It started out in 1949 as The Apex Soap Box Derby. In 2017 it would return as the Castlemaine Billy Cart Challenge.
When our goons in the Victorian town of Castlemaine got wind of the challenge, they got romanticising. Naturally, nearly everyone had great ideas straight off the bat. Glorious ideas. And judging by experience, it was surely destined to remain just an idea.
Not so! Some couldn’t let it go and experienced interrupted sleep and work computer distraction. A handful of motivated TGBC dreamers began meeting up, researching the science, considering designs, sketching unreadable abstract doodles on napkins and discussing how none of us knew how to do any of the work. But there was passion.
Word got out and a local mechanic jumped on board to give the boys a hand. From that point on, a miraculous beast made of metal and rubber began to take shape. A scrapped wheelbarrow, four-wheeler motorbike, low-rider bicycle, pee-wee motorbike, ride-on mower, a racing seat and harness and a bunch of salvaged metal went into the Rat Rod styled creation soon known as Tough Guy Billy Cart. Boring, yes, but when they couldn’t decide between ‘To Thrill a Mocking Hill’, ‘Cormac McCarty’, or plain old ‘On The Road’, their indecision eventually lead to late panic on registration day that forced their hand.
It felt like the entire town was out on race day. It was bluebird skies with a vibrant community buzz. A handful of brave men and boys took turns strapping into Tough Guy Billy Cart and committing to epic time trial runs down Monument Hill. Our boys were proud of their efforts and to be part of such an excellent event raising money for local suicide prevention network, ELM. The cart came up a treat and turned plenty of heads, even securing a front page in the local rag.
Alex "Wash" Playsted (Castlemaine Chapter)