YEAR: 1962


It arrived in this country at the beginning of the 20th century as the next big thing. The driver sat right behind the horse's rump on a wide and short-shafted cart on bike wheels and they improved mile times by significant amounts like seconds for starters. But they were impractical for racing here because of their width especially on small tracks. Unruly or long striding racers could cause real problems and horses answering the call of nature could be embarrassing and uncomfortable for the driver!

The speed carts were soon confined to time trials and one was last seen when champion trotters When went against time in Christchurch in 1962. Forward driving seats remained popular however. Many believe a short rigged cart cost False Step and Cecil Devine the sensational 1961 inter Dominion Final. Even winning driver Doug Watts thought he had lost by half a length because of his long shafted cart and Devine was confident he had won in a much shorter one.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in Harnessed Dec 2015

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