Spectators can expect more bang for the buck on derby day.
Six rounds of metal-crushing adrenaline is on the agenda for the 2018 Smash-Up for Multiple Sclerosis demolition derby being held June 23 in Gillams.
Derby organizer Gavin Butt, also one of the veteran drivers on the demolition derby scene, said there will be an extra two rounds of crashing and banging in the full-size car division this year, two more than last year, while the compact car division will remain at two rounds for this year’s event.
There are 12 drivers eager to compete in the full-size division, while the numbers continue to climb in the compact car with 16 registered and other drivers seriously contemplating making their derby debut in the compact division.
Butt said he wanted to increase the number of rounds in the big-car division because he sees no problem with drivers being able to stand up to two or three rounds because they can fix them up, whereas most of the compact cars usually take a pounding in one round and are done for the day.
There will be two qualifying rounds, a consolation round and a main event in the big-car battle. Six cars will hit the pit for the first round, with the top three moving on to the final, and then the other six will do the same, with another three moving on to the final. The six losers will compete in a consolation round, with two of the top drivers advancing to the final to make it an eight-car final.
Butt says the change will mean the top eight drivers will end up in the final, which will make it more interesting for both drivers and spectators. He figures there will be less chance of some of the best-built cars getting stuck with so much congestion in the pit if there are six instead of eight because there will be more room to manoeuvre.
“This year you have to earn your way to the money round,” said Butt, a third-place finisher in the big-car main event last year who is looking forward to a challenge again this year in his 1977 Chrysler New Yorker.
“You’re going to really see who can drive and who can’t, because you’re going to have a lot more room and you’re going to have to really strategize on what you’re doing,” he said.
More room means more space, so Butt figures it could get pretty noisy.
“I think you’re going to see more action in the full-size rounds and probably bigger smacks because guys are going to have room to pick up speed,” he said.
There will be some new drivers in the mix this year for both divisions. There are a number of high school students registered for the compact car division, including Butt’s nephew and a Gander youth who is going to spend the weekend before the derby building a car with Butt and beating it up a week later.
“I do whatever I can to get cars in the pit,” he said.