Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 14:27:07 -0600
Subject: The Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby

Don's Mach Five
Don's Mach Five
I've made several Mach Five cars for various Pinewood Derbys, over the last twenty-plus years, ever since my first in the early seventies. The latest, more true to the original drawings than any of the plastic or resin models available from the retailers out there, is photographed in the attached JPG and will race March 15, 1997, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Believe it or not, I've got Spritle and Chim-chim in the trunk, too. In fact, your paper Mach Five was identical to the plans I used from a PC video game, ``Challenge of the Masked Racer.''

Don's Mach Five & Shooting Star
Don's Mach Five & Shooting Star
Speaking of which, along with the Mach Five, I've also created a copy of Rex Racer's Shooting Star (see second .jpg), which will also race this year. I fear for the other drivers, though, because I've heard there are always lots of crashes when the Masked Racer is entered in a race.

Each car weighs nearly five ounces and is a combination of Pinewood and Balsawood. The windshield of the Mach Five, constructed of a highly-durable plastic, even has invisible plans inscribed on it for a new, improved Mach Five for next year. The center of each vehicle is solid pine and the sides (fenders) are of balsa. Lead plate is used on the underside to increase the car's weight during the downhill event. Although balsawood is an excellent modeling wood, it is not the most durable design for a Cub Scout Race. I suspect it will hold up until the best-design judging is over, then it's anybody's guess.

Past race performances have not been good for the earlier Mach Fives, on the track. Those gripper-tires don't seem to perform that well on the smooth surface of the lanes, but it has always been a favorite for the design phase of the race. A fitting tribute to Pops Racer's imagination, genius, and technical skills.

Go, Speed Racer, Go!
Don S.

News Flash! Derby Results In!!

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 20:22:04 -0500
Subject: Re: The Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby

Just thought I give you a follow up on the Pinewood Derby, held March 15th. The Mach 5 is going to the District Finals tomorrow. Best showing ever!

The March 15th race was a rather amazing event as 48 cars went head to head. There were 4 heats, where each car got a chance to race against three others it hadn't raced against. After the four heats were run, we had the top 24 cars duke it out for the top 12 spots. Those 12 raced and determined the top 4. Finally, the top four went head to head to determine the Pack trophies.

Speed Racer and the Mach 5, plus Spridle and Chim-Chim, still hiding in the trunk, are going to do it at the Golf Mill Shopping Center, in Niles, IL. There should be over a hundred participants from the entire area.

It was fun seeing the Mach 5 in action against the other cars. Initially it would be slightly behind the heavy weights, but like a true champion, when it came to the flat run of the track, the Mach 5's aerodynamics and inertia showed their stuff and passed the field of "also ran"s. It sure was exciting.

A "side" note: The body held up well and looks almost as good as before it ran. I feared the balsawood fenders and sides would take a beating, but they look great and I'm pleasantly surprised. The Mach 5 raced 12 times!

I created four original cars for the race. The other three were to be used in the grudge match races between the parents of the Cub Scouts. Out of the four, the Mach 5 was the champ, although with the Ferrari F50 (probably one of the most expensive cars in the world, @ $487,000.00) 0.5 ounces "overweight", it ran like the devil. You were already aware of the Shooting Star entry, but I went one step further and created another car similiar to the GRX. The design of the GRX was hard to emulate within the Pinewood Derby limitations and specifications, but it looks really close. I had to take a few liberties with the rear fender wells. I even have Speed sitting inside the cockpit. Hope he doesn't get too sick, this time. Come to think of it, he did look a little shaky going down that track.