September 28, 2010

Farmington Fair's demolition derby a hit with fans

BY VALERIE TUCKER, Correspondent

FARMINGTON -- Nearly 3,000 people packed the racetrack fields and grandstand seats at the Farmington Fair Saturday evening for one of the most popular events of Farmington Fair week -- the annual Demolition Derby.

Andy Glynn, 21, of Readfield, and his mother's boyfriend, Brad Clement, drove onto the field and waited for inspection before lining up with other cars waiting for the 7 p.m. start. The battery for his white 1994 Ford Taurus V6 was neatly cushioned in a hole in the passenger seat beside him. The cables ran through a hole drilled in the corner of the windshield to the car's starter. A 6-inch square hole in the hood served a particular purpose, he said.

"That's where you can put out flames if the engine catches fire," Glynn said.

Glynn's mother, Billie Jo, and his girlfriend, Chelsea Nadeau, walked along beside the car, giving him last minute advice and encouragement.

"My friends came to watch me race tonight, because they heard about all the fun they missed last year," Glynn said.

Jimmy Gilbert, of Farmington, served as crew chief for the volunteers who supervised the event.

"It's all free, and we have Farmington Ford and other sponsors who help every year," he said. "We used to pay someone about $5,000 to run the races, but we decided we could run it ourselves," he said. "We've been doing it for nine years, and we always have a pretty good time."

Nearly all the drivers are men, but two hot pink "fair cars" are reserved for women who enter to win a chance to drive. Camilla Jordan, of Farmington, was ecstatic when her name was drawn. After she rushed to the grandstand, she was given a helmet and escorted to her car.

"My whole family is here, and this is like a dream come true," she said, as she waited to be waved onto the track. "I can't wait."

Sharon Brown, of Livermore, said she wanted this chance to drive and was excited about the chance to compete. With no previous derby driving experience, she went on to be a divisional winner, taking home $200.  

“It was on my bucket list of things to do,” she said. “I was just a little nervous about the first hit and what it would be like, but after that, I was fine.”

Damien Dufour of Turner won the overall title.

The crowds cheered as cars collided and somehow kept maneuvering with only two or three wheels. Heats included minivans, trucks, and six- and eight-cylinder cars. The top three from each heat went on to the next round, with finalists winning cash prizes.

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