The Gulf News trolley is up and ready for racing, thanks to Shaun, Sam and Nick Hewetson – are you? Photo Merrie Hewetson

Think you can control your speed and your fear enough to be a top competitor? Then the Great Gulf News Trolley derby’s latest evolution might be right up your street.

This year’s event planned for Sunday 12 September, will have all the usual classes and age-group races – but organisers are also looking for an overall winner. That winner will then get the chance to upgrade their gravity-fed racing skills on to the Waiheke Dirt Track in a true blue, bona fide high-octane race car.

Official trolley derby scrutineer, Dirt Track secretary and dab hand behind the wheel Bruce “Slick” Beaumont reckons there are a few transferable skills between racing trolleys and jalopies, and whoever comes through on the day ought to enjoy their grand prize.

“Racing fast in a trolley certainly means you’re showing potential – it’s all about controlling your speed and your fear,” he says. “Ultimately what drives a good racer is the competition. When you have the other vehicles around you and you see someone making gains or pulling away – that’s what makes you more competitive.”

Bruce, who’s successfully raced a trolley he built some 20-odd years ago (“we’re usually at the pointy end!”) says there’s even parts of trolley racing that surpass the thrills of the dirt track.

“A race car gives you that high intensity, but in some ways the trolleys are even more amplified because you feel every rattle and bump in the road. And because the speeds are slower, the racing against other trolleys around you gets dragged out.”

Plans are still being finalised for how the feature race competitors will be picked on the day but fastest trolleys and fastest racers will be whittled down from the whole field of entrants. There’s also talk that the course may be extended for the ultimate challenge to ensure the bravery and speed factors are dialled up to extreme!

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