An­i­mal rides to vic­tory for kids

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice - By KIRI GILLE­SPIE

There were sev­eral stars of this year’s

O¯ moko­roa lawn mow­ing champs, but only one racer cap­tured the hearts and imag­i­na­tions of the event’s youngest spec­ta­tors.

An­i­mal, from The Mup­pets fame, show­cased ag­gres­sive rac­ing skills at Sun­day’s O¯ moko­roa

No1 School Lawn Mower Rac­ing Gala. While An­i­mal rode down the fence line giv­ing high-fives to the crowds of chil­dren, fel­low racer Cookie Mon­ster took to the track.

Barry Dawe, the man in­side the Cookie Mon­ster hel­met, said af­ter­wards the Mup­pet heads were part of in­ject­ing more fun into the sport.

“Ev­ery­one started tak­ing rac­ing far too se­ri­ously and I thought I’d try to lighten up the mood,” he said.

“It’s all about the fun. The com­pe­ti­tion is sec­ondary.”

Dawe is sec­re­tary of Bay of Plenty Lawn Mower Rac­ing and has been rac­ing for 10 years. With no sus­pen­sion in the mower, rac­ing was like rid­ing a buck­ing bronco, he said.

“It’s hard work. I guess you could call it low-cost mo­tor­sport. And it’s a hell of a laugh.”

Mike Evans, the man who brought An­i­mal to the track, echoed Dawe’s sen­ti­ment.

“It’s all about the fun. If you win, you win. If you don’t, keep try­ing.”

Evans is from Cam­bridge but said the O¯ moko­roa race was the big event of the year for him.

The day was also the school’s big fundraiser of the year, with live en­ter­tain­ment, fire brigade demon­stra­tions, stalls, rides and food trucks.

Tau­ranga mum Re­becca Aldrige said the event was a per­fect fam­ily day out and it was good to be able to sup­port the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“It’s great. Our guys love watch­ing the rac­ing. They have their favourites.”

Among those favourites, An­i­mal was num­ber one.

Mike Evans, rac­ing as An­i­mal, said tak­ing part was “all about the fun”.

Kay­luim Sum­mer, rac­ing as Su­per Mario.

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