Mowers battle for supremacy

Lawn mower racing in Lepperton.
Lawn mower racing in Lepperton.

The humble ride-on lawn mower took on a new persona in Lepperton at the weekend - that of the rowdy racing car.

Grinning spectators were splattered with mud as mowers roared around a makeshift race track as part of a fundraiser for Lepperton School on Saturday.

Dubbed by its devotees "the cheapest form of motorsport", lawn mower racing involves competitors racing modified lawn mowers, usually of the ride-on or self-propelled variety.

"It's good fun," organiser Brian Mulder of Lepperton said.

Mud-coated after his race in the class 3 category, Mr Mulder said the sport was similar to drifting on tar seal, except harder. "Just keeping control of it is the challenge."

The competitors are governed by rules such as having a lawn mower engine, a recognisable lawn mower bonnet and no cutter blades but everything else about the machines was highly modified, he said.

Class 1 is a mower up to 28 cubic inches, class 2 between 28 and 32 inches and class 3 anything over 32 cubic inches.

President of the New Zealand Lawn Mower Racing Association, Brian Hogg of Paraparaumu, raced in class 2. "Fast enough for an old bugger like me."

He said the lawn mowers could get up to 60kmh.

Mr Hogg, a "petrol head from way back", said lawn mower racing was a great, cheap way to get into motorsports.

Mckaela Woodward, 7, from Paraparaumu had convinced her grandad, Vaughan Heberley, to bring her along to the event which she loved watching. "It's loud," she smiled.

Lyn Dodunski said the racing looked like fun. "I think they're lovely, I'd like to have a go."

Organiser Kat McNab said the event had exceeded their expectations. "It's bigger than last year so we're absolutely stoked."

Taranaki Daily News