Teapots ready to race

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014
teapot
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PIPING-HOT WHEELS: Dunedin steampunk enthusiast Simone Montgomerie with the spruced-up teapot she plans on racing at the Steampunk NZ Festival.

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Preparations for Oamaru's Steampunk New Zealand Festival at Queen's Birthday weekend are well under way, with a pair of unusual forms of racing a feature of this year's activities.

While airship racing has taken place in previous years, teapot racing will be held for the first time.

Dunedin's Simone Montgomerie dreamed up the idea and said all anyone interested in participating had to do was acquire a remote controlled vehicle with wheels and replace it with a light teapot similar to the size of the chassis.

She said hot glue guns were a good way to dress up the teapot to reflect the steampunk theme, but warned against using too much glue as it adds a "surprising" amount of weight.

"Steampunk your teapot in a way that will not render it too heavy for your chassis. Ideas for that are available online, google steampunk teapot images."

Obstacle and drag races are set to be held.

Festival co-ordinator Helen Jansen is excited at the level of interest and curiosity the event is creating in the Oamaru community, as well as further afield.

"This event has pre-sold more tickets than any other so far," she says.

"This is a first in the steampunk world and a great addition to the Southern hemisphere's premier steampunk event."

Jansen has been busy dressing up her own teapot and says it's a simple project to complete.

"Teapots can be plain. I know there are some pretty fancy ones coming, but mine are decorated quite simply with paper and card in the interests of speed and maneuverability," she says.

While Jansen and Montgomerie have been busy with their teapots, Iain Clark has been hard at work creating airships for people to race.

"We've had airship racing for the last two years using helium filled balloons. This year we are expanding on our ideas for the designs and means of propulsion," he says.

Tension wires will be running across the race venue for the airships and while the method of propulsion is optional, it can't be touched by the hand.

He suggested pulling the airship down the line with a fishing reel, while another option was using a remote control engine.

"Helium is expensive and we find the size of the room and the variation of the air currents make this a slow and unpredictable method of racing."

The teapot and airship races are being held on Saturday, May 31.

Tickets for the event are available on the Steampunk New Zealand Festival website.

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- South Canterbury

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