Blair Somerville, of Papatowai, takes the ``Catlins Comet''
down the track. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The different ways of sending a rattling, homemade
trolley careening down a steep street were on display at the
annual Dunedin Trolley Derby yesterday.
Some riders set off with a whoop of delight and a wide smile,
steering their rickety wooden carts on an erratic course to
Others guided sleeker racing machines downhill like a bullet,
eyes full of steely professionalism, gloved hands clamped
tightly on rattling steering wheels made from wooden planks
or recycled tricycle handlebars.
• Slideshow: Dunedin Trolley Derby
But when things went wrong, they did so spectacularly, as
Isaac Oskam (7) and Joshua Burns (8) found out when they
Both developed a bad case of the speed wobbles and flipped
while hurtling down Manor Pl, coming to a sudden halt as a
crowd of up to 400 people gasped and grimaced.
They dusted themselves off, but were left in the wake of Lily
Venables (8) who eventually won the ''Zoomers'' class for
children aged 5 to 8.
Lily was one of only a handful of girls taking part, and
afterwards told the Otago Daily Times the racing was ''so
''When you get up to full speed, I don't know how to explain
it - it's so much fun.''
She was cheered on by proud family members, including father
Justin Venables, who built his daughter's trolley two years
Mr Venables said it was pleasing to see children at the event
''just having a ball''.
The annual downhill race, organised by the Dunedin North
Rotary Club, this year attracted about 50 entries and a
larger crowd than last year, co-organiser Mark Burrows said.
Competitors were divided into mainly age-related categories,
with rules requiring trolleys to have brakes and steering and
drivers to wear helmets, gloves and other protective
Mr Burrows said yesterday's trolleys and racing had been
''fantastic'', despite late rain that thinned out the crowd
before the finals.
The aim was to stage a free event that encouraged families to
do something together, and it was particularly pleasing to
see more younger children taking part this year, he said.
''The best moment for me is just seeing the smile on kids'
faces when they get a trophy,'' he said.
In other results, Zane Clarke won the Sprinters class (for
ages 9 to 11); Seth Miller and Damian Larson took first equal
in the Rockets class (ages 12 to 14); Angus McDowell won the
Mad Max class (open class); and Peter King won the Big Kids
class (ages 12 and over).