City off to a flyer in trolley derby stakes

01:24, Sep 18 2012

A new competition aims to make Nelson's trolley derby a national event, as the city gears up for the premiere of its derby movie.

Kiwi Flyer, featuring Nelson actors alongside stars Vince Martin, Tandi Wright and Dai Henwood, will have its premiere at the Theatre Royal tonight.

Inspired by the Nelson Trolley Derby, the movie is about a young boy who sets out to win the local trolley derby in memory of his father.

Last night the public were able to celebrate the film with an event that saw kids - and city councillors alike - play with mini-soapbox racers and enjoy a mini-film festival.

At the event Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio announced the creation of a New Zealand Trolley Derby Grand Prix, unveiling a banner and trophy ready for the competition to be held next year.

Competitors from around the country will be invited to participate in races to determine the best trolley derby town.

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Mr Miccio said the grand prix was a way of benefiting from the trolley derby exposure generated for the city by the Kiwi Flyer movie.

“We're the craft-beer capital, we're the mountainbike capital, we're the sunshine capital, and now we're the trolley derby capital of the world.”

He said the movie was clearly going to be a success, and he looked forward to people coming from around the world to see the trolley derby.

Director Tony Simpson said he was really excited about showing off the film to the public, and was happy he could thank those who would be unable to make the premiere.

“They have all been part of it in some way.”

Daughter Molly, 9, had had a sneak peak of the film over the last few months.

“I thought it was good,” she said.

Martin, who plays the villain, Wayne, in the film, was also at the event last night and was excited about the premiere.

“I haven't seen the movie yet - you bet I'm looking forward to it,” he said.

“I've got my tux out of mothballs and I'm so, so looking forward to it.”

Bad guys were fun roles to play, and he had tried to put his own spin on the character, he said.

“It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience and I really, really love Nelson.”

An eight-metre sloped track built by Tim Bayley provided a small taste of the excitement of the real thing, with children racing using 1kg soap-box derby racers.

At one point Mr Miccio put his own red Lego racer, named Ferrari in a nod to his Italian heritage, up against councillor Pete Rainey's “Peterminator”, a heavy racer made partly out of wood.

Mr Miccio won the first four races, putting his success down to his use of “extra-virgin olive oil” in his racer's wheels.

When Mr Rainey applied a little of the oil used in the sausage sizzle, he went on to blitz the field.

Later in the evening Mr Simpson showcased the five finalists in the derby film festival, all filmed during this year's trolley derby.

In the end, 6-year-old director Poppy Ford won with her entry Someone by your Side, telling the story of her friend, Xan, and featuring Poppy singing her original take on The Muppets song Life's a Happy Song.

Mr Simpson said the winning film captured the whole essence of the trolley derby spirit.

“[It] showed what a great family event this is.”

For winning the film festival, she won a trophy and two tickets to the premiere.

She said it felt really good to win, and she liked that she had been able to show her own story.

She was looking forward to the premiere, particularly being able to dress up.

“I have got a red dress.”

The Nelson Mail