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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 01:07 GMT 02:07 UK
Dutch pacemakers win buggy race
Scootmobile in Zandvoort race (Photo: Robin Utrecht/AFP/Getty Images)
Demand for the buggies is high in the Netherlands
You may have heard of silver surfers - well, how about old boy racers?

Dozens of old age pensioners have raced their battery-powered buggies round obstacles on the Dutch Formula One track at Zandvoort.

The scootmobile teams, from 13 nursing homes in the Netherlands, reached top speeds of 12km (7.5 miles) per hour.

The contest was held to promote mobility for the elderly and attract funding for scootmobiles, which are much in demand among pensioners.

A team of Rotterdam pensioners took the chequered flag after completing the 250-metre course of speed bumps, wooden ramps and plastic slalom cones, Reuters news agency reports.

Some contestants seemed to feel limited by the lack of horsepower at their disposal.

"I'm 88," said contestant Wilhelmus Souren. "In the end my battery was running out. It was very frustrating."

There are fears that Dutch city councils will withdraw subsidies for scootmobiles when they take over that responsibility from the central government in 2006.

Research shows one million elderly people feel isolated in the Netherlands and 200,000 are extremely lonely, with not even one visitor a month.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Iain Haddow
"The race was organised to promote greater mobility for the elderly"



SEE ALSO:
Pensioners' manifesto launched
10 Feb 04 |  UK Election 2005
Europe's ageing workforce
20 Jun 02 |  Europe


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