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Trolley derby thrills school

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 13:55 03/09/2014
CHRIS HILLOCK/Waikato Times

Whatawhata school kids test their courage on home built soapbox trolleys.

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A country school satisfied its pupils' need for speed with a trolley derby yesterday.

Whatawhata School has about 160 pupils, all of whom were on the hillsides in the Awatea subdivision, just out of Whatawhata, on the sunny spring day.

One racer in a homemade trolley was Grace McLennan, 7, who "couldn't count" how many times she had sped down the track of about 200m.

"Just know that it's like a bike, so just zooming down."

Her trolley was a labour of love by dad Glenn McLennan and granddad "Gumpy", with Gumpy and Nana travelling up from Taupo to watch the derby.

The trolley cost $40 and was created with two bikes from the recycling centre, an old bed frame, and a child's push bike seat, McLennan said.

And one question was at the forefront of their minds - "How do we keep our kids safe and send them down a hill?"

Alyssa Robinson, 12, was in a trolley called The Lego Mobile - a go-kart body with a homemade frame.

Nerves kicked in the first time she headed down the track "but then I realised it was really fun . . . I would definitely do it again".

The trolley derby idea came from the subdivision owner, who has children at Whatawhata School, principal Matt Stockton said.

Gilbert Southworth approached Stockton to see if he wanted to create and host an event like the derby before the road was in use.

About 26 homemade trolleys were on site yesterday, with another five brought by the school.

The fastest were getting across the finish line in under 20 seconds, he said. "They pick up some pretty good speeds."

Community support and the children's pride and fearlessness as they raced were highlights of the day for him.

Higgins Contractors also swept the road in preparation for the day.

libby.wilson@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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