Suppose you need a sports activity that is different from the norm and maybe a little bit ridiculous or you’re just looking for another activity that you can use a lawn mower for aside from mowing your lawn. Have you tried, lawn mower racing? Yes, it’s a thing, and it is a lot of fun. People usually get into this sport for the purpose of entertainment and fun. It is an accessible and entertaining sport to watch or even participate in. However, the sport is not for entertainment purposes only, it is also a serious/professional sport too, and it is more engaging and interesting than you may think. Suppose you’re interested in knowing more about lawnmower racing or you haven’t heard about it before, this article will walk you through the brief history of lawnmower racing and all you need to know about it.
BRIEF HISTORY OF LAWN MOWER RACING
As the name implies, lawn mower racing is the sport of racing, using lawnmowers. It may sound bizarre, but it is very real and includes the racing of lawn mowers across a pre-defined course, similar to car racing. Although some races will require that you use a lawn mower with its standard factory parts, some other races will permit the racers to tamper with their lawn mowers in an attempt to re-adjust their speed for better performance. Just as far as the engine and the main chassis are the original ones from the lawnmower producer.
Although go-karts tend to use engines of lawn mowers, go-karting and lawn mower racing aren’t the same and shouldn’t be confused. To race a lawnmower, you’ll need both chassis and engine to be from standard models and for your lawnmower to move on very rough surfaces.
The first known record of lawn mower racing was the lawnmower grand Prix in 1968, in the UK. The lawn mower race was organized for a charity event by Ashton on Mersey cricket club. It was for a benefit for cricketer Ken Higgs. It was sponsored corporately and an 880-lawn race. Racing lawn mowers is mostly done in the UK. However, there are lawn mower race clubs and groups scattered around the world. BLMRA, which is the British lawn mower racing association, was created in the year 1973. It was made for people who wanted to participate in a motorsport that didn’t cost them as much as racing cars and other motorsports.
These races vary from the long-distance race(endurance) to short distance races(sprints). The BLMRA have been running a yearly, 12-hour endurance race since 1978. This lawn mowing competition is recognized internationally and attracts people from all over Europe and sometimes the USA too. Lawnmower racing has been recognized as a sport in the USA since 1970 with various kinds of racing competitions around the nation.
TYPES OF RACING LAWN MOWERS
There are several unique types of lawnmowers that are used for lawnmower races. Once your lawnmower is self-propelled, it doesn’t matter if it’s a push behind or ride-on mower, you can race with it. Some races do not have specific rules or restrictions on which lawnmower should be used and are quite casual, while others may have different classes, depending on the type of lawnmower. Generally, as far as your lawnmower has an engine and chassis, it can be raced somewhere. The main upgrade or adjustment that should be included, is the kill switch. This switch is essential and will shut down the lawn mower’s engine, in case the rider is in danger of getting thrown off and so on. This kill switch must be attached to the lawnmower and the rider. It is one of the safety precautions in the racing of lawnmowers.
The racing committee will have to inspect the lawnmowers, especially the ones that have high power, to ensure that the rider does not have the edge over the other riders. This helps to make sure that the game remains fair and there is no room for cheating. This process is called homologation.
CATEGORIES OF LAWN MOWER RACING
There are several types of lawnmowers, each with their unique capabilities. Lawnmowers like lawn tractors are quite different from walk/run behind mowers and cannot be compared to each other. These lawnmowers cannot race against each other because one of them will have the upper hand, and that will be an unfair race. Therefore, many lawnmower racing occasions tend to make use of about four regular classes with unique categories of mowers.
The first category is the lightest and smallest group of racing lawnmower is the run/walk behind mower. This category is for small walk-behind mowers that do not have seats. Most people who use these mowers usually have smaller lawns because they are easy to manoeuvre in small spaces.
The second group of mower for racing are the roller driven and towed seat lawnmowers. These lawnmowers are medium-sized and powered moderately. It has a seat behind it and an engine in the mower’s part. These lawnmowers can be quite unusual but notable enough to have been included in their own racing category.
The third group of lawn mowers for racing are the mowers with small rides and propulsion system that are wheel based. They are mostly used for bigger lawns but are also portable enough to be used at home and in confined spaces. They usually weigh less and are smaller than standard garden tractors, but they still propose a huge amount of power, this makes it a powerful and intense lawn mower for racing.
The last category is dedicated to the bigger sizes of lawn mowers, especially full lawn tractors. This includes any garden tractor that is ride-on and has a bonnet that is designed like that of a car, to house the engine. These tractors are mainly used for mowing huge and wide estate lawns or commercially. They are also great choices for lawn mower racing. They are powered the highest in comparison to other racing lawnmower categories and offer the highest intensity and speed.
LAWN MOWER BLADES AND SPEED
Generally, a regular lawnmower and a racing lawn mower travel at the same maximum speed. There isn’t much modifications that can be done to increase the speed of a lawn mower because the engine that a racing lawn mower uses must be a lawn mower engine. Most lawn mower races take place at a speed of about 6 to 8 miles an hour. This is barely fast but just enough to entertain and excite both the riders and audience in an intense race.
Under no circumstances are racing lawn mowers allowed to have blades. These blades can pose a danger to the rider and others. For your mower to be permitted to race, you need to take out its blades. However, you can leave the blade’s deck and even modify it to make sure that it is capable of holding your weight tightly and doesn’t shake when you’re racing.
Lawn mower racing occurs worldwide, although it isn’t very common, but it is known around the world. If you’re looking for a local lawn mower race to participate in or to watch, you can start by checking the USLMRA.
SAFETY GEAR IN LAWN MOWER RACING
Lawn mowers are not the fastest racing vehicles, but it is vital to make sure that you are dressed in the appropriate safety gear, all the time. You may be required to wear long sleeves, gloves, a helmet and even neck support plus long sleeves and pants to secure yourself. All these will help to protect you from getting injured during the race. It advisable that you take all safety precautions and adhere to the safety rules judiciously, for your own good. Lawn mower racing may lack speed, but it can still be quite dangerous, so you have to be very cautious as you have fun.
Remember that it is dangerous to have the blades of your mower still on and it is not permitted.
Racing of lawn mowers is actually complex and deep. It has rules and regulations, just like every other sport. It isn’t just an intense and serious sport but can also be very fun and get you to loosen up. This sport is particular about affordability. It was created to make sure that anyone interested in it can try without having to worry about extra expenses or costs. It is a welcoming sport that is very much affordable enough for anyone who may be interested in it, whether as a rider or part of the audience.
By now, you should understand the basics of what lawn mower racing entails. It is indeed a sports activity and has its rules like every other sports activity. As long as you have a lawn mower, especially one with its parts still intact from the original producer, and you remove the blades and meet up with the other terms and conditions of the race, you’re good to go.