Racers zoom through town — for a good cause

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by Hamish Maclean

THRILLS and spills entertained large crowds in Timaru’s central business district as nearly 50 soap box racers hurtled down George St to raise money for mental health on Sunday.

Timoru Soap Box Derby event manager Shannon Hardacre said the annual “Movember” event continued to draw good crowds over the weekend and the weather turned it on as temperatures soared.

While it was too early to say how much money the event had raised, the day was “awesome”, Mr Hardacre said.

Movember is an annual event during which men grow moustaches during the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues. While traditionally Movember was used to raise money for men’s mental health, the soap box derby this year was raising money for both men’s and women’s mental health through the Victoria Trust, he said.

Money raised would also go towards the Timaru Suburban Lions Club for the bike park being developed at Caroline Bay.

Those too young to grow moustaches for Movember were among the best represented at this year’s soap box derby, as junior class racers led the way with 17 entries, Mr Hardacre said.

About 45 carts entered this year’s derby, and along with the junior entries there were strong entries in the original soap box, open and corporate categories, he said.

As racers sped from the top of George St, near the Timaru District Council buildings, to lower George St outside the Speight’s Ale House, a ramp at the top and two jumps at the bottom of the course created a bit of a challenge for the racers.

There was a spill or two every year, Mr Hardacre said.

And there was some damage done to the soap boxes this year.

“Not damage to people are always a few crashes, which is a good thing,” he said.

It was Mr Hardacre’s first year as event manager after he took over from Richard Brown, who had run the event for the previous three years.


High flying . . . A racer catches air off a jump at the
Timoru Soap Box
Derby . PHOTO: BRIAN HIGH

High flying . . . A racer catches air off a jump at the
Timoru Soap Box
Derby . PHOTO: BRIAN HIGH

Woah there . . . Volunteers corral soap box racers at the bottom of the course in Heritage Plaza on Sunday. PHOTO: BRIAN HIGH