Crowd seven deep to watch derby

By Kaysha Brownlie

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Driver Edu Tremain, 11, and Cam Ward celebrate their win of the sponsor's cup race at the Soapbox Derby in Napier yesterday. Photo / Paul Taylor
Driver Edu Tremain, 11, and Cam Ward celebrate their win of the sponsor's cup race at the Soapbox Derby in Napier yesterday. Photo / Paul Taylor

At just 5 years old, Rex Moran's first Soapbox Derby race got off to a swift start.

The crowd was cheering, his two fellow competitors were zooming fast alongside him - then things got a little wobbly and he careered into the left-hand barrier about one-third of the way down the Tennyson St course.

"I think I pushed him a wee bit hard," his father, Andrew Moran, admitted.

Rex recovered quickly after his minor bump and his father said he performed well after having only "a little practise at the yard" the previous day.

Rex was just the first of a few more speed wobbles to come as race after race took to the mark.

Tennyson St was seven people deep either side of the track. It was clear the adults were having just as much fun as the kids - not only the racers, but spectators, too, could be seen hooting and yelling as the trolleys screamed past them.

Gasps could be heard as soapbox carts drifted slowly closer together, and apart again, as their young drivers steered them to the finish line.

Before the sponsor's race began, Simon Tremain, whose team was back defending their champion title, said he was "feeling the pressure".

He said his opponents, Gemco and Brebner Print, had both made a few modifications which included new footwear for Gemco's pusher.

"They don't look too Art Deco to me," Mr Tremain said, which was mandatory dress for all entrants.

The trio of rivals rolled up to the mark, but when they reached the finish line the Tremains red and white car, driven by Edu Tremain, 11, took back the title for a second year, with a result that Gemco's Ash Zachan said was really "too close to call".

Brebner Print came third and manager Ricky Howes, who pushed his 9-year-old son Caius, said they would go "bigger and stronger" in next year's race.

This year there were a few changes including a "mustering area" down Herschell St where carts were lined up and safety checks were carried out.

Tremains took home a silver trophy, while prizes handed out to other classes included binoculars and money.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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