Spectacle of mower racing is a cut above the norm
LAWN mowing has never been so adrenaline fuelled – even though not one blade of grass was cut.
The British Lawn Mower Racing Association's held their latest championship races at the 400m circuit at Blake House Craft Centre in Braintree on Saturday.
It was the seventh time the venue in Blake Hall has hosted the championship.
The sport can trace its roots back to 1973, when Jim Gavin, disillusioned with the increasing costs of motorsports, created a cheap form of racing.
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There had to be no sponsorship, no commercialism, no cash prizes and no modifying of engines.
The sports is attracting an increasing number of competitors – and spectators.
Emma Timberlake, 23, from Grays, is the only female racer in her class. Her father, Paul, helps her maintain her class-four machine.
She said: "I've come from a history of motor racing in our family, but it got too expensive so we looked at cheap motor sports and started racing lawn mowers.
"Last year we built two new machines. It's quite difficult to get everything right, It takes 250 hours alone to build a machine.
"It's a male-dominated sport – I'm the only female in the group four races. But I love it, I wouldn't change anything about it – I especially like the bumpier tracks.
"The men give me stick but I give just as much back – It's just a great atmosphere."
The race calendar runs from May to October, incorporating sprint-race weekends, the British and World Championships, the British Grand Prix and the famous 12-hour endurance race.
Dan Jones, from Sussex, who races in the class 3 races, said: "It's just a cheap way of motor racing – machines can cost between £1,000 and £1,200 and for £30 of fuel you can go racing each weekend."
Trevor Taylor, 60, and his wife Sally, 63, from Basildon, were among the spectators.
Sally said: "It's the first time we've been. We are making a point of going round the country to see unusual events – we've been cheese rolling in Gloucester and the Severn Bore. In our retirement we don't want to sit back – we want to be going out and doing something."
Ryyannon Adams, of Braintree, who was with her three-year-old son Ewan and her friend Carrie Goodwin, said: "It's the first time we've been and it seems really fun – the boys like the noise and the racing. The racers really go for it."