(REUTERS – 7TH MAY) The south of England may be gripped in drought, but dry weather was not evident on Saturday May 5 as the 2012 Lawn Mower racing season got to a muddy start in Billinghurst, West Sussex, as weeks of heavy rain drenched fields making driving conditions particularly challenging for competitors of the start of this years grass roots motorsport challenge.
The Ferraris or McLarens of this sport have names more often associated by the layman with garden centres: Atco, Webb or Westwood.
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.
For obvious safety reasons all the blades are removed for racing mowers.
The British Lawn Mower Racing Association has three categories, or classes of racing:
Group 2 – They look like a traditional lawnmower with seat attached
Group 3 – Those that look like a buggy
Group 4 – These look like lawn tractors
At each meeting the Championship race lasts between 10 and 15 laps and points are awarded for finishing position. A maximum of 25 points are awarded for a win.
From the outset the mud proved the main challenge for the racers and was a particular challenge if you approached a corner in a group vying for position as traction proved difficult. As the mowers churned up the mud the ‘racing line’ altered on every lap making the circuit unpredictable.
Competition is fierce in all three categories with winners looking to claim bragging rights as British Lawn Mower champions at the end of the season in September.
Battling it for top honours in Group 3 saw Dean Fuller (No 43 -) triumphant whilst in Group 4 Paul Lovettcut, or rather slid his way to victory.
The Grand Prix season is set to continue on the weekend of June 23/24.