Mercedes Gecking, 14, was all smiles after winning first place Sunday in the junior class of the Lorain County Fair’s demolition derby.
The West Salem resident and other competitors, with ages ranging from 12 to 15, were accompanied by adults in the cars since they do not yet have driver’s licenses.
Gecking said this is her fourth year competing, but first without her father in the car. He received doctor’s orders not to ride after a kidney transplant.
“This is all thanks to my Dad,” she said. “He’s the reason I’m doing this here today. He taught me how to weld and about everything with cars. Doctors told him he can’t compete anymore because of the danger.”
Gecking lost control of her steering in the waning minutes of the derby and dealt with low visibility due to smoke from her engine — but she managed to make one last run across the pit and deliver the winning hit on last year’s winner, Shelby Owens.
“I just didn’t stop and kept going. The other car began to give out on them at the end and my car was just perfect,” she said. “I picked it out and put together pretty much the entire thing.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Civitas Media Mercedes Gecking, 14, of West Salem, was the big winner of the junior class in the demolition derby at the Lorain County Fair. She overcame a loss of steering and constant smoke in her face to take down last year’s winner, Shelby Owens.