British Lawnmower Museum

- Racing Lawnmower (30-60mph)

The modern sport of lawn mower racing has its origins in a meeting of enthusiastic beer drinkers at the Cricketers Arms, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, one evening in 1973. At the time, motor sport consultant Jim Gavin had just returned from a rally reconnaissance in the Sahara, and talk naturally turned to other forms of motor and motorcycle sport. The main point of discussion turned around the horrendously escalating costs involved. So a few beers later, minds began to explore alternative forms of motor sport with the main criteria competitive, lots of fun and above all cheap. But what could we race? Motorised bar-stools and wheel barrows were soon passed as being passé and so we were left with Lawn Mowers.

The first British Grand Prix meeting for lawn mowers ran at Wisborough Green in 1973 and attracted an entry of 35 drivers who drove mowers ranging from a 1923 Atco to a brand new 8 h.p. Wheel horse tractor. There were races for run behind mowers, towed seat mowers and the type you sit on top of. These formed the present day classification which are Class 1, run behind, Class 2, Towed Seat type, Class 3 , the sit on type,

Run behind mowers are the grass roots of the sport and their speed is governed merely by the ability of the perspiring runner to stay with the machine. They are particularly good to watch when the drivers try to swap without loosing speed or control of the mower in a Class 1 relay race. The Class 3 mowers tended to be the slowest, often doing only 10 m.p.h. but over the years with attention paid to gearing, they have become the fastest class, almost as fast and often more reliable as the class 2 type. Once the more usual roller of the seat itself has been lowered, the driver has much more control. The handlebars are lowered to match the seat and it´s a soul stirring sight to watch a full field of class 2 mowers, grass box to grass box, exhausts bellowing, powering round (reaching 35 m.p.h.) a tight circuit.

Over the years the sport grew rapidly. Upward of 100 enthusiasts had their own mowers, purely for racing, by the end of the 70´s the public became more interested when in 1975 Stirling Moss attracted by the club atmosphere and fun of racing, made hid first return to motor racing since his near fatal crash at Goodwood in 1962. Moss, driving with all of his old skill and with great enthusiasm for this new sport, won the British Grand Prix for lawn mowers in 1975 and again in 1976.

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