Boss is back to mow down other competitors

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013
the boss
DEBBIE JAMIESON/FAIRFAX NZ
TOP GEAR: Lake Hayes’ own ‘‘Stig’’ gets in some practice rounds on The Boss, making its return to the Lakes Hayes A&P Show.

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The Boss is returning to the Lakes Hayes A & P Show and this year he's bringing a friend - the Stig.

Organisers of the show will reinstate the now infamous lawnmower race as a key feature in the 99th show in January after a two-year hiatus.

However, they were not planning to bring back the biffo, race organiser Joe Bagrie said.

"We think people are probably mature enough to accept its a family outing and have fun."

The Boss secured international headlines for the show in 2011 when a ride-on rumble erupted.

Wanaka man Willy Boyd threw punches at landscaping contractor Simon Hunt, of Queenstown, after he shunted Mr Boyd's mower in the larger, modified "Boss 18".

A subdued version of the race ran a year later but was knocked off the programme the following two years as organisers considered what to do with it.

Now, with only a year until the 100th anniversary of the popular Southland Times-sponsored summer event, it was decided it should return and go big.

The first step was to secure the return of the Boss, sold on Trade Me months after the big race.

Fortunately, the purchaser did not front to collect the machine and the money was donated to the society.

Stihl shop owner Mark McClellan agreed to bring the Boss out of retirement and has gone further, sponsoring the race and putting up about $500 in prizes.

To complete the racing atmosphere, it will be driven by the anonymous Stig, and local motor racing commentator Stuart McLean will be bringing his skills to the commentary box outside the pavilion.

As long as he doesn't forget his teeth, committee member Roger Tomkins commented.

Already there are some rumoured high-profile entrants so competitors are encouraged to get registered soon.

Motorised mowers will be restricted to 60-inch working decks but those lighter on their feet can enter a handmower race, with entries already being promised by rugby clubs in the region, the rowing club and runner Chris Dagg.

Next year the group are thinking about including a steam mower category.

"We set aside four hours for that race," Mr Tomkins said.

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