The countdown is on for Central Hawke's Bay's inaugural Fast 'n' Furious trolley derby on Saturday, October 29, when competitors will hurtle 1.3km down Pukeora Hill near Waipukurau to claim the chequered flag and trophies to boot.

Hawke's Bay's longest gravity race, and perhaps the longest in the North Island, the not-for-profit event presented by St Andrew's Church is a fundraiser for Epic Youth Ministries, as well as the church's ongoing overseas mission work.

Across Hawke's Bay both experienced drivers and amateurs were invited to design and build outrageous trolley carts to compete against the clock on the route that starts at Pukeora Estate lookout, descending Pukeora Scenic Rd towards Waipukurau.

One of the event organisers, Warren Kittow, said the last few weeks had been frantic on the back of about a year of planning.


"You don't realise how much is involved - we had no template to follow, we just thought it was a great idea and went for it."

The family event is open to all ages, including primary and high school children, and there is also a corporate challenge for businesses to pit their skills against others.

For this section, a team of volunteers, including members of the Waipukurau MenzShed, have built more than 20 corporate trolleys.

With a steel frame, plywood body and wheels complete with racing bearings, companies have the chance to hire and decorate their vehicles with branding, and any other embellishments that appeal.

Mr Kitto said more corporate entries were still welcome, although to date about two-thirds of the spots were filled.

Meanwhile entries were filing in from individuals, with others building their trolleys but holding off entering until they were certain they were going to be completed in time.

"People are also looking to next year, with a bit more time up their sleeves to participate - we see this as becoming an iconic annual event," said Mr Kitto.

It's not the first time such shenanigans have been enjoyed in Central Hawke's Bay, for both racers and spectators, he added.

"Every person aged 40 and over who I have talked to has a story of what they did as kids," he said, adding that in the modern age of stringent regulations, safety was at the forefront.

Ongaonga-based Simon Osborne, with his company Racesafe New Zealand, has been engaged to create a safety plan for the event for competitors to navigate the twists and turns on the downhill run.

Mr Kittow said the organisers did a test run last week and he had this advice for competitors, who could reach speeds of up to 60km/h during their run: "Keep your foot off the brake and take your courage in hand."

● The race is due to start at 9am on Saturday, October 29. If rained out, the event will be postponed until November 5. For more details, including how to enter, go to the website