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Pulborough mower race a cut above the rest
While France has its 24- hour race in Le Mans and America has its Indianapolis 500 there is only one race that matters to some people of Sussex – the Pulborough 12-hour lawnmower race.
Instead of the latest sports car or Formula 1 machine, racers in the annual event are more likely to be seen on a souped-up mower, or a prestigious John Deere tractor mower.
Reaching speeds of up to 50mph, competitors try to make their rivals eat turf during the 12-hour endurance event held at Brinsbury College.
Drivers have to cover as much distance as they can during a 12-hour period, racing into the night.
Organised by the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, this year’s event was seen as a triumph – especially after adverse weather conditions forced its abandonment last year. The association’s Mark Constanduros said: “It went very well with record crowds, a record number of entries and glorious weather.”
Fifty-six teams entered across four different classes of lawnmower.
The race, which began at 8pm on Saturday night, was won by Promo Racing, based in Brookes Green, near Horsham, which completed 388 laps in the time allowed and clocked up 329.8 miles.
Victory was not clear-cut, however and the race had one of its closest battles.
Despite leading by nine laps, the Who’s Racing team suffered a rear axle failure allowing Promo Racing to take the lead. However they then suffered a puncture in the closing stages to set up a tense three-way battle between themselves, Who’s Racing and Very Sideways Racing.
A sleepy Mark told The Argus: “It was very very close at the end. It was a very exciting finish.
“We weren’t quite sure what was going on – anything could have happened.”
Other winners included the Cricketers Arms, in Wisborough Green, who won best pub team, a special accolade since the pub founded the sport in 1973.
The man behind the sport was Jim Gavin, an Irishman who had raced and rallied cars across the world.
Having become disillusioned with the increasing costs of motorsport he teamed up with fellow enthusiasts to create a cheap form of racing accessible to all.
It now attracts teams from across the world.