Billycarts add new life to Port Kembla

The safety barriers were in place, the starting ramps ready to drop and dozens of competitors primed to race.

It was 8am Saturday and Port Kembla was officially back in the billycarting business.

Thousands of spectators turned out to watch the carts make their spectacular return to Wentworth Street 25 years after the last competitor whizzed across the finish line.

More than 80 competitors rolled off the starting blocks, racing against the clock in two-man heats across five different cart categories, including junior, open, industrial, and weird and wacky.

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For some, the event marked their first foray into billycart racing, for others it was the return of a much-loved pastime.

Port Kembla grandmother Rosa Kyriazopoulos watched her son, Stavros, compete in the annual billycart races as a 10-year-old in 1984.

On Saturday she again watched him roll down Wentworth Street, this time competing alongside his extended family.

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"We've got three generations here today, two that are competing," she said.

"They all done so well and they're having such a great time."

Mrs Kyriazopoulos said it was good to see what the event was doing for town morale.

"There's more people here today than there has been in 25 years," she said.

Red Point Artists Association member and event organiser Dulcie Dal Molin agreed spectator numbers were encouraging.

"It's quite unbelievable," she said.

"It takes me back 25 years; this is how Port Kembla was back in the day."

Mrs Dal Molin confirmed the Red Point Artists had secured development approval from Wollongong City Council to run the event for five years.

She said the group had every intention of running a 2013 derby, given the success of Saturday's event.

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