Star actress to signal start of 12 hour lawn mower race

Julie Walters arriving for the 2010 BAFTA television awards Photo: Ian West/PA Wire
Julie Walters arriving for the 2010 BAFTA television awards Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Star of stage and screen Julie Walters will drop the flag to signal the start of the world-renowned 12 Hour Lawn Mower Race on Saturday August 9.

The venue is once again Five Oaks, near Billingshurst in West Sussex RH14 9AE – just off the A29. Qualifying, which is open to the public, starts at 3.15pm, with the race commencing at 8pm.

Julie is a multiple BAFTA Award winner – recently receiving a BAFTA fellowship – and has twice been Academy Award nominated. Among her film credits are Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia and the Harry Potter series.

A statement from the organisers said: “If you think that ride-on mowers can’t offer much of a spectacle, think again! It’s slightly eccentric, admittedly, but the racing is guaranteed to be fast, fun and furious.

“The teams of three drivers (male and female) compete throughout the night at speeds approaching 50 mph – and without any form of suspension other than a padded seat, this is no stroll in the park!

“The mowers are lined up in a traditional Le Mans grid formation with the drivers running to their machines for the start. The pace is then 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 humanendurance 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.

“Last year’s 12 Hour saw a new distance record of 348 miles set, so the leading teams will be keen to challenge that figure, with the weather playing a key role.

“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.

“The event would not be possible without the generous donation of equipment by many companies including Link Scaffolding and Winner Plant Hire.

“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!!!”