Lawn Mower World Championships 2022 Take Place In England

Wednesday, July 6th 2022, 6:19 am
By: CBS News

The Lawn Mower World Championships 2022 took place in a field in the rural village of Heddington in Wiltshire, southeast England on Friday.

Sadly, the weather was not so kind for the would-be Formula 1 racing drivers, as driving conditions were tricky, slippery and initially very bumpy - basically, not great for this 'grassroots' motorsport.

No Ferraris or McLarens found here, but various types of racing lawnmowers competing in different categories; the traditional lawnmower with a seat attached seen in Group 2, more buggy-like mowers competing in Group 3, and the 'luxury style', miniature tractors racing in Group 4.

Race organiser Ian Radcliff still wonders why people are keen to compete, since the sport started 50 years ago.

"There are enough crazy people out there who want to jump on a mower, tweak it up and go hurtling down the field during the summer months. And long may it last," he said.

Just as in more conventional motor racing, rivalries can be fierce, but there remains a strong sense of camaraderie as everyone is really pitting their wits against the muddy track rather than each other.

For obvious safety reasons, blades are removed, with all mowers competing on an even ‘playing field’ as the machines are only allowed minor modifications.

Compared to Formula 1, it's a lot cheaper for speed demons out there to become a world-class mower racer, costing only a few hundred pounds.

"It doesn't drive like anything you've ever driven before," said Group 2 winner Graham Tibbenham of a lawnmower.

"You've got to learn it from scratch. All the engines are the same, the equipment is pretty much all the same. So, everyone is on a level. And you come to a place nobody has ever seen the track before and as soon as you leave, nobody will ever see that track again. So you can't say, 'I am the expert of Heddington', because we have never seen it before and we will never see it again," he said.

Points are awarded in each heat and the various heats are mixed up depending on performance to make it super competitive.

Over the two-day racing weekend, there were 16 races for each of the categories.

Racer Sean Transwell was crowned winner of Group 3 and Kenny Goodesmith of Group 4.

Legend has it that the sport was born out of a meeting of enthusiastic motorsport fans in an English public house back in 1973.

The main point of discussion was the huge costs involved in all areas of motorsport, and how they could still race competitively but have fun and keep costs low.

Having discussed and discounted motorised wheelbarrows and barstools, the sport of lawnmower racing emerged as the clear winner.

And an early devotee of the sport was British driving ace Sir Stirling Moss. He put lawnmower racing on the map by winning the first 12-hour event in 1978 with his partner Derek Bell, himself a five-times winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race.