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Published: 2004-01-20 00:00:00

Taupo Mayor Clayton Stent and Environment Waikato Councillor Laurie Burdett will be watching races on some unusual vehicles this week.

Funworks will test their motorised ‘loo-racers’ on the reserve at Two Mile Bay boat ramp on Thursday, January 22 in preparation for Environment Waikato’s Great E-scape in March – a major adventure through the Region.

The Great E-scape is being organised by Environment Waikato with support from Taupo, South Waikato, Waipa and Hamilton City councils and will launch the 10-day Festival of the Environment. Riding a loo-racer is just one of four tasks teams will have to complete when the challenge kicks off in Taupo.

The reserve will be a venue for 20 teams of four participating in the two-day environmental adventure through the Waikato. Teams will have a range of environmentally focused tasks to complete as they make their way to the finale in Hamilton.

The 2004 Festival of the Environment runs from March 12 to 21, with events throughout the Region to encourage people to experience their environment.

Thursday's test by Funworks is to ensure that the loo-racers won't encounter any problems negotiating the proposed circuit to the sewage pump station outside the toilet block.

Festival co-ordinator Kim Macrae Jonson said that the Taupo challenges would highlight stormwater, rubbish and boat sewage issues.

“Although the challenges are fun they’ve been carefully developed to help participants learn more about environmental issues in the Waikato Region and the simple things they can do in their daily lives to help improve our environment.

“We hope participants will have an increased awareness that whatever goes down a stormwater drain goes untreated into Lake Taupo and the Waikato River, and an enhanced sense of personal responsibility for ensuring that rubbish and boat sewage doesn't get dumped in Lake Taupo.”

She said Environment Waikato was keen to have more participants in the event from the Taupo area. Prospective adventurers can call Environment Waikato's Freephone 0800 800 401.