Murray Vuletich has a problem.
Converting an old ride on lawnmower into a trolley for the upcoming Great Gulf News Trolley Derby seemed like a great idea. The steering mechanism is excellent and he’s replaced the original front tyres with slicker ones that are more suited to racing down the mainstreet of Oneroa than cutting kikuyu on a steep island property.
But the catch with his crafty plan is something many of us struggle with. It’s overweight.
Murray has equipped himself with a set of scales to keep an eye on the weight of the steel frame for the trolley.
“It’s too heavy, I can’t get it light enough,” the co-owner of I-Mech Mowers and Chainsaws tells Gulf News on a visit to his Tahi Road workshop. “Unless we can lose 10 or 15 kilograms, I don’t know what we can do.”
Murray has easily beaten the cut-off point for registering for the trolley derby on Monday 2 August – but entering is one thing, having a viable race-machine is another. And having put three days of work into the trolley, Murray says he now thinks it would have been easier to start from scratch.
However, Murray says the project is a work-in-progress and he is not giving up just yet.
“I’ll probably end up cutting the whole back off and making a new back out of furniture steel.”
An old bike of his daughter’s sits next to the trolley base, ready for its tyres to be transplanted for a new life on the racing circuit.
For Murray, the cutting and welding all in the name of modification is somewhat familiar territory – “I used to race speedway back in the day”, he says.
Undeterred by the challenges between now and race day, he plans for the trolley to be at the starting line for several races including the open trolley and business open categories. He would also like to make it available for the teachers and principals race.
The Great Gulf News Trolley Derby takes place on Sunday 12 September. The deadline for entries is Monday 2 August.• Erin Johnson