Jarrod Moran, 11, and Josh Tajer, 11, concentrate on the bend at the Australia Day Billy Cart Derby.
Jarrod Moran, 11, and Josh Tajer, 11, concentrate on the bend at the Australia Day Billy Cart Derby.

Billycarts and damper in Maclean

ALL roads led to Maclean Showground yesterday for the fourth running of the Australia Day Billy Cart Derby.

Around 20 billycarts fronted up for the dash down the hill and around the bend on the bumpy showground track.

The derby, run by Maclean Lions Club, has certainly caught the imagination of locals and visitors alike, with one Queensland family, the Campbells, making their fourth visit to the event.

Scrutineering of the entrants began from around 10am and racing kicked off at 11am with three age groups – eight to 11, 12 to 15 years and opens – competing in two classes, soap box and open class.

A crowd gathered on both sides of the track close to the bend, ready for all the thrills and spills.

This year the spills were kept to a minimum, although one young driver, who tried to celebrate his victory by raising his hands as he crossed the finishing line, found that billycart steering systems were a lot less predictable than Formula One. Luckily for him a post halted his progress before too much damage was done.

Celebrations were not limited to the showground in Maclean, with bowlers also heading to the Maclean Bowling Club for its Australia Day tournament.

Play kicked off in mufti-dress at 1.30pm, with competition open to all comers.

Bowlers also enjoyed the council barbecue and traditional Aussie dampers.

Another event that attracted its fair share of attention was an Australian picnic put on by the residents of Shark Creek on the outskirts of Maclean.

Held virtually on the front doorstep of Chris and Brian Grieve’s home on the Pacific Highway, around 30 residents gathered on the old Shark Creek Bridge to sample a strictly Australian morning tea of damper, scones, pikelets and any other Aussie food they could gather. And they wet their whistles with liberal quantities of billy tea.

The revellers’ high spirits were on display for all to see as many partygoers climbed the bridge superstructure to wave flags at passing motorists.

“It was great that trucks and quite a few cars tooted their horns when they saw us,” said Chris Grieve.



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