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Derby Loop Trail - South Mountain, AZ

Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
  1.7 of 5 
no permit
42 15 0
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.48 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,555 feet
Elevation Gain 39 feet
Accumulated Gain 49 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.64
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12  2015-05-29 joebartels
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SoMo Park Circle Route - 1934 Master Plan
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 841
Photos 12,826
Trips 5,229 map ( 26,536 miles )
Age 52 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Sun  5:36am - 7:33pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Derby Fever!
by joebartels

Connector trail between Max Delta Trail and the intersection of Ranger Trail and Los Lomitas Trail.

Easy to follow. A decent little trail if hiked at sunrise or sunset. Probably used most by mountain bikers that just happen to be in the area. Which is ironic since they probably despise the nice ravines that give it character. Above the ravines, the tread was smooth and less sandy than anticipated. Appeared lightly used by horseriders, not destroyed like Los Lomitas or Box Canyon.

Starting on the Ranger Trail from the Five Tables trailhead one hour before sunset I had shade the entire hike from the Ma Ha Tuak Ridgeline. Nobody loves this trail. It's close to the road, the area feels bleak, looks like a furnace and we live in a destination perk society. Understood.

Years ago a good friend mentioned memories of soap box races in the area. In an effort to feed my derby fever I spent a few days researching. Jump in for a ride...


A soap box derby track on a nearby hill featured such guests as Pat McMahon, Wallace & Ladmo. Drivers age 11 through 15 raced for an all-expenses-paid trip for the champion to the All American Soap Box Derby finals in Akron, Ohio ( run nationally since 1934 ). "Class A" groups are ages 13 to 15, and the "Class B" division is ages 11 to 12. The Jaycee Hall held clinics covering rules and explained design ideas. A picnic at Encanto Park was held the prior weekend. KPHO Channel 5 televised some of the events live.

1959 - Derby director Mike Kennelly, whom built the original track, expected more than 100 participants in the race. The boys competed for $15,000 in college scholarships. The derby was under the direction of the Phoenix Junior chamber of commerce. Sponsors included Phoenix Chevrolet dealers and KOOL TV. Entries met rigid specifications and built their own car for no more than $15. Official wheels and axles were $20 extra, apparently a standard. Car and driver weight was limited to 250 pounds. The race ran in three-car heats on a 600-foot derby track. 700 feet of stopping area was allowed. Speeds up to 26 mph were expected by the finish line.

1961 - Tucson Daily Citizen called the SoMo track "Jimmy Bryan Junior Speedway". Tucson boys won the 1960 series. In a letter to the editor, one Tucsonan had his feathers in a ruffle since a better-equiped track (closed) in Tucson lost sponsors due to lack of participation and enthusiasm.

1963 - Wheel and steering kits were made available free of charge along with a sponsor for each car. The track was 682 feet and averaged 26 miles per hour. In addition to winning, trophies ranged from best upholstery to brake assemblies. Imagine tennis balls over axle assemblies for a suspension system.

1971 - Girls first entered the local derby!

1972 - Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, withdrew its sponsorship.

1973 - 62 boys and 7 girls competed. The national soapbox derby winner received a $7,500 scholarship. A total of $30,110 in scholarships was shared by the top nine national winners. Rules for competition required carts to be built by the driver for $45 or less. Without a major sponsor, it was the beginning of the end... the lightest field in years.

1975 - 32 entries

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2015-06-05 joebartels

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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    page created by Randal_Schulhauser on Jan 25 2014 6:10 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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