Billy carts roll into Dampier
A tradition is set to start in Dampier this weekend with the inaugural Dampier Billy Cart Derby.
The race will be held on Saturday in the daytime, before Dampier’s annual Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks at the Hampton Harbour Boat and Sailing Club starts at 5pm.
After weeks spent building their carts, competitors will put them to the test racing down a track along Church Street and past the Palms.
The event is being run by the Dampier Community Association but was thought up by local family the Armstrongs.
DCA Billy Cart Derby subcommittee member Alison Armstrong said she and her husband had come up with the idea for a Dampier race about a year ago while talking about the annual tradition of billycart derbies in their childhoods and realising how much it would suit local children.
“It give the kids an experience in something that we grew up doing,” she said.
“And it fits with Dampier — Dampier’s got a lovely family feel to it, and we always think out here we’re living out our childhoods.”
The family had not known about the popular Marble Bar Billy Cart Race at the time, but they went to this year’s to see a Pilbara billy cart race in action — and ultimately to watch their son Carter Armstrong win the event.
Mrs Armstrong said she hoped the race encouraged children to step away from the computer and have fun outdoors while building closer connections with their families.
“That was one of our focuses in doing this, being able to go ‘look, we’ve got parents and kids making connections, building a project together’,” she said.
“Being in the resources sector, as many people here are, there’s a lot of shift work and sometimes it’s hard for dads and kids to spend time together.”
“So this is an opportunity . . . for the whole family to get together and work on something that is away from iPads and technology and building on those trade skills.”
About 50 people have registered to race in four different categories of parents and children under 6, juniors (six to nine-year-olds), intermediates (10-15-year-olds), and seniors (over-16s).
Mrs Armstrong said the derby had received great support from a long list of local companies which had donated track materials, labour and prize vouchers.
The Dampier Billy Cart Derby will run from 9am-4pm.
There will be time trials for each contestant before heats, a semifinal, and a final.
Swino competes in the Marble Bar Billy Cart Race along the town’s main street. The slower carts could not compete with Yarrie Station and Limestone Station. Carter Armstrong won the event.