Chenery’s Soap Box Derby Club Impress In First-Ever Competition

Photo: The first ever Chenery Middle School Soap Box Derby Team.

The Chenery Middle School’s Soap Box Derby Team, led by Coach Leon Dyer, had a lot of fun on its first-ever competition in the Indoor Rally Race held in the parking garage of the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall the weekend of March 3. The team competed in the morning race on Sunday, March 4.

The team fared well in its first-ever event. Liam Mitchell came in 2nd (with Liam’s last race being a difference of .03 second), James Barmakian came in 5th and Ian Goentzel came in 8th (taking over the spot of Eamon Khan, a 7th grader who had to leave early).

The Chenery Team started almost a year ago taking a field trip in June 2017 to the Arlington Soap Box Derby Championship. After seeing that event, the group of students was sold in building a few cars. Over the past few months, Barmakian, Goentzel, Mitchell and Khan and coach Leon Dyer built four Super Stock Soap Box Derby cars in the Tech Ed classroom at Chenery Middle School.

Ryan Bauer, a Chenery 7th grader who has been participating in Soap Box Derby racing for roughly four years, served as the team’s racing advisor. He was first in his Stock division at the Cambridge race. Ryan was great at answering questions about the cars and competitions.

The team is planning to compete in one or two additional events before the Championship Race in Arlington on June 2. Moving forward, we are looking to add up to six additional cars to the fleet and a trailer giving a total of 8 to 10 students the opportunity to build, learn, race, and compete in Soap Box Derby.

If interested in sponsoring a Soap Box Derby Car, please email Dyer at

The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move. There are three types of Soap Box Derby Cars. Stock, Super Stock, and Master’s Class.

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