Five slot car racers signed up for the March Series competition at a Brunswick toy store. John Hurd II, second from left, hopes to unseat his son, defending champion John Hurd III, far left. John Terhune / The Forecaster

The racers ready their cars.

They’ve spent hours practicing the course’s zigzagging turns and long back straight.

They know each other well, too. Defending champ John Hurd III lines up next to his father, eager to retain familial bragging rights.

Finally, the signal comes, and Slot Car Junction & Fascination Station Toys echoes with the furious buzz of six tiny cars.

Five cars at the starting line before the first race of the March Series on March 11. John Terhune / The Forecaster

March 11 marked the start of the Brunswick toy store’s “March Series,” a four-week competition offering five local racers a chance to demonstrate their skills in the simple but deceptively challenging discipline of slot car racing.

Each driver uses a trigger to control only the speed of their car, 1/36th the size of a real vehicle, which follows a set path along the track. Take tight turns too quickly, and a driver risks sending his car flying.


“It’s kind of neat to see 70-year-old guys that did it when they were kids standing alongside a 9-year-old, and they’re both on an even playing field having a blast,” said Jeff Cooper, who owns the store with his partner Cathy Piffath. “It’s just right out-of-the-box fun.”

The pair, who also operate Harpswell kayaking adventure company H2Outfitters, opened Slot Car Junction in 2009 after rediscovering the once-popular toys while traveling in Europe.

Owners Jeff Cooper and Cathy Piffath with their track at Slot Car Junction & Fascination Station Toys in Brunswick. John Terhune / The Forecaster

The store’s main draw is its nearly 60-foot track, one of the largest on the East Coast, according to Cooper.

The March Series’ $300 entry fee bought five competitors 12 hours of practice time, three slot cars and four nights of racing. After four weeks, the racer with the highest cumulative point total will win the crown.

Though the series’ five adult racers are veterans of the hobby, the event also drew 10-year-old Gregory Trapp. Trapp, a sixth-grader at St. John’s Catholic School, earned credit toward his own slot car by helping reset vehicles after collisions and even tried his hand against the old-timers in the night’s opening race.

“It’s kind of hard to stay on the track,” Trapp said. “It doesn’t seem like it takes a lot of skill, but it does.”

Sixth grader Gregory Trapp is ready to put crashed cars back on the track. John Terhune / The Forecaster

Yet again, the night of friendly competition belonged to the Hurd men.

John Hurd II of Bath finished the evening leading the standings. More importantly, he finished one place ahead of his son.

“It doesn’t matter what place I’m in,” he said. “As long as I’m a point ahead of him at the end of the year.”

Comments are not available on this story.