Drift trikes a life-changer for Chop­per

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM O'CON­NELL

To his 10-year-old son Sam, Paul Halsey is a fun dad.

Known as Chop­per in ref­er­ence to a miss­ing thumb on his left hand, 47-year-old Halsey is a former na­tional 12th scale ra­dio con­trol cham­pion who also used to or­gan­ise so­cial Nerf gun wars around Nel­son.

It was at the same time that Halsey was look­ing to throw in the toy guns that some­one of­fered him his first elec­tric trike. It was a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I didn’t know what I was get­ting into - but that was it - I put a video cam­era on it, crashed it five or six times down Mary­bank and gig­gled the whole way down.’’

Hooked on his new hobby, Halsey built 15 trikes in the first three months. Even to­day, if he isn’t rid­ing, he is build­ing.

These days, he is the sec­on­dold­est drift triker in New Zealand and a fa­mil­iar sight around the streets of Richmond, Christ­mas pa­rades or slid­ing down the next big slop­ing road gra­di­ent.

A found­ing mem­ber of the In­sane Drift Trik­ers in 2014, Halsey and his mates, or ‘‘nut­bars’’ as he refers to them, pride them­selves on ‘‘hav­ing fun smash­ing around the Nel­son and Tas­man hills and hills of New Zealand’’.

While health is­sues have slowed him down a lit­tle in re­cent months, Halsey said the thrill of get­ting side­ways on a bike is al­ways in­vig­o­rat­ing.

‘‘I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t party like I used to – this is my kick and when I’m on one of these things I’m a 17-year-old again.’’

He said the network of drift trik­ers around the coun­try and fur­ther afield has af­forded him a broad so­cial cir­cle and the chance to test the dif­fer­ent ter­rain.

‘‘The Dunedin guys are just le­gends. The fur­ther south you go the more friendly peo­ple are, I find. I went down there, bashed into a bar­rier, smashed the back axle and put a dent in the back pierced my kid­ney and peed blood for two weeks - it was still the best week­end I’ve ever had.’’

Halsey said shoes are a ma­jor ca­su­alty of his down­hill ex­cur­sions, while hav­ing a good sup­plier of PVC pipe to go over the wheels has made life eas­ier for cop­ing with the wear and tear drift trik­ing brings.

‘‘It’s like cur­rency for us,’’ he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.face­book.com/ in­sanetrike­life/.

TIM O’CON­NELL

Paul ‘‘Chop­per’’ Halsey says rid­ing his elec­tric drift trikes makes him feel 30 years younger.

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