Skip to Main Content

Archive: 2011

Saturday, 26 March

28 March, 2011 - Nelson Mail

Trolley Derby Focus of Movie

Tracy Neal
Nelson Mail

Dan Merry and Nico Hindmarsh
photo: COLIN SMITH - Nelson Mail

Nico Hindmarsh snapped shut his helmet visor and gripped the steering wheel of the bright orange trolley. He set his gaze down the steep slope of Nelson′s Collingwood St, and didn′t move.

Co-driver Dan Merry wriggled in the back seat: "I think I′m going to wet myself," he exclaimed seconds before the flag was dropped.

His mum Jane Fisher-Merry yelled: "Go hard." Dan issued stern instructions to his pilot to let go the brakes this time. The pair began to roll down the street. Gravity soon took over and The Firebird′s sedentary start was soon a mad hurtle as the pair, dubbed the Flying Firebird Men, were soon careering down and suddenly across the street.

The 11-year-olds, dressed in bright red coats and yellow cravats, and with dirt-splattered faces from the trolley that beat them in the first heat of the McDonalds sprinters′ series, were having the time of their lives in Saturday′s Robertson′s Trolley Derby. This year′s added attraction was the presence of a film crew gathering footage for the feature film Kiwi Flyer, which will follow the fortunes of 12-year-old Nelson boy Ben on his quest to win the Nelson Trolley Derby title away from cocky Australian-born Shannon.

Dan, who goes to Nelson Prep, and Nico, who goes to Nelson Intermediate, built their trolley over a series of Sundays in the workshop of Nico′s woodworking dad, Mike Hindmarsh.

"If we′d had a bit more time we would have put a phoenix nose cone on it," Nico said.

Instead, a bike wheel was the dominant front-end feature. The rest of The Firebird was a simple trolley box with a rear axle and the all-essential footbrake. For their efforts the pair won the Blueberry IT Backyard Brilliance award for trolleys built for under $200.

Dan could be considered a veteran trolley derby racer, having lined up in two previous events, but it was Nico′s first derby. They reckon they could have won the first heat with a bit more oomph.

"We had enough speed to overtake the Nelson Intermediate trolley but it started wobbling so we pulled up to avoid hitting it," Nico said.

"We were scared, so Nico put the brakes on the whole way. It was a bit nerve-racking watching the other trolleys fall over," Dan said.

Based on their own breathless counting they managed the distance in 18 seconds.

Five-year-old George Thompson, in his first ever derby, raced in the Nippers class. He told his mum afterwards: "I didn′t know that my heart could beat so loudly. I could hear it in my ears."

All were part of a record derby on Saturday, which saw 84 trolleys and 105 drivers line up to race. Several stood out for the imaginative decor, including The Spirit of Burt Munro with its cellophane flames trailing from fake exhausts, and Selena Coombes of Phat Club fame who wore diamond studded false eyelashes and bright pink gaiters as she flew down Collingwood St in Phat 2.

Race starter Ian Jones, who has dropped the flag for years, said it was important to support an event that took him back to his own childhood.

"I used to race down here myself in the days when the hockey club ran it."

Nelson Trolley Club committee member Andy Williams, who wears the scars of earlier attempts at driving speeding trolleys, said the event was successful because it captured true community spirit.

"This is just so kid-focused, and although we insist on safety, it involves a bit of danger."

Robertson Chartered Accountants are sponsoring next year′s derby.

27 March, 2011 - Media Release

Robertson’s Trolley Derby Sponsors commit to 2012

Robertson Chartered Accountants have committed to the Robertson’s Trolley Derby for 2012, after another fantastic event down Collingwood St yesterday.

Gilbert Robertson and Nelson Trolley Club President Tim Bayley both said the event was yet another special day for Nelson, and agreed that the event is important to continue for Nelson. More than two thousand people were estimated to have watched the iconic Nelson derby, which had attracted a record number of entrants.

“It was a great day, and we’d like to say thank you to Nelson for supporting the racers yesterday, despite the inclement weather,” says Gilbert. “The mixed looks of excitement, freedom and adrenalin on the kids’ faces as they went down the hill were priceless, and the crowd’s support was fantastic, as usual. I know my boys will forever remember their races, as will more than a hundred other drivers involved in the day.

“The fantastic racing in the atypical Nelson weather should also show the city that this event goes on rain or shine,” Gilbert says. “Yes, there were some spectacular spills, with one trolley splitting in half and another flipping over the hay bales, but all the big crashes took place after the finish line, and thankfully no-one was hurt!”

Tim Bayley adds that without the support of local businesses this event could not have happened.

“Local firms Robertson’s Chartered Accountants, Scott Construction, SBS Bank, McDonalds Nelson, Baywicks and Resene Paints, and many others, ensured we put together a great day for the kids and their families.”

After all the work he too put into the event, Nelson Trolley Club President Tim Bayley deserved his win of the Resene Monarch of the Hill, clocking a speed of 66km/h.

Other main results saw the emergence of a new generation of trolley enthusiast, with the Dacombe boys winning their categories, showing the same passion for trolleys as their grandfather, Gordon Dacombe, who has made the two ‘hero’ trolleys for the Kiwi Flyer movie, which was partly filmed during yesterday’s derby.

The main category winners were as follows:

  • The SBS Bank Zoomers (7-10 years) went to Morgan Dacombe in Lighting Racer 2.
  • The McDonalds Sprinters (11- 14 years) was taken by Jared Dacombe in the Spirit of Burt Munro.
  • The Baywicks Rockets (15 +) was won by Rowan Mallory Turner, who drove the Safari Spitfire Mk II.
  • The Deep Blue Shoestring Challenge for trolleys built for under $500 was won by Nelson Intermediate School driving the N.I.S.2
  • The Blueberry IT Backyard Brilliance award, for trolleys built for under $200, was won by Nico Hindmarsh and Dan Merry in their Firebird.
  • The Style Meister award was won by Matt Cook in Half Evil 333.

The Spirit of the Derby went to trolley number 8 that was raced in both the Nippers and the Sprinters by brothers George and Oscar Perks. The brothers were chosen because of their enthusiasm and spirit in helping each other in building and racing their trolley.

Some members of the public also came out winners when their programme tickets won the Resene Running of the Balls, seeing them walk away with prizes including a 42” flat screen TV courtesy of Titan Slicer, two tickets for a day trip on the Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle, and two nights accommodation at the Collingwood Manor B & B.

And in 2012, look out for the fast and fantastic trolleys being built over the next 12-months by the Redbox Architects Design Challenge winners, George Thompson, Oscar Perks, and Olivia Smith.

Emma Thompson - {etc}
Robertson's Derby Media Liaison

For details of award recipients and finalists in all racing categories, see the 2011 results page

26 March, 2011 - Derby Day

24 March, 2011 - eMail

OK team we have analysed the weather till we are black in the face and our blood pressure is off the map!

It is looking no better for Sunday, and Saturday it looks like it may come in a bit later and be a bit further south... the eternal optimist!

So it is all go for THIS SATURDAY - 26th March Rain or shine .... we will RUN

So we will see you all there at your allotted times - see the schedule

Any questions please email or phone ASAP

Many thanks for your patience


Tim Bayley

P.S. please all breath out toward the Northwest all Friday!

23 March, 2011 - eMail

Hi Everyone

The weather for SATURDAY the 26th of March is looking really iffy at the moment ... rain and strong northerlies

So we need to be prepared to use our rain day of Sunday the 27th

We will watch the storm over the next 24 hours and see how it moves. If it speeds up and comes in earlier than expected we may be OK for Sat but if the front arrives as expected we may need to postpone the event until Sunday the 27th

We will decide on Thursday whether to move the event to Sunday so keep an eye on your emails to find out what we decide

No matter what the decision is on Thursday, you will be receiving another email from the Club containing useful information to help us run the day smoothly.

You will find a temporary race schedule on the website ( It is likely that the afternoon schedule may change slightly so that we can fit the filming runs in for the movie over the lunch break.

So keep your fingers crossed for fine weather and keep an eye on your emails for updates.

Diane Marshall

4 February, 2011 - Nelson Mail

Trolley Derby Focus of Movie

Naomi Arnold
Nelson Mail


Nelson′s Collingwood St trolley derby is taking centre stage in a new children′s movie to be filmed entirely in Nelson this autumn.

The $1.2 million feature film Kiwi Flyer will follow 12-year-old Nelson boy Ben on his quest to win the Nelson Trolley Derby title away from cocky Australian-born Shannon, who, as an Aussie, will be up to the usual dirty tricks in an attempt to win.

The movie, aimed at five to 14-year-olds, will be set in Nelson and will use locals as actors.

Nelson-born director and co-writer Tony Simpson, of Governor′s Bay-based Torrent Films, said the film would need "a cast of thousands" of Nelsonians.


» Read the full article:

6 January, 2011 - Media Release

First ever tDay: Saturday 15 January, 2011

hotlinked image from
The Nelson Trolley Club is holding the first ever tDay in January 2011; a day when Nelsonians can bring in their old trolleys and trolley parts, so others can breathe new life into them, ready for the Derby on March 26, 2011.

Gilbert Robertson from sponsor Robertson Chartered Accountants says the inaugural tDay will give people the opportunity clean out their garages and hand over their old trolleys, which will in turn give others the chance to participate.

“Nelson’s recycle centre and the success of eDay shows that in general Nelsonians are good at dealing with household clutter responsibly by recycling,” Gilbert says. “tDay is in line with this philosophy because it’s an opportunity for people to recycle their old trolleys while also giving others who perhaps may be unable to afford ‘off the shelf’ parts, the opportunity to participate in the trolley derby next March.

“We encourage people to start sorting through their garages over the holidays and get ready for the tDay collection,” he says. “It’s a win-win scenario – create some more space for yourself, help someone else out, and be kind to the environment.”

Nelson Trolley Club president, Tim Bayley says for the first time the club will also be running workshops, where people will be able to select from the trolleys and parts collected on tDay.

“We intend to run public trolley building workshops at a central Nelson location in February, so that our trolley club experts can help anyone participating in the derby to build their own trolleys,” says Tim. “People can bring along their own parts to the workshops, with the added bonus of being able to select from the bits and pieces we hope to receive on tDay.”

The tDay old trolley and parts collection will take place on Saturday January 15, 2011, at 6/2 Washington Road (near Roberts Kitchens at the bottom of Washington Road) between 10am and 2pm.

Emma Thompson - {etc}
Robertson's Derby Media Liaison

23 December, 2010 - e-Newsletter

Well trolley lovers, here is your best Xmas present yet - the Trolley Derby is all go for 2011.

The date is set for Saturday March 26th and we are ready to roll with the new Robertson's Trolley Derby into the years ahead.

Registrations are now open at Response confirmations for registration may be a little slow over Xmas as we will all be busy enjoying egg nog and Xmas pud.

There are a few changes from previous years and here is a quick update on how things are going.

As you all know we as drivers have taken over the organising of the derby which was previously part of the Nelson City Council Summer Festival. We are forming the Nelson Trolley Club and are now looking for lots of members. You will be able to join online soon but for now please email our secretary Diane Marshall And she will email you out a form with bank details

We have tried to keep membership of the Club at a very reasonable $20 per adult plus $5 for each child (with a total family membership fee capped at a max. of $30).

We now have a new naming rights sponsor in Robertson Chartered Accountants located in Church St Nelson. Robertson's are a family oriented business who really wants to see the derby grow and help kids have a great family time together both building and racing their trolleys.

We also have a charity group that will "run the crowd" on the big day - Big Brothers Big Sisters have come on board to raise their profile to attract mentors for their 70 odd kids who are awaiting mentors. The derby will offer a great opportunity for mentors and their kids to get out there, build a trolley and race it on the day. Since the announcement in the paper, Big Brother Big Sister has already been contacted by three new mentors and our own club member Turhan has been paired up with Jared and they are building a new trolley together.

We have been working on pairing back the costs for derby day and have received some assistance with these expenses with members offering free the services of companies that they are involved with. Again the Hot Rod Club is supporting the event by providing manpower on the day and has agreed to reduce their fee. Andy has been doing a great job on the web-site and along with Antony has provided a wealth of info to get us up to speed.

BUT it is still an expensive day and the sponsorship we have received from Robertson's as the naming rights sponsor does not cover all the costs.

We are still looking for 5 race naming sponsors at $1000 each for each of the major race categories on the day. If you know of anyone who might be interested please let us know and someone from the committee will contact them. As an incentive, Classic Hits have offered a $250 voucher of free ad time on any Radio Nelson station to these $1000 race naming sponsors.

Also the costs involved in running the derby means that we will be charging a small entry fee as part of the registration. Entry fees have been set at $20 for Rockets, $10 for Sprinters and Zoomers, free for Nippers and the Monarchs (as most will have paid as a Rocket). We think these fees are pretty reasonable and should not be a burden on anyone in these challenging economic times.

On the positive side we have had a number of smaller sponsors who have come forward all ready ..... Industrial Coating Specialist ($500), The Copier Company ($250), Youngs Automotive ($250). Konica Minolta has agreed to print all our promotional fliers. We will also have a program for sale which will be your ticket to a new - Running of the Balls at the end of the day before prize giving.

There will be other events on the day, including the Kids Design Challenge and "Have a Go". An event sponsored by Classic Hits that will run on Manuka St. This event is aimed at giving kids ( 12 and under ) a go on some very safe trolley for a gold coin donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

On Sat 15th Jan we will be holding a "tDay" at 6/2 Washington Rd. What is tDay you say .... well this is like eDay but is for the return of any old trolleys that no one wants anymore and that are kicking around garages taking up space. We will reuse and recycle them and anyone can come along and get a trolley or parts of one and build something new and different.

The Club, lead by Turhan, will be leading some trolley building workshops on Wednesday evenings starting in early February. You will be able to come along and get help with the building of your trolley.

As you can see there is a lot happening and plenty of things coming up. It is time to get active guys and girls and join YOUR club and register for another great Derby on 26th March 2011.

We welcome your feed back to us and any ideas, thoughts and comments you have. All our contact details are on the web-site

Have a great Holly Trolley Christmas and we will see you all in the New Year hurtling down Collingwood St!

President: Robertson's Trolley Derby

26 November, 2010 - Media Release

Mentoring young people - a focus for Robertson’s Trolley Derby 2011

Robertson’s Trolley Derby 2011 has announced that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson will be the associated charity of the 2011 derby, highlighting the importance for young Nelson people to have positive mentors.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters non-profit organisation has been operating throughout New Zealand, including Nelson, since 1998. It is based on a programme that helps young people reach their full potential, by pairing them with adult mentors who create a positive difference in their lives.

Gilbert Robertson, Director at Robertson Chartered Accountants, says the locally based charity was chosen for the Robertson’s Trolley Derby because it was a good fit with the idea of building backyard trolleys.

“For us, the process of building a trolley is all about adults working alongside kids and having fun on a cool project,” Gilbert says. “Most of us had our parents, grandparents or other family members build us trolleys as kids, and for next year’s derby I am building one with my kids, but there are many young New Zealanders who don’t have positive role models in their lives. The job Big Brothers Big Sisters does for Nelson families is of huge importance. It is truly inspirational.

“We will be announcing over the next month or so the different activities happening before the derby, and on the day, to support Big Brothers Big Sisters.” he says.

Gavin Millar, Programme Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson, says the charity has already established a relationship with the Nelson Trolley Club and hopes to raise its profile even further through its association with the Robertson’s Trolley Derby 2011.

“The key to the success of our programme are the mentors; everyday, ordinary people who volunteer a few hours each week to spend with a young person doing activities that they share in common,” says Gavin. “Recently Turhan Djemal, who is a member of the Nelson Trolley Club, and Jared, became our 300th ‘match’ in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson mentoring programme, and they have already started to build a trolley together for the big day next year.

“The Robertson’s Trolley Derby 2011 is set to be the best one yet and we’re looking forward to joining in the fun and hope it will inspire more people to join Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

20 November, 2010 - Nelson Mail

New sponsor revives trolley derby

Adam Roberts
Nelson Mail

Nelson speed freaks of all ages can rejoice – the annual Collingwood St Derby will go ahead [in 2011] after a new sponsor came forward with the funds.

Robertson Chartered Accountants has come up with the funds for 2011's event, to be renamed the Robertson Trolley Derby 2011.

Nelson Trolley Club president Tim Bayley with Gilbert Robertson and sons Corban and Jax looking forward to the Robertson Trolley Derby 2011

Robertson Chartered Accountants director Gilbert Robertson said the company had been looking for a way to have some sort of community involvement when they heard about the collapse of SCF.

"[The derby] fits with our ethos of being family, fun and community oriented," he said.

"[The 2011] event is going to be about fun, with a family focus, but not just from a participant′s point of view, but also from the spectators′."

He would be building trolley racers for twin sons Corban and Jax, though he had toyed with the idea of a two-seater car for both to ride in. Nelson Trolley Club president Tim Bayley said it was great to find someone who was willing to step up and support the event.


"It′s one of those great things that kids can enjoy and the parents can go out and get involved."

» Read the full article: »

2011 Derby Sponsors

Robertson Chartered Accountants

logo: Baywick's

logo: BlueBerry IT
BlueBerry IT

logo: Classic Hits
Classic Hits - Nelson

The Copier Company

logo: graphics/logo-designart.png

Konica Minolta

logo: McDonalds
McDonalds Nelson


Redbox Architects

SBS Community

Scott Construction