashley Sklack, of Green (co-pilot); Joseph Korane, of Hudson; Alexis Sklack, of Green (co-pilot); and John Krzysik, of Hudson.|
|Photo: Bill Smith|
|Springfield resident David Wilt (center) is shown being awarded his national championship trophy last year.|
|Photo courtesy of Amanda Robinson|
“He won last year’s national race and he gets a seat to defend his title, which is awesome,” said Amanda Robinson, registration coordinator for the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids.
According to Robinson, the National Super Kids Classic is a fun way for children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take part in the All-American Soap Box Derby to get the chance to race. The All-American race will take place July 27 at Derby Downs.
“It’s a soap box derby race for children with disabilities,” she said. “The race features dual-seat cars. Each car has a co-pilot, who we recruit from the All-American race, and they drive the car down the hill and pull the brake. That way, the child with the disability can ride along with them down the hill. All the kids are between the ages of 7 and 18. The two kids in each car are matched up so that almost all of the cars have an even weight. So the smaller kids, the 7- and 8-year-olds, are with the 18-year-olds and the older kids with disabilities are with the younger kids. That way, it’s a more even race.”
Each race will feature two cars competing against each other, Robinson said.
“It’s a Super Kid with a co-pilot vs. a Super Kid with a co-pilot. They start at the top of the hill and once they pass the finish line, a winner will be announced,” she explained. “At the bottom of the hill, someone will pull the child out and they will get chauffeured back up to the top of the hill. It’s a double-elimination event.”
Wilt, 16, said the event is “really fun.”
“We all have a great time racing. Everyone loves the fact that we can have fun and go down the hill just like the other racers,” he said. “My favorite part of winning was the praise I got from my family.”
After noting that he is “really excited” about getting a chance to defend his title, Wilt revealed his secret for winning the race: “aerodynamics.”
“I can get down really far in the car and try to help out my driver,” he said.
While Wilt said he enjoys hearing the crowd cheer for him, he noted there are other parts of the race he likes even more.
“[I enjoy] actually getting to know the driver and getting to go down the hill — to feel the thrill of the hill,” he said. “When you’re in a group like this, you’re not just making friends, you’re making family, too.”
Robinson said the National Super Kids Classic, which takes place at Derby Downs in Akron and will start at 11 a.m., is free to attend for spectators.
“This event is huge,” she said. “There will be a lot of people — there will be vendors, there will be sponsors. It’s held when they have the All-American race, but it’s just on a different day. It’s a big, big event. It’s a great event for families. Little kids love to watch the cars race down the hill.”
This year’s National Super Kids Classic also will include local racers John Krzysik and Joseph Korane from Hudson and David Slusser from Cuyahoga Falls. Those three qualified for this year’s event during last month’s Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic at Derby Downs.
According to Robinson, the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic, which took place June 1, is in its 32nd year.
“Our event in Akron was the first one,” she said. “It has spread across the country and now there are 10 to 15 races. What happens is that the top three from each race get to go to the National Super Kids Classic in Akron and their trips are paid for by the organizations that sponsor those races.”
Robinson said the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic is growing every year.
“We had 35 Super Kids race this year,” she said. “Last year, we had 25 kids. We’re getting more and more attention each year, and we’re still working on getting even more people and more organizations involved in the event.”
Robinson said the event relies on the generosity of sponsors and volunteers.
“Everything is provided free of charge for the racers because of our generous sponsors,” she said. “This year’s race sponsor was the Allen family, in memory of John Allen. Another sponsor we’d like to recognize is the Greater Akron Motorcycle Club. Not only do they help on race day at the bottom of the hill getting the kids out of the cars, they also sponsor a picnic the day after the race for everyone to relax and enjoy. It was a great day to make new friends and spend time together. Another big thank you goes out to Bill Smith of Smith’s Snapshots in Springfield for taking photos of race day, the picnic and the awards banquet.”
This year’s awards banquet took place June 12, where all of the Super Kids were awarded trophies. Dylan Whitted of Newton Falls received the Krystle Frye award (Super Kid of the Year) and Denise McCoy of Ravenna won the Volunteer of the Year award.
Next year’s Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic will take place on the first Saturday in June and Robinson said preparations are under way to keep improving the event. In addition, she added, the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids sponsor other events throughout the year.
“Last year, we took the kids on a train ride in the Cuyahoga Valley and we threw a Christmas party for them, so it’s not just a once-a-year thing,” she said. “We actually spend time with them throughout the year.”
Robinson said the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic is for kids from the ages of 7 to 18 years old who “couldn’t race in the All-American.”
“Kids who qualify for our race are kids who couldn’t pull the brakes or can’t focus enough, like kids with autism,” she explained. “We’ve had blind kids go down, we’ve had kids with cancer go down, we have kids in wheel chairs. They’re all available for our race and our special events.”
For parents who would like to get their kids involved with the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic, Robinson said they just need to join the organization’s mailing list.
“We have a board and once they are on the mailing list, they’ll get all of the information,” she said.
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