For safety reasons, lawn mowers are designed to be on the slower side, used for the monotonous task of yard maintenance.
But if you remove the blades and swap the engine out for a motorbike’s, you have a racing machine that can fit in the back of your station wagon.
On the grounds of an unused cricket club in the small town of Greenbushes, in south west WA, hundreds of people have turned out to watch the peculiar sport of ride-on lawn mower racing.
‘A whole lot of fun’
Organisers Roger Sumner and Steve Dowling said what started out as four friends “having a crack” had turned into a popular motorsport event with about 20 entrants. “We’ve put on a free community event to try and give something back to the community and showcase the sport of mower racing, because a lot of people are interested,” Mr Sumner said.
“You pack a road bike motor into a light-framed mower and let it have it, it’s a whole lot of fun.”
Colourful cones mark out a circuit of tight corners, which competitors do four laps of, whipping up plenty of dust along the way — much to the enjoyment of the crowd.
The Greenbushes event had six different classes, which included ‘Class A 450cc’ and a ladies’ race.
WA’s fastest mower?
Andrew Manning, who won the Class A division, said he modified his mower in his shed after watching an event in Harvey. “It could go 100kmph given the chance,” he said.
“It’s potentially the fastest lawn mower in Western Australia.”
“Definitely got a passion for it now, it’s cool that it’s something I’ve built.”
Despite his success, Mr Manning said he still hated mowing the lawn.
Sport is back
Mr Dowling said Greenbushes used to be a sport-rich town but numbers had dwindled, leading to club closures.
“There’s not much going on as far as sport goes,” he said.
“So this is a sporting event to bring back sport to this town because this facility doesn’t get used otherwise.”
The Western Australian Mower Racing Association (WAMRA) was formed in 2016 to capitalise on growing interest in the sport.
It joins communities of mower racers in the rest of Australia and all over the world.
Fun aside, WAMRA acknowledges the sport can be dangerous, with its official rule book warning there is a risk of serious injury.
Mr Manning said he was hoping to travel to South Australia to compete in other races.
“The lawn mower fits in the back of my station wagon so me and a mate are going to cruise over there,” he said.