Trolley Derby rolls on, rain or shine

Weather no worry for rolling racers

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 08:36 17/03/2014
Trolley Derby
PATRICK HAMILTON/NELSON MAIL

ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE: A heat of the Mitre10 Mega Corporate Challenge runs neck and neck during the Robertson's 2014 Trolley Derby in Collingwood St on Saturday.

Nelson Trollley Derby
PATRICK HAMILTON/NELSON MAIL Zoom
Emergency crews tend to Ishbel Creagh after a spill in his "Speedy Gonzales" SBS Bank Zoomer class racer.

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Speed, spills and smiles ruled Nelson's annual Robertson's Trolley Derby day. Despite the pending rain the Saturday event drew out spectators and participants of all ages.

From the Batmobile trolley to sleek carbon fibre beasts and the colourful HINB Kiwi zoomer trolley driven by best friends Nina Kidson and Isabella Flood it was a festive, but slightly competitive atmosphere.

Dressed in the same pink and purple outfits - it was Nina's birthday and the girls got matching earrings to go with their matching outfits. They were both nervous, but excited too.

"We just thought it was really fun so we just wanted to do it," said Nina.

Huw Morgan, a family friend, made the girls' trolley, but they had done decked it out in colour with a spinwheel and feathery bowers.

Parents hugged their children wishing them good luck before taking to the sidelines to watch.

Spectators clapped on contestants reserving special applaud for the trolleys that inched their way over the finish line. Worried gasps escaped the crowd as a few trolleys crashed, tumbling over with the driver inside, but each contender stood to an applaud before they were ushered off the track by medics.

Haybails lined the street for trolleys which decided to take a horizontal approach to the track. There were some near collisions as some trolleys veered left and right.

Luke McMorran, 11, from Nelson Intermediate took a tumble from his trolley. Despite hurting his chin, back, and head he still had fun and would enter again next year, but said "I might take it slower next time."

"There's been some good tumbles so far," said Nelson Trolley Club president Tim Bayley.

He said there were some very nervous parents "with short finger nails" at the start line.

The variety of trolleys made from kayaks, old buggies, cycle wheels, adjested cycle brakes, and handrails among other things were checked for safety and all drivers wore safety helmets.

The trolleys made impressive speeds, sometimes up to 70kmh, as they shot down Collingwood St, which was closed off for the event. Speedy Gonzales sped over the finish line and became airborne as it flew over a bump in the road.

Spectators were on the sidelines with their foldable chairs, McDonalds breakfasts, and tea flasks.

Kate West, from Wakefield, dropped her husband at work before bringing Josh, 5 and Olivia, 3 and a half to watch the "fun" filled day.

Josh and Olivia said they would like to enter one day with Josh liking it "100 per cent" and the blue trolleys being his favourite picks.

Stalls lined the street selling everything from homemade lemonade to the traditional chips and hotdogs.

"We're Roff" built by the Roff family was driven by siblings Ben and Sally. It was a streamlined trolley with a built in parachute, which burst out over the finish line drawing "cool" and "awesome" calls from the crowds.

It was the first time the Roff family had entered. Ben said he kept asking his dad if he could go in the derby and eventually he wore him down. He said the tyres and the streamlining of the trolley made it fast. Sally said she had fun driving the trolley to a win in one of the heats and Ben was keen to "definitely enter again next year".

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Lance Tighe drove the carbon fibre, stainless steel framed Safari Spitfire in the adult round.

He was filling in for the trolley's usual driver, but said his extra 25kg seemed to be an advantage. He hoped to win the derby.

Mr Bayley said it was a great day of racing with "the weather is holding together for us". He was pumped from having just won his first race of the day describing it as "fast and exciting".

It was also a year of firsts. Mousetraps were used to automatically start the races and trolleys and new corporate challenge was introduced. Twelve Mitre 10 formula one-style trolleys were given to local businesses to decorate as they pleased and race. It was fierce competition as similar businesses such as Stefano's Pizzeria and Lambretta's Cafe & Bar faced off against each other.

This event was a highlight for Mr Bayley.

"These corporate trolleys are amazing when you see them lined up on the gird it's just like formula one," he said.

Other race categories included the zoomers for those aged of 6-10, the sprinters aged 11-16 and the "oldies" in the rockets aged 17-99. And the final race for Monarch of the Hill.

The day was sponsored by Robertson Chartered Accountants and Mitre 10. Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraised during the day for their mentoring programme which matches young people with mentors.

- Nelson

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