Gresford Billy Cart Derby sees mayor take a tumble

DUNGOG mayor Tracy Norman has downplayed her tumble at Gresford Billy Cart Derby, joking that her crash is proof she would "do anything for the win" when racing against Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen.

Councillor Norman was competing in a "pollie's race" at the Easter Saturday event when she crashed her cart and landed on her side.

"I'm battered and bruised and ruined my favourite shirt, but I didn't go to hospital," Cr Norman said.

"They checked me out because I had a pain in my side but it was all soft tissue - bruises and a few abrasions.

"I'm all good, just feeling a bit sad and sorry for myself today!"

Cr Norman said the crash occurred after she swerved to avoid hitting the hay bale barricades.

"I did a slick turn to the left and took it a bit fast," she said.

"I was worried about the spectators getting hurt so took one for the team instead.

"It's all a bit of fun. I'd do anything for the win for Dungog Shire!"

Derby coordinator of the past five years Graham Murphy said overall, the 20th annual event ran "brilliantly".

"It was an exceptional crowd - there were in excess of 5000 people watching," Mr Murphy said.

"It's probably one of the biggest main street events in the Hunter Valley.

"A lot of people came to the derby and ducked over to Dungog Rodeo - both communities benefited heavily.

"There's not that many events for billy carts and people will travel from all over NSW.

"Being a long weekend they can camp, they can travel and spend a few days here then go home."

Mr Murphy said about 60 drivers competed across the junior and senior categories.

Most of the carts were home made.

"I think this is unique," he said.

"I'm 65 and in the days when I was a kid everyone had a billy cart, but that's disappeared over time.

"This is back to basics, grassroots fun.

"You can cheer on your favourites, boo your non-favourites.

"It's simple, clean, easy fun and everyone can do it."

The event also included prizes for best dressed; readings and illustration workshops with children's author Katrina McKelvey and illustrator Kirrili Lonergan; dummy spitting and gumboot throwing competitions and pony pat lotto, where 100 squares are drawn on the ground and tickets sold to each square.

Whoever has the ticket to the square where the pony relieves themselves wins a prize.

"It's all rural fun - you wouldn't see that in Sydney."