Soap Box Derby Battle Of Team Skills

Soap Box Derby Battle Of Team Skills

The Halpin “grand prix” team from Taradale were all smiles at the end of yesterday’s colourful, entertaining and at times nail-biting Soap Box Derby staged down a 150m strip of Tennyson St.

“Very happy,” was a breathless Steve Halpin who with son Jack at the wheel grabbed the premier Open event as well as two other finals.

“Great result, great day.”

Young Jack was all smiles – soaking up the trifecta of wins.

Their sleek number 6 car also took out the Kids Final and the Parent and Child Final.

But they didn’t have it easy as in the Kids Final the winning margin was so tight it took some deliberation before the announcement was made.

There were smiles too in the Napier/Palmerston North “family” team steered by Matt Balm of Palmerston North in a car built by Napier man Nigel Purdy and “dusted off and prepared” by Nigel Halpin, also of Napier.

Their car, which had been assigned the number ‘1’ plate did just that in the final of the TOTS class.

They won the first heat of the day in it and kept the good form going, taking heat wins in two other classes.

“It’s my first time at Art Deco and our first time with the cart,” Mr Balm said. “It’s just great.”

The crowd of several thousand thought so too as the record entry of more than 30 carts raced off three at a time.

There were carts shaped like bottles, an old tank complete with turret, a superb replica scale-model Bugatti, three and four-wheelers and one with a passenger seat where the driver’s young chum went along for the ride.

Young boys and girls drove the remarkable carts – although for about 40 per cent of them the slope wasn’t steep enough and the head-wind a little strong.

They needed extra pushes to cross the line.

One young chap also needed an extra hand to get back in the race after he overturned seconds after the start.

The onlooking St John Ambulance officer was not required however.

In terms of the clash between teams from the two main sponsors Tremains and Gemco, it was honours (and the three bottles of wine on the line) to Gemco.

“They haven’t showed up,” Gemco team boss Darren Diack said.

“They knew we were too good and they were going to lose so they stayed away,” he laughed.

While not in the final running the Gemco car, piloted by seven-year-old Jackson Diack and 11-year-old Abby Oliver, grabbed a couple of second places though.

One spectator, George Walker, visiting from Auckland for his third Art Deco weekend, summed it up for all.

“That was the most marvellous thing you could wish to see. Those young kids having a ball and everyone just having fun – so much fun.”

Source: Hawke’s Bay Today, Monday Feb 24, 2014 

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