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Mud, sweat and gears in the British Grand Prix for Lawnmowers

posted 22 Oct 2012, 05:24 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 22 Oct 2012, 05:26 ]

Inclement weather and muddy condition failed to dampen the spirit of lawnmower racers who took part in Sunday's British Grand Prix for Lawnmower Racing, which marked the end of this year's racing season.

 BILLINGSHURST, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 21, 2012) (HUTC) -  Enthusiastic racers took to a muddy field in southeast England on Sunday (October 21) for the British Grand Prix for Lawnmower Racing, marking the end of this year's racing season.

Considered by many as one of Britain's favourite motor sports and surely one at the most grassroots level, the eccentric event is devoid of the big business sponsors that dominate Formula One.

However some argue it is every bit as exciting as the more famous and lucrative race, even in inclement weather.

"Personally I love it. The wetter the better, but yeah it's a skill to ride in the mud. It's not as fast, and obviously it's a lot harder to control the machine in the wet," said lawnmower racer Daniel Jones.

The format of the British Grand Prix is a series of sprint races for each of the three categories -- mowers with grass box at the front, sit-on buggy style and large tractor -- where drivers accumulate valuable points over a weekend of racing.

There are no team orders to be found here, and mowers race on an even 'grass playing field' in that the machines are only allowed minor modifications.

The race takes place across two fields in front of a pub where the circuit is split by a hedge, which is the narrowest part of the track. There are three different classes of mower racing, and in each category everyone was vying for the top bragging rights.

Racing conditions were difficult on Sunday with the ground sodden from several nights of rain. Only the most hardy of mower racers took up the challenge to compete.

Soon after the group races were underway, the track was turned into a circuit of thick and sticky mud, which only seemed to inspire those looking for glory in the final meet of the British Lawn Mower Racing season.

"Well, I've had rolls, I've had spills, a couple of minor incidents, but apart from that great fun. And I've won two races, but there were only two of us in it," laughed an unidentified lawnmower racer.

"I love the speed, you know, on a bumpy wet field. I just love everything about it. It's a thrill," said Jones, winner of group 3, the sit-on mower category.

Whilst rivalry proved fierce on the track, there was a striking atmosphere of camaraderie as everyone seemed to be pitting their wits against the muddy track rather than each other.

"It's competitive, but it's all good-natured and everybody gets on with everybody else, and basically it's just good fun, good healthy sport," said Ian Ratcliffe, winner of Group 2, the grass box mower category.

Richard Davies was the winner of Group 4, in which competitors rode the large tractor-style mowers.

The 2012 racing season has been riddled with bad weather, resulting in cancelled meetings or those abandoned during racing. Whilst the British stiff upper lip mentality is evident with this band of dedicated petrol heads, they are most definitely hoping the British weather will be a little kinder in 2013.


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