Nathan Nilson from the 1st Warwick Boys Brigade Company works on his own cart in preparation for the annual Downs Group Billy Cart Derby.
Nathan Nilson from the 1st Warwick Boys Brigade Company works on his own cart in preparation for the annual Downs Group Billy Cart Derby. Contributed

Boys prepare for billy cart derby

SATURDAY can’t come soon enough for Warwick’s own Boys Brigade as they prepare for the Downs Group Billy Cart Derby to be held here for the first time.

The Downs Group of Boys Brigade includes companies from Crows Nest and Toowoomba and while the Warwick company is only new at the Billy cart business, they still managed some placings last year when Crows Nest hosted the Derby.

The boys are required to make their own Billy carts within an established safety criteria which includes a wooden base, no steel apart from the axles, no sharp edges, wheels no larger than 200mm diameter and ‘bump stops’ to prevent over-steer.

Warwick 1st Boys Brigade Company Captain Keith Hartshorn said there was more involved in the derby than racing carts.

“Not only are the boys learning to make something, they’re learning which tools to use for specific jobs and how to use them safely,” he said.

“Tonight we’re using a router on the cart base to remove any sharp edges, next week we’ll bolt axles and wheels onto the base, then the steering mechanism with bump stops which restrict the turning circle, then foot rests and we find plastic seats from broken chairs.”

What about brakes?

“No, there are no brakes.” Captain Hartshorn said.

“They race downhill and pull up in a flat run-off area; it’s all part of the fun.”

This year’s event will be held on the slope behind the old Scout Den in Victoria Park (opposite the hospital) and about 60 carts are entered in several age categories.

Mr Hartshorn said the slope wasn’t as steep as Crows Nest last year but steep hills in Warwick were hard to find.

“We’d like a steeper hill with grass but with a nice flat area for the carts to slow and stop where it’s safe,” he said.

Racing will start in Victoria Park at 1pm with a barbecue and sausage sizzle for parents, supporters and onlookers.

Boys Brigade meets every Thursday night at the Baptist Community Church hall in Percy Street and caters for boys from five to 18 years.



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