Family has the need for speed

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Finalists in the adult category, Debbie Kennard watched on as Suzanne Leigh rolled ahead to first place. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

JESSE Leigh gets a thrill from racing down a hill in his trolley – so much so his family travelled to Invercargill from Christchurch to attend the South Alive Trolley Derby last weekend.

It looked to be
neck and neck in the final of the 11-12 year old category, but Holly Duston (left), came in just behind Douglas Hackett. PHOTOS: LAURA SMITH

Inspired when he watched the movie Kiwi Flyer for the first time, the 10-year-old set his sights on competing in a trolley derby himself, and came second in his category, racing in General Leigh on Sunday.

“I love the racing and seeing what time I get,” he said.

His mum Suzanne also raced and won the adult category in the same trolley.

She said they took part every year, as well as at other derbies around the South Island.

Winner in his category, Douglas Hackett said his new cart performed well.

There were 15 entrants in total. Douglas Hackett, who won the 11-12 years old category, had entered the event before and said his new cart gave him the upper hand.

He noticed a difference racing compared to previous years, and pushing forward helped at the start.

He took on Holly Dunstan in the deciding race but there were no hard feelings between the two competitors. As they shook hands she smiled and said, “next year”.

“Next year,” was his response.

South Alive trustee and volunteer Jess Chalmers said the fifth annual event went well and she was glad the sun was shining.

She said about 400 bags were filled with shredded paper to be used as racetrack barriers. “It takes a bit of preparation beforehand.”

Rocky the miniature horse gave seven-year-old Jaxon Murch his first ever riding experience at the Family Fun Day.

The event was part of International Children’s Day celebrations in Invercargill, with a Family Fun Day at nearby Elizabeth Park.

Children rode donkeys and miniature horses, blew bubbles, slipped on the water slide and tossed gumboots.

Trolley racing is in the Leigh family blood – both mum and son did well
in their categories. Savanna (front, left), Jesse (10), Chris (left, back) and Suzanne Leigh travelled from Christchurch for the Invercargill event.

At the event, Jaxon Murch (7) experienced his first time riding. He partnered up with an SPCA rescued miniature horse named Rocky.

A Children’s Day event was also held at the Invercargill Fire Station.

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