This film is part of Free

Wellington Go Kart Race

Karts start hearts and minds racing in semi legal street race

News 1965 1 mins Silent

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Handmade wooden go karts with pram tyres and string for precision steering are unleashed on the public in a street race in Wellington. Competitors in fancy dress are cheered on by the locals as residential street becomes track. The vehicles are powered by gravity tempered with a dash of madness from the driver as the incline and his or her weight, barring incident, force the kart to the finish line.

A gravity racer or soapbox is a motorless vehicle but has not as yet featured as a trial sport at the Olympic Games. The sport dates from 1934 in the USA and requires the competitor to design and manufacture a buggy and then road test it and race it downhill against the clock or other competitors. Today it is known as a Soapbox Race. The propulsion is all human and the gravity largely uncontrollable adding to the excitement as crashes are not unusual. Performed on road or snow, one new variant is the human powered glide machine which launches off cliffs with the winner being the one to travel the farthest before plummeting lemmingward to the ocean.