The boys from Mangrove Mountain show the kids how to go billy cart racing


THE Mangrove Mountain Muscle Car Club has always been active in its local community, including displaying members’ cars at the annual Mangrove Mountain & Districts County Fair held in the NSW Central Coast hinterland each October. For 2015, the members stepped it up a notch with the inaugural Mountain Mayhem Billy Cart Derby which attracted a stellar array of innovative shed-built specials driven by young and old alike.

The main man behind the Derby was MMMCC founder and well-known drag racer Stephen Peruch, who conceived and steered the idea through a suffocating maze of legal, insurance, eligibility and road-closure issues. The Australian National Street Machine Association came on board as the principal sponsor by providing public liability insurance for the event. Rod Martin Cycles donated the trophies.

Racing was conducted down a hill adjacent to the fairgrounds, drawing an enthusiastic crowd. Competitors included four-year-old Jasper Wilson (with his old man Leif riding shotgun) and six-year-old Matthew May riding solo, together with many father-and-son teams sharing carts through qualifying, eliminations and finals. Zach Gallagher took home the Junior and Overall trophies, while hot rodder Lee Holt was the quickest of the big kids in his scale-model ’31.

The Derby was the hit of the Country Fair and attracted lots of local media interest. Best of all, it gave the next generation a taste of car building and competition, which is kinda the whole idea. The course was lined all morning with kids giving their folks plenty of wistful looks about next year’s event, when numbers are expected to grow dramatically.

Billykarts _6812Justin Wood is planning something with a lower centre of gravity for next year’s event, after a couple of big loses

Billykarts _6816Jayden Holt gives the royal wave in his flathead-powered ’31 coupe, inspired by father Lee’s blown big-block ’31 street rod

Billykarts _6823Sean Peruch designed and built ‘Coles Express’ under the guidance of his father Stephen. It ran a close second in the Junior final

Billykarts _6835Six-year-old Matthew May showed great courage and driver control as the youngest solo competitor

Billykarts _6846Adam Peruch (Sean’s twin brother) took a more traditional approach with his T bucket, including sourcing parts and all cutting and welding

Billykarts _7113Leif Wilson and son Jasper weren’t the fastest duo out there, but you could hear the young bloke squealing the whole length of the course!

Billykarts _6883Grahame Stapleton shared a scaled-down copy of the MMMCC’s famous ‘Aluminator’ HAMBster with his father Neil

Billykarts _6970Nick Altrum at speed on Gallagher Racing’s back-up cart

Billykarts _7045Harry Meggs and Zach Gallagher on the start line during qualifying

Billykarts _7177Holt family truckster in the pits

Billykarts _7183With much cheating happening with push starts during qualifying, the competitors voted for a roll start in the finals. A starting ramp will be added next year

Billykarts _7189The Peruch brothers get their race faces on in the staging lanes

Billykarts _7214Sean Peruch is too quick for brother Adam in the second Junior semi-final

Billykarts _7229Rod Martin is usually seen cruising around Gosford in his flamed ’66 Impala but when it comes to racing, he goes for this cool ’34 roadster

Billykarts _7236Neil Stapleton tries out the mini-Aluminator for size but struggled for top speed on the day after a late wheel change

Billykarts _7269Harry Meggs at speed in the beautifully-crafted entry from the Peats Ridge Scout Group, built under the guidance of his dad Robert Meggs

Billykarts _7281Junior final was a close-run affair between Sean Peruch and Zach Gallagher

Billykarts _7324Fastest on the day was Zach Gallagher. The cart was bought at a swap meet but then largely rebuilt by his dad David

Billykarts _7378Club members’ cars on display included Phil Pratt’s 11sec Fairmont, Dave and Jodie Gallagher’s Thunderbird and Dave McNamara’s Valiant racer at rear

Billykarts _7384Justin Wood’s ‘Ironhorse’ Sportster, complete with leather saddle