I've been wanting to show you some lawnmower racing for a couple of years now, but had to wait until last month until I saw any action. It's been a featured event at the Headington and Stockley Steam Rally previously and it returned there this year, so at last I was able to capture a few snippets on camera :)
Unfortunately my favourite racing class wasn't featured this year: where the competitors run behind their machines. I'd particularly wanted to show you that one but I understand from the helpful British Lawnmower Racing Association (BLMRA) leaflet given out at the time that this class isn't so popular anymore, despite it being the original form of the sport.
Instead we were treated to races in classes 2, 3 and 4: all variations on the type of seated lawnmower available. The above clip shows part of a class 2 race which is for cylinder mowers. It turns out that lawnmower racing has a competitive league and everything, and the races we watched were championship ones. There's a 12 date race calendar which starts in May and the season ends in October. There's a British championship, plus a World one, a British Grand Prix and a 12 hour endurance race.
It all started in the UK in 1973 at a pub in West Sussex and as NAH observed when we were watching, it must be about the cheapest form of motorsport available. This is because no modification of the engine is allowed and the sport isn't commercialised. It also means that the skill of the driver (or athletic ability of the runner!) determines who's best in this sport.
You can find out loads more on the BLMRA website, so who knows? There may be an event near you sometime - it's such a lot of fun to watch. For readers from across the pond, there's also an American Association, whose website can be found here.
I wonder if I should unleash NAH's competitive streak and The Beast?