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28 October 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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  Inside Out - South: Monday October 13, 2003


Mower racers
Burning rubber, cutting grass!

Inside Out presenter Chris Packham revved up to take part in the Mower Racing World Championships where he found there's nothing more exciting than the smell of petrol and fresh cut grass.

The British Lawnmower Racing Association was founded in 1973 by bunch of sporting enthusiasts bemoaning the increasing costs of mainstream motor sport.

After just two or three events in the first few years the association soon began runnng more than a dozen events each season.

Racing takes place between May and October, and includes the season-long national championships, the British Grand Prix, an annual 12 hour race and World Championships at the end of every year.

The world championships are held over two days and are based on a points system in a series of heats. And it was this event that Inside Out visited to get a taste of what lawnmower racing is all about.

Sean Jonas
Sean Jonas - Group Three World Champion

There are four categories

As in ordinary motor racing there are various classes of competition - from Group 1, which involves 'pushalong' mowers, to Group 4 - the heavyweight 10 horse power sit-on class.

Sean Jonas, a farm worker from Worthing, was a favourite in the 'Group 3s'… the fastest group.

The final GP3 race was all between Sean and one other competitor - "the man in black" - who was neck and neck on points with him.

Luckily Sean won the race - and is now world champion!

But not everyone can win

Christine Bunch, a mum of seven from Selsea, is a newcomer to the sport.

She was in group two, riding the Atco 8 bhp, and sadly didn't do as well as Sean.

She says she's good on the the straights but everyone overtakes her on the corners! So no gold medals for Christine this year.

Rocket Ron
Rocket Ron

Ronald Davis is known as Rocket Ron

Aged 72, retired telephone engineer Ron began taking part in the sport in his late 60s.

He is the Group 4 UK champion, but didn't hit top form at the world championships, riding his 10 horse power 'Westwood Gazelle'.

But it's the taking part that counts

Ron says keeping young is all about your frame of mind and heartily agreed when Chris Packham quoted Oscar Wilde, "You're only as old as the woman you feel."

So how did our man do?

Presenter Chris Packham entered in the Group 1s…the mowers you have to push.

His team won but didn't get the trophy. The reason? Over the two days the other team had accumulated more points.

Never mind - there's always next season!

See also ...

On the rest of the web
British Lawn Mower Racing Association

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