Do you have a need for speed, but don’t want to use the family cars to participate in local amateur auto races? Well, maybe you have the
alternative vehicle tucked away in the corner of your garage.
I’m referring to your riding lawn mower, the machine you use to cut your grass or maybe remove snow from driveways and backyard patios. You probably are not aware that lawn mower racing has become a viable motorsport.
Believe it or not, there is a legitimate, official race sanctioning association called the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA). Created in 1992, the association sponsors the STA-BIL Lawn Racing Series and includes local chapters and affiliated clubs all across the country.
U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association sponsors races at fairs, festivals, car shows, charity or non-profit events hosted by such service clubs as Kiwanis and Lions. The races take place on city supported tracks and commercial venues as well as dedicated lawn mower racing tracks.
USLMRA racers are awarded points at each of the STA-BIL Lawn & Garden Mower Racing Series Race and local chapters and affiliated clubs actually name local champions each year. Participants are divided into groups based on the horsepower and other modifications made to stock lawn mowers. Classes range from super-stock to super-modified. Super-stock mowers are “straight off the factory floor.” All kinds of modifications are permitted on the super-modified variety including removal of the governor and alterations to the drivetrain and engine. Mowers in racing events have reached speeds of as high as 60 mph. Because of speeds like this, kill switches must be included and tethered to the driver during a race.
Safety is a major priority for the association. Participants are required to make certain modifications to their mowers to make them racing fit. The association provides technical assistance to help you modify your machine.
Required changes include removal of blades and installed and enabled automatic shut-off (kill) switches. Stock safety guards may be used, but they must be in good working order.
Association officials will inspect the lawn mower prior to each race.
Riders are also expected to wear protective clothing, neck brace and a helmet.
Racers are permitted to use a lawn mower that was originally designed and sold to mow lawns and it must remain suitable for lawn cutting. Racers can tinker with the engine and transmission, but must use an engine made for a mower.
The association also sponsors a U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Hall of Fame & Museum. Established in 2009, the Hall honors lawn mower racers who have competed in the sport. The Hall of Fame and museum are located in Marion, Ohio.
USLMRA notes that lawn mower racing is now taking place all over the world and started in the United Kingdom in 1973.
The 2015 racing series started in March and runs through August. Races have been or will be hosted in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, and Alabama.
International Lawn Mower Racing Groups include:
· British Lawn Mower Racing Association
· Northwest (England) Lawn Mower Racing Association
· Western Ontario (Canada) Outlaws
· Southwestern Ontario Lawn Tractor Racing Association
· Lawn Mower Racing Club of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia, Canada)
· Fielding (New Zealand) Lawnmower Racing Club Inc.
· Luxembourg Lawnmower Racing Association
· Mini Tractors (Czech Republic)