Quick to get the drift on making downhill trikes
Nine Wakatipu youngsters have been on a fun eight-week construction mission building downhill drift trikes as part of a Wakatipu Youth Trust’s Youth Booth skills interest programme. Youth worker Nathan Baxter said the nine boys, aged 12 to 17, had learnt to weld, grind and spray paint, courtesy of Arrowtown bike enthusiast John Potts. Mr Potts has been teaching the youngsters how to construct downhill racing drift trikes from old bike parts. ‘‘They’ve welded them and learned to work a grinder and painted them all up,’’ he said. Drift trikes were all the rage at present. ‘‘They’re like big kids’ trikes but made for teenagers.’’ The group made three trikes as well as a downhill racing cart and all were put to the test in a trial racing run at Bendemeer last week. The boys hoped to enter the cart in the Arrowtown Plunket downhill race, which is scheduled for either later this year or early next year, Mr Baxter said. A retired Southland farmer, Mr Potts is known for his trailer-load of modified bikes and for teaching youngsters to ride unicycles and penny farthings. ‘‘He invests his time in teaching kids skills. ‘‘He reckons any dad who doesn’t let his kids play with his tools should be quartered,’’ Mr Baxter said. Queenstown Engineering provided the group with safety gear, metal parts, and welding and grinding discs. ‘‘The aim is to give youth skills for life. They learn to overcome difficulties, work out problems and stay motivated to see the task finished,’’ Mr Baxter said. It was a great way of introducing young people to potential career possibilities and get them excited about developing new skills, he said. ‘‘It’s about giving them confidence and going forward.’’ Other programmes the Youth Booth has run have included cooking and photography. Staff are planning a programme on leadership for next year.
Drifters: Members of the drift trike team who have been building and racing their own bikes. From left, youth worker Nathan Baxter, Dylan Kemp, 14, John Potts, of Bikes For Fun, Benjamyn Wiel-lake, 12, and Justin Taylor, of Queenstown Engineering.
On trial: Dylan Kemp, 14, trials a drift trike he helped construct at Bendemeer last week.