Demolition derby is a non-racing motorsport usually presented at county fairs and festivals. While rules vary from event to event, the typical demolition derby event consists of five or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another. The last driver whose vehicle is still operational is awarded the victory. Demolition derbies originated in the United States and quickly spread to other Western nations. For example, Australia's first demolition derby took place in January 1963. In the UK and parts of Europe, demolition derbies (sometimes called \"destruction derbies\") are often held at the end of a full day of banger racing.
Demolition derbies were first held at various fairs, race tracks, and speedways by independent promoters in the 1950s. There are unconfirmed reports of events occurring as far back as the 1930s utilizing the abundant supply of worn-out Ford Model Ts. The originator of the concept for auto demolition derbies is disputed. One source says that Don Basile is often credited with inventing the demolition derby at Carrell Speedway in 1947. Another source states stock car racer Larry Mendelsohn created the concept for demolition derbies at New York State's Islip Speedway in 1958 after realizing many people favored wrecks to racing.
The sport's popularity grew throughout the 1960s, becoming a standard at county fairs and becoming a subculture nationwide. The popularity of demolition derbies also spread overseas. In 1963 a reported crowd of 20,000 packed into the Rowley Park Speedway in Adelaide to see Australia's first demolition derby. Due to the size of the crowd (about twice the venue capacity), the police closed the speedway's gates. The derby itself had over 75 entries and lasted for over 100 minutes. Demolition derbies in Australia generally take place at speedways (usually on the opening or closing night of the season), with most cars being older model Australian-made sedans and wagons.
ABC's Wide World of Sports televised the World Championship Demolition Derby from the mid-1960s until 1992. In 1972, the Los Angeles Coliseum hosted a demolition derby with mint-condition late model cars driven by Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, and Bobby Unser. The popular ABC sitcom Happy Days included the character Pinky Tuscadero, a female professional demolition derby driver and occasional love interest to the show's most popular character, Arthur Fonzarelli. Folk-pop singer Jim Croce wrote and sung about the sport in one of his popular songs, \"Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)\" on his 1972 album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim.
In 1997, The Nashville Network (later part of CBS) returned demolition derby to national television in its TNN's Motor Madness series of various motor-sport events. Motor Madness derbies were primarily for broadcast and needed to fit into a time frame. Live demolition derbies could last indefinitely. Motor Madness changed the rules from last car running to largest number of offensive hits in a time frame. However, as part of MTV Networks' takeover of CBS Cable operations in 2000, demolition derbies, as well as the rest of the CBS motor-sports operations, were removed from programming as part of MTV's move to shut down the CBS Charlotte operation based at Lowe's Motor Speedway and generalize the network into a more broadly viewed channel. Pay per view was demolition derby's only national television outlet in the 2000s (decade). Two $50,000-to-win derbies were held in Widewater, Canada, from 2000-2001.
Later in the 2000s (decade), a proliferation of cable television shows about vehicle customizing occasionally showcased junked vehicles in bizarre competitions. Spike TV's Carpocalypse was a reality documentary series on variations of demolition derby filmed in Orlando, FLA. The Speed Channel also has aired team demolition derbies in 2005. Cable TV's exposure has led to renewed interest in the demolition derby.
With the dwindling availability of these older vehicles, smaller full-sized vehicles of the late 1980s and 1990s are more frequently encountered today. A separate class of demolition derby for compact cars is increasing in popularity. Compact car events have the advantage of an abundant supply of usable vehicles, which also tend to be more mobile and thus, more entertaining to fans. Being largely front-wheel drive vehicles, their back ends can sustain considerable amounts of damage before the vehicle is immobilized. However, this increased speed, coupled with the fact that compact cars tend to be less crashworthy, makes injuries more frequent.
Other versions of the sport using combine harvesters and riding lawn mowers have been practiced in various parts of the world. Larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, were rarely used in demolition derby (though school bus demolitions have long been a popular exception) but have recently become popular in demolition events. Recently a new class for minivans has been added to some derbies because of the abundance of older vehicles. Motorhome demolition derbies are another variation.
Also included at some demolition derbies in the US and UK are rollover competitions, where the object is to drive a car so that only the wheels on one side hit a ramp, causing the vehicle to roll over repeatedly. Drivers take multiple runs at the ramp until their vehicle dies. The driver who completes the most rollovers before their vehicle ceases to function is declared the winner. Compact cars, especially hatchbacks, are used in rollover competitions. Their lighter weight enables them to roll more easily than larger vehicles. However, with modern high-horsepower unibody sedans and coupes now appearing on salvage lots, some of this conventional wisdom is being questioned and some major competitions have been won by drivers of small size, mid-size and full-size sedans.
Demolition derby is a popular theme portrayed in video games. While some games aim to be a realistic simulation of real-life derbies, others such as vehicular combat games include gameplay features that would be impossible in real life. Notable demolition derby video games include:
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Anyone who has played Wreckfest would be able to recognize immediately what's going on in Destruction Derby. So much so that I would hazard to say that this is a direct progenitor of the Destruction Racing sub-genre. The game modes include: Wreckin' Racing, which is a tournament where you race around five short, self-crossing tracks in which you run into other cars and the walls until your engine dies and you lose; Stock Car Racing, where you race around those same tracks, but with a reduced emphasis on hitting things, until you get spun around by a back-marker and lose; and finally Destruction Derby, which is a free-for-all battle where you hit other cars and the walls until your engine dies and you lose. Hopefully you've noticed the pattern.
The bogeys the Offaly native made on 17 and 18 yesterday as a stiff westerly wind turned the final day of the BMW into a veritable demolition derby cost him around E55,000 in hard cash. Yet they had no bearing on his ranking as he needed to finish at least three strokes better to get past Senden in the world standings. 1e1e36bf2d