09/29/08 — Battle for derby crown

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Battle for derby crown

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 29, 2008 1:32 PM

News-Argus/Bobby Williams

A crowd of about 500 to 600 people watched the demolition derby Sunday at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. Twenty-eight drivers competed in the first of two demolition derby events at the fair for the right to represent Wayne County at the state comp

Sarah Bonner and Nikki Goins combined to make the feature event of Saturday's demolition derby an interesting one, but ultimately the day belonged to Larry Lane as he won for the second time in 16 years.

His last time holding the nearly 3-foot trophy was in 2006.

He said his strategy once he reached the main event was to just "give it all" he had.

And really, he added, his victory was "all about the people who helped" him, including his sponsors, but especially his fiancée, Sherry Martin.

"We haven't been spending much time together. It's been 2 or 3 in the morning working on this stuff," said Lane, 33. "These cars take more time than it looks, but she knows what it is."

He estimated that he had put maybe 100 hours into his No. 911 car for Saturday. Unfortunately for Ms. Martin, he is expecting to put at least that much into it again as he prepares to run in the state championships at the State Fair in Raleigh, beginning on Friday, Oct. 24.

Tim Kimbraugh in the No. 52 car came in second, and Jason Kiser in the No. 7 car came in third.

But even though he was the day's only first-place winner, he wasn't the only one pleased with how they ran.

Sarah and Nikki were as well, as one finished her first demolition derby, and the other, her fourth.

"I've always wanted to do it, ever since I was 15," said Sarah, 18. "I'm a country girl and a tomboy and it's fun."

Running for the first time, she explained she was attracted to the sport because of its thrill, its action, and admittedly, its minor violence.

"Because I can't hit nobody on the actual road," she said, laughing as friends and family changed a blown tire after the day's first heat.

She admitted that after spending the last two-and-a-half months working on the 1984-85 Oldsmobile wagon -- including replacing the transmission and motor last week after blowing them during a practice run -- she was a little nervous before the flags went green.

"Little bit of butterflies ... just a little bit of butterflies," she said. "But the butterflies got gone after that first hit."

And hit she did, noted friend Malcolm Southerland.

"She was hitting anything that moved out there. It's that Wal-Mart road rage," he said. "I was proud of her."

Sarah wasn't the only girl hitting.

So was Nikki, running in her fourth derby. In fact, one could argue that she was ultimately the car responsible for ending Brandon Lane's day after hitting him repeatedly during heat No. 2 as he tried to restart his car.

"I don't know him," she admitted. "He just seemed like an easy target."

Racing with her father, David Goins, again, Ms. Goins explained that she was back at the 60th annual Wayne Regional Fair this year simply because she was able to find a good car -- and she hopes to keep going, possibly running again during Saturday's derby, which will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Someday she hopes it will become a fully family affair.

"Eventually, we'll have my other two sisters (ages 10 and 16) out here," said Nikki, 20.

In the meantime, though they didn't work together Saturday, she said she hopes to see Sarah at the powderpuff match at the State Fair next month -- if they don't see each other first in Saturday's derby.

"She said she was cheering for me, and I was cheering for her a little bit, too," Nikki said.