BLM - Hayter Racing Mower
By 1976 there were races at four or five different villages in Surrey and Sussex and it´s from these countries that the majority of competitors still come. But clubs dedicated to racing lawn mowers have, over the years sprung up all over the country, namely at the Ross´s Arms, Astley, Manchester. Along with the setting up of National Championships to cater for these different groups, 1978 saw the arrival of enthusiastically adopted ideas in this phenomenally successful sport. The now annual 12 hour race held at Wisborough Green.
The race started at 10 a.m. on the Saturday closest to Mid summers day and ended 12 hours later at 10 a.m. on the Sunday morning. With a Le Mans type start the race attracted 47 entries that first year, 8 of them being class 1 (run behind). After a night of thrills and spills (none too serious apart from the unfortunate incident when a run away machine ran into, and demolished the canvas surrounding the ladies lavatory, (the lady who sped screaming like a banshee into the night has to this day never identified herself.) The winner turned out to be Sterling Moss. Derek Bell and Tony Hazlewood. Later in 1980, Derek Bell wrote himself into the Guinness Book of Records with his 276 miles being the greatest distance ever covered in a lawn mower race.
Apart from the 12 hour race, the other big event on the national race calendar is the two day World Championships held at Wisborough Green. This two days of racing has attracted entries from as far as Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong entry captured the superb marble trophy for class 3 mowers in 1980.
Now we have our own Lawn Mower Racing Association here in the North West, created to fill the same gap as the B.L.M.R.A. a cheap form of motor sport. The N.W.L.M.R.A. holds it´s race meetings at charity events up and down the North West. Racing under the similar to the B.L.M.R.A. the North West Association has taken the charity events scene by storm, providing splendid advertisement for it´s commercial members as well as raise money for the charity involved and providing good sport for it´s members.
All mowers themselves are self propelled i.e. they must have engines which move along and must all have been originally designed, manufactured and sold commercially to mow lawns. By lawns we mean domestic lawns and not the steppes of Russia, the Canadian prairies or huge golf courses. Mower racing could be the answer to many more would be motor sport enthusiasts who have been put off by the horrendous cost. We are not saying it is a perfect substitute, but, having once sat behind a screaming, bucking and almost out of control lawn mower at speeds of up to 35 m.p.h. while in close contact with about a dozen similar machines roaring around a bumpy track in a stubble field, you will have to admit it is an awfully good alternative.