1991 Trolley Derby The starting line up
1991 Trolley Derby The starting line up

The Great Gulf News Trolley Derby makes a return this Father’s Day, Sunday 1 September.

The race day is an opportunity for people to build their own trolleys and compete for bragging rights. 

Former Gulf News editor David Waters was one of the initiators of the original 1989 Great Gulf News Trolley Derby. He remembers trolley drivers starting the course at the top of the hill, near where the library is now, and racing round the traffic island and down the left-hand side of Oceanview Road. 

“There was great competition to get around the traffic island as fast as possible,” says David. “We went close to the knees of spectators seated on the kerb.”

“It was started as an opportunity for entertainment and community involvement,” he says. “It was a bit of fun that could involve lots of the business houses around the island and the kids as well.”

The derby brought out the competitive streak in many entrants. 

“There was great rivalry among the businesses. Ian Poppelwell, who had the appliance store in the main street of Oneroa, put a huge amount of effort into it,” he says.  

“There used to be secret testing down the side roads.”

David built two competitive trolleys, as well as several box trolleys for children -and says that the hardest part to get right is the brakes.

In the past, home-made trolleys have been constructed using pram, wheelchair and bike wheels. •

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