How the wonderful world of Formula Flymo makes the racing of ride on mowers a cost-effective – yet esoteric – motor sport
Imagine it’s a Sunday afternoon. With work on the horizon, the tail end of the weekend is a good excuse to catch up on the chores, or for watching Formula One racing. Some of us may prefer a trip to Belle Vue, Buxton, or Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield for some oval racing action. Instead of stock cars, bangers, or state-of-the-art F1 cars, there’s a form of motorsport which is a real daisy cutter. Enter Lawnmower Racing – the use of ride on mowers instead of beat-up Minis or stock cars.
The use of ride on mowers isn’t always the first thing you think of when you look at motorsport events. We at Redblade Mowers would like to see our products used on your lawn, but lawnmower racing has to be seen to be believed. Like all popular motorsports, there is a season with fixtures, championships, qualifying heats and a grand prix. There is also a national association, the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, and regional offshoots. But you wouldn’t see any these events on BBC, ITV, Channel Four, or Sky Sports. (Where’s World of Sport when you need it?)
The racing of ride on mowers began as a solution by motorsports enthusiasts, in need of less expensive vehicles. In 1973 at The Cricketers’ Arms, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, came the first formal lawn mower race. They could have called it Formula Flymo, but the manufacturers of Britain’s favourite hover mower wouldn’t have been too happy about the use of the trademark (and there could have been a rival competition known as the Qualcast 500).
In the Ride On Mowers racing world, their equivalent to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix is the Willington by Stow meeting. Taking place on, or around the third weekend of August, there are championship races, a monster race, and a run-behind mower race. There are also five lap sprint races. The Lincolnshire Echo likens the event to Hanna Barbera’s Wacky Races.
There’s a regional lawnmower racing association for our area, the North West of England. This was formed in 1982 and their website has a comprehensive list of results and races in and around our neck of the woods. Whether you think racing ride on mowers is an amusing pastime or a flagrant misuse of a gardening implement, you will be amazed. You could say it is grassroots racing at its best.
This YouTube clip below gives you a flavour of what to expect.