This is a description of construction and use of a platform for Cub Scouts (or other youngsters) to stand upon while staging their Pinewood Derby cars on the track's starting line. It is loosely based on a design for a Crossover Bridge by Steve Cantrell.
The starting line on Pinewood Derby tracks is usually about 4 feet above the floor. The track slopes up about another 4 inches to the end of the track surface. That is a comfortable height for most adults to stage cars, but only a few Cub Scout age boys can confortably stage their cars without something to stand on.
We have used a variety of boxes and step-stools in the past. These provided the needed height, but were not as secure as we wanted nor was the traffic flow very effective. When a Scout finished staging his car, he had to dismount and move out of the way before then next Scout could ascend.
Our target in district racing is to start cars down the track at least every 34 seconds. This rate is needed in order to complete the racing of about 100 Scouts within the alotted time. To accomplish this rate, we had to shave seconds off the heat cycle times.
The platform described here has room for a second Scout to be "at height" and ready to step forward as soon as the prior Scout steps aside. It also provides more secure footing for the Scouts.
Reduced cycle times packs more activity into the available time and helps maintain interest for both Scouts and parents.
Primary components are 2X6, 1" Black pipe, and 1/2" stranded board. The top surface is 48"X32" and is elevated approximately 18". A secure back rail is included for safety. Round and sand 2X4 pieces in rail to minimize splinters.
Risers include 1/2" deep dados for the steps and upper pipe. Riser pitch is 45 degrees, but could be set lower to provide a more comfortable rise for the steps.