Eyebrows up, blowup dolls down in Undy 500

00:13, Jul 16 2009
undies
BLOWING IN: Mark Ferguson of Queenstown and 'Brian' ready to race in the Mountain Scene Undy 500.

At almost any other time, or in any other place, he would have faced the prospect of arrest and a padded cell.

Yesterday, he took out the best-dressed award at the Queenstown Winter Festival Undy 500 race.

Queenstowner Mark Ferguson, 42, turned heads and dropped jaws when he turned up to the underwear raceday wearing just carpet slippers and a pair of tiny white underpants which he shared with inflatable friend "Brian".

NAKED AMBITION: Tim Jones, of Christchurch,on his way to taking out the Undie 500 race at the Queenstown Winter Festival yesterday.
NAKED AMBITION: Tim Jones, of Christchurch,on his way to taking out the Undie 500 race at the Queenstown Winter Festival yesterday.

Ferguson and Brian lined up against about a dozen other semi-naked guys (none of whom had inflatable sextoys in their underpants) to race a several-hundred-metre course up and down the beach in Queenstown Bay.

Over hay bales, under hurdles and into the lake they went.

Ferguson was knocked out in an early heat, but he was not blaming the result on the rapidly deflating Brian.

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"He kept me nice and warm," he said.

A veteran of the first Undy 500 at Queenstown Winter Festival 1996, Ferguson instead blamed his early exit on his decision to wear carpet slippers a poor choice, he reflected, in the era of professional sport.

The quickest man in Y-fronts on the day was Tim Jones, of Christchurch, who won $250 worth of new underwear for his efforts.

He said he chose his racing undies on the basis they were the last "cleanish" pair he had.

In the women's event Esther Liong, of Christchurch, cantered home for the win.

Ms Liong said she and Jones were running partners, and had entered the Undy 500 while on holiday from university.

Spectators were later entertained by paragliders in fancy dress, who launched off Bobs Peak before landing in Queenstown Bay. Batman made a particularly spectacular entrance, base-jumping off a glider piloted by sidekick Robin.

The caped crusader plummeted lake-ward before deploying a chute and cruising in to land on the beach.

The Southland Times