Several years ago, two artist friends were in their studio on Race St. in downtown Holyoke, brainstorming connections between power tool racing and the street name at which their studio sat. One of them jokingly came up with the idea of brick racing, and the Great Holyoke Brick Race—which holds its 4th annual event this Saturday June 7—was born.
"The Brick Race has grown each year," organizer Alexis Fedorjaczenko tells the Advocate, "and two camps have emerged: children, artists and others who enter for the fun of creating wacky designs, and a smaller group who are all about the science of speed. The diversity of entries means that we are as likely to cheer for the best crash as we are to celebrate those with the fastest time."
Some cars with pirate ship, super hero or animal designs "teeter and topple down the track," Fedorjaczenko continues. "Others need an assist. And others are so fast that the first year they careened all the way down the block."
Notable designs from past years include the Empire State Building, complete with King Kong on top, and a brick that was encased in a block of ice that bounced and rolled down the track.
But "the car to beat is by artist Chris Nelson, whose brick speeds down the track every year in the guise of a race car," says Fedorjaczenko. "He has entered the same car and won fastest every year."
Game on, brick racers. See brickrace.org for details.
(Photo courtesy of the Brick Race Team.)