Like Glyndbourne and Goodwood, thrashing race-prepared lawn mowers throughout the night has become an established Sussex institution.
But while the BLMRA’s 12 Hour Race taking place on Saturday August 8 involves lots of fast and furious racing like its motorsport counterpart, its eccentricity perhaps owes more to Worthing’s Birdman: speeds approaching 50 mph and absolutely no suspension apart from some seat padding means this is no stroll in the park!
Once again the venue is Five Oaks, near Billingshurst in West Sussex RH14 9AE, just off the A29. Qualifying, which is open to the public, starts at 3.45pm, and the race commences at 8pm.
The event is being supported by The Winner Group of companies, who offer a national service for the hire of event, plant, equipment, tools and aerial platforms.
The event is truly international and we have drivers this year from Belgium, Egypt, France, Luxembourg and South Africa.
The 37 teams of three drivers line up in a traditional Le Mans grid formation with the drivers running to their machines forthe start.
The pace remains unrelenting for the full 12 hours and it’s not unknown for the first three mowers to be on the same lap when the chequered flag drops. This is a true test of human endurance and mechanical reliability.
As darkness descends, the race takes on a totally different atmosphere as the pit lane becomes a sea of light and the night is punctuated by mower headlamps streaking past.
2013’s distance record of 348 miles still stands, so the leading teams will be keen to raise the benchmark still further, with the weather playing a key role.
Once again, the £6 entry fee to the race (children and parking are free) raises money for good causes and once again our chosen charity is the local Ingfield Manor School for children with cerebral palsy.
There will be full trackside catering and race commentary throughout, or you can listen in on Radio Le Mow on 87.7 FM.
With the previous victorious team members back to defend their crown, old scores to settle and new faces on the block, the challenge is now on for the greatest event of the year. The BLMRA 12 Hour Lawn Mower Race is GO!!!
Report and picture contributed by The British Lawnmower Racing Association.