FARMINGTON – It’s a smashing good time.
Tickets are currently on sale for the Davis County Fair’s annual Demolition Derby, set for Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. The derby, put on by Intrepid Motor Sports, will feature plenty of cars figuring out the best way to take out the competition while surviving their own crashes.
“I think it’s the carnage that people are drawn to,” said Mike Van Alfen, owner of Intrepid Motor Sports. “People like to see things get wrecked. When cars hit each other hard, that’s more exciting than when they just bump into each other.””
The event is divided into several heats, with 80s cars competing against other cars from the same era and older cars having their own event. Trucks also have their own heat, but they’re not allowed to compete in the final round.
“The number of heats depends on how many cars we have,” said Van Alfen. “We never know until the day of the event.”
The winners will get a portion of the $18,000 in prize money set aside for the event, but before drivers can get a chance at the money they have to survive the competition. Cars have to stay functional in order to continue competing.
Surviving, though, isn’t nearly enough to ensure your victory.
“It’s not getting hit that matters, it’s making a hit,” said Van Alfen. “You have two minutes to make a hit, and each time you make one the clock starts all over again.”
Cars that die in the middle of a heat fall under the exact same set of rules.
“The drivers have two minutes to get it started and make a hit before they’re called out,” he said.
How much of a hit each car makes depends on the circumstances. More direct hits inflict more damage on your competition, but they’re also more likely to hurt your own vehicle. Technique depends on the strength and solidity of the car and the driver’s strategy.
“Some cars hit straight on,” said Van Alfen, who also competed in derbies for decades “Other cars just clip the corners.”
Sometimes, the psychology of where certain opponents will and won’t hit other cars can be used to a driver’s advantage.
“Drivers will keep the driver’s side door toward the center of the arena,” said Van Alfen. “Other cars will steer away from you, because they don’t want to hit someone in the driver’s side door.”
In the end, though, even the best skill and strategy can only take a driver so far.
“Experience helps, but you can’t always foresee the future,” said Van Alfen. “Anything can happen.”
Tickets for the event are available online through the Davis County Fair website, www1.daviscountyutah.gov:8080/fair, under the “Events and Attractions” and “Ticketed Events” links.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, though it’s possible that tickets will sell out before the night of the event.