This summer, lawn mower racing in the USA will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with Indiana’s Twelve Mile 500. Both the USLMRA and ARMA host events all across the country, while the BLMRA has been organizing races in the UK since 1973. This sport was born out of a love of pure racing and organizers have made a conscious effort to keep it uncorrupted by commercialism. As a result, there are no cash prizes for podium finishers. According to the USLMRA, “If any money is made available to racers, it is shared equally among every racer for gas money and to help with their expenses.” Although the major racing associations have sponsorship in order to host events, the participants battle for little more than trophies and bragging rights. Not that anybody minds because that’s sufficient impetus for true racers anyway. They just want to go fast and cross the finish line first. It doesn’t matter if they’re doing it in a car, kart or tractor. Herein lies the beauty of lawn mower racing: its simplicity.
Organizers’ detailed rulebooks include a code of conduct, mandatory safety equipment and strict class regulation, including details on how a mower can be modified. Any unapproved adjustments result in immediate disqualification. As a result, each win is based upon the drivers’ skills and tenacity, instead of whose motor was the most powerful. No bumping is allowed so there’s no chance of the carnage often associated with major auto racing. Octane Academy 2012 featured a contestant in Camp Foust who was a seasoned lawn mower racer. So never know where the kids racing lawn mowers today will end up. Since its simple beginnings, this sport has grown in popularity yet organisers have successfully kept it humble. Check out the USLMRA events calendar for your own opportunity to see a race, as the BLMRA already has already publicised their 2013 schedule. Better yet, you can start your own team since all you need is a riding mower and a thirst for victory. Oh, and a couple buddies to act as your pit crew. Ready, set, go!