Old racer readied for the return of Timaru's soapbox derby video

JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Averis & Box staff members are preparing for the Timaru Soapbox racing event that will be held in November.

It's been a wait of decades but the wheels are finally back in motion for a former soapbox racer in Timaru.

An old racer stored in an attic above Averis & Box, on Stafford St, is finally making its way back to sold ground.

It has been stored away, largely ignored, since the 1980s - the glory days of soapbox racing along the town's main street.

Averis & Box staff members, from left, Brendon Hill, driver Robert Plant, Atish Narayan and Matt Dunn are getting ...
JOHN BISSET

Averis & Box staff members, from left, Brendon Hill, driver Robert Plant, Atish Narayan and Matt Dunn are getting prepared for the Timaru Soapbox racing event.

The business' staff, led by owner-manager Matt Dunn, are gearing up to tackle soapbox racing when it returns after an absence of three decades.

The novelty event, featuring an assortment of anything on wheels, used to run north along Stafford St between the Theatre Royal and Station St.

A fundraising group - TiMOru - is bringing back the event, on a slightly different course, for Movember, an annual campaign focussing on men's health during November. 

Dunn said the history of the Averis & Box soapbox racer was a mystery.

"I have been here for 20 years and it's been stored up in the roof.

"We are really going to give it a bit of a clean up and it should go well."

The racer has a timber frame, is lined with chicken wire and is coated in paper mache. 

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It was rolling and had working brakes when a reporter stopped by the shop.

"We will have make sure it turns the corners," Dunn said.

"We have a secret plan that is so secret we don't event know it."  

Averis & Box co owner John Campbell had vague recollections of the racer and soapbox racing events of the 1980s.

"There is no one here who was involved with it originally," he said.

Campbell said he could recall staff talking a traffic officer into piloting it during one of the events.

"It's a good thing for the town and I'm glad it's coming back."  

Timaru Movember campaigners Richard Brown and Felicity Bruce have organised the November 19 event, with a starting point at George St, outside the Timaru District Council building.

The course then heads east from Barnard St to the finishing line on Station St.

The idea to get the event up and running again came about "three or four years ago", Brown said.

"A group of us always wanted to do it, we wanted to bring it back."

Bruce said there had been a lot of interest in the event. 

"This event has evoked the nostalgia from fathers who entered in the 80s and are now building carts with their sons," Bruce said.

"We have work teams, groups of friends, and mo-sistas who are getting into it." 

For more details email timorusoapbox@gmail.com, check out the TiMOru Soap Box Derby 2017 Facebook page, or visit nz.movember.com

 

 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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