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Ride-ons mow down track times

GOING HARD: Brisbane Mower Sport club president Rob Kirkwood (left) throws his machine into a corner ahead of another competitor at Willowbank.
GOING HARD: Brisbane Mower Sport club president Rob Kirkwood (left) throws his machine into a corner ahead of another competitor at Willowbank. David Nielsen

I HAVE a lot of experience with ride-on lawn mowers.

I've ridden countless times around my parents' yard, but I've never taken one on a racetrack.

Most people think more of putting about a backyard more than hitting speeds up to 70kmh on a dirt track.

But for a group of men and women at Willowbank at the weekend, that's exactly what they use their mowers for.

The Brisbane Mower Sport group races ride-on lawn mowers on a dirt track in the Willowbank motorsport precinct.

Apart from some panel work and paint jobs, they race standard mowers which hit speeds of up to 70kmh with only minor changes to their internals and chassis.

After watching the experts throw the machines around corners and carefully negotiate chicanes, I climbed onto one of the mowers myself.

Apart from the occasional go kart race, I've had no experience on a race track.

Despite that, after one slow and steady lap I was soon trying my best to drift the rear of the mower in corners.

Club president Rob Kirkwood astride his mower.
Club president Rob Kirkwood astride his mower.

While the machine might be light, and the engine small, you had to fight it around corners, and the brakes barely seemed to exist.

Soon enough I was flagged off the track.

I puttered off the track hitting a more sedate lawnmower speed, pleased mostly not to have been forced to use the ominously named 'kill cord' - all the while grinning from ear-to-ear.

Many of the members of the club stumbled into mower racing at a car show. While looking for a car for a gymkhana they found a group of people sitting next to their mowers.

The plans to get a new car were quickly abandoned.

The club now runs an eight-round super series, with the events taking place at Willowbank and the Beenleigh Showgrounds.

Brisbane Mower Sport will be holding a charity ride for the Mater Children's Hospital on October 4. They will be taking their mowers on a police-escorted ride through the streets of Logan to try to raise about $15,000 for the hospital.

Rob Kirkwood at full tilt aboard his machine.
Rob Kirkwood at full tilt aboard his machine.

Topics:  willowbank



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