Mowing Down the Competition: It’s Lawn Mower Racing

Lawn mower racing is a zany sport that gives adventure seekers with a “need for speed” a friendly and cost-effective motor sport to have some fun with during a season that runs February-September.

There are hundreds of yearly races held by local clubs and by the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association mostly held on tracks measuring one-tenth of a mile and typically dirt or clay. For competitors in these races, it’s all about getting down and actually dirty, and making the DIY modifications on horsepower that can make the difference in the outcome of a race.

Competitors can ride any type of self-propelled rotary or reel-style riding lawn mower as long as it was originally designed and sold to mow lawns, and it must remain suitable for lawn cutting. For the sake of safety, blades are removed from racing mowers, but riders can tinker with the engine and transmission and make their own modifications.

Racers must use lawn mower tires, but can install stronger ATV wheels, and most swap in bigger brakes as well. Every mower entered in a USLMRA event is subject to a technical inspection, and non-stock mowers must be equipped with an automatic throttle-closing device. Fuel must be pump gas, and all mowers need to have an engine safety cut-off switch.

Drivers in these mower racing events must wear a safety helmet, long pants, gloves and proper shoes when on the track. Drivers under age 18 can only compete with parental permission.

The preference for lawnmower brand is left up to the rider, but most people simply modify a mower they already have rather than buying one specifically to race with. This seems to add to the challenge of making creative modifications, and top speeds depend on the time, effort, and skill the builders put into their mower.

The next event in the STA-BIL Series Lawn Mower Racing is scheduled for July 25-26 at the Pontiac Route 66 Speedway in Pontiac, Illinois.

Seeing the speed these machines can bring to the racecourse, one assumes that these racers might also make short work of their own home lawn maintenance.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons