Louise Middleton and her son Jarrod (10) will be racing at the Bangalow Billy Cart Derby.
Louise Middleton and her son Jarrod (10) will be racing at the Bangalow Billy Cart Derby. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Bangalow set for its big day

EVERYTHING from old wheelchairs to serious speed machines will take part in the Bangalow Billy Cart Derby tomorrow.

The event began in 1994 in an attempt to attract publicity after Bangalow was bypassed. Now the town is booming and so is its derby.

"They thought Bangalow would die so they did a promotion for the billy carts and it's grown ever since," organiser Tony Heeson explained.

Thousands of people are expected to line the street to watch the race and more than 240 competitors are expected to take part.

Jarrod Middleton, 10, from Alstonville Public School, is the reigning Schools Billy Cart Challenge champion and he's won his age class three years in a row.

But this year Jarrod doesn't want to risk his luck by making changes to his winning billy cart.

"It was un-catchable last year," Jarrod smiled.

His mother, Louise Middleton, is also entering the mothers' and tag team races and the family has been on scavenging trips across the Northern Rivers to find billy cart parts.

"His dad worked in the motor industry so he knows how to make something go fast," Ms Middleton said.

Mr Heeson said the only prize money on offer was in the school race, so the whole day was purely about fun and community engagement.

"It's not about social status or wealth in the derby; it's just good old Australian fun," Mr Heeson said.

Tibetan monks took part in the celebrity race one year and a strong field of local faces is expected to race again.

Mr Heeson said he was expecting perfect weather for one of the biggest community days in Bangalow.

"In the 18 years we've run the race it has never rained on the third Sunday in May, so fingers crossed it doesn't rain this time."



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