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Apr 10

What Is Lawn Mower Racing?

Who says that a mower has to be used for practical purposes only? Now you can enjoy lawn mower racing. I have tried it myself and I can say that the thrill is great. This motorsport is a lot of fun for me as I have been using such machines for years as part of my professional gardening business in California. I am sure that you will love it too no matter how old you are or how much experience you have with these machines. Find out everything which you need to know about the sport.

The Lawn Mower

Lawn mower racing is cone with modified gas powered riding mowers. The main modification of the riding mower is the removal of the cutting blade. This is done to ensure the safety of the racers and of the spectators as well. The mowing deck stays in place, however. Typically, the racers also change the belts and pulleys of their machines in order to get a final drive ratio which is more suitable for racing. A tethered kill switch is integrated to the system in order to switch the engine off if you get bucked off.

The sport has developed greatly over the past decades, so now there are various racing classes. In some classes, you cannot modify the engine. In others, however, you are permitted to do so. You can improve your mower’s engine just like you would with the engine of a racing car. In some classes, the engines can get so powerful that you can reach a speed of as much as 40 mph on the track.

Lawn Mower Racing

The Race

The lawn mower races are similar to all other motorsport races. There is the track which is typically covered with dirt, but it can also be an asphalt one. The course is specifically set so that it poses challenges to the racers. There are both big and small turns and straight sections on the course. It all depends on the creativity of the organizers and on the level of difficulty they want to set. Typically, the track is flat, but there may be some hills to make the race even more exciting.

In order to race, you just need to sit on your lawn mower and drive it from the start to the finish line. Typically, all racers start together and the one who crosses the finish line first wins. Hence, it is not just like riding a mower at home. You have to watch out for the other races at all times.

Who Can Participate?

The really great thing about lawn mower racing is that it is open to all. Both men and women can participate irrespective of their age. Children can enjoy this motor sport as well. Typically, there are races for kids according to age group. Generally, children as young as 10 years of age are allowed to participate.

Performance and Safety

There are different racing classes, as mentioned earlier. In the low classes, the machines produce enough power to provide for speed between 6 and 8 mph. Racing with such lawn mower is a great option is novices and for kids as well. In the modified classes, a speed of as much as 40 mph can be reached on the track. In the factory experimental class, the maximum speed can be as high as 60 mph.

There are strict safety rules in lawn mower racing just like in any other motorsport. There are safety requirements which your mower must meet. You will have to adhere to the rules set by the organizers. The mandatory safety gear includes, helmet, gloves, long pants and a jacket or top with long sleeves and neck support.

Origin

The first official lawn mower race was held in the US in Twelve Mile, Indiana in 1963. The tradition is preserved to this day. The sport as we know it today was invented in 1973 in Sussex, England. Its inventors came up with the idea as an alternative to other motorsports which were and still are very expensive to participate in. They founded the British Lawn Mower Racing Association and devised the rules for mower modification and for racing in general. In 1978, the sport was independently started in Australia as well.

Events

The Twelve Mile 500 held in the eponymous town in Indiana is perhaps the most popular lawn mower racing event not only in the US but also in the world. Its course is 15 miles long and the participants are required to make 60 laps. Mowers which develop a speed of over 30 mph can qualify. Each crew consists of a driver, two mechanics and a lap judge. As you can see, things are pretty serious and the race resembles a classic grand prix to a great extent.

There is also the Sam Rogers U.S. All American Open held in Stevenson, Alabama. There are plenty of other national and local events in the US and in many other countries worldwide.

It is easy to get started with lawn mower racing. Use a manual for modifying your lawn mower and check the website of the national association to find a local racing club.

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