Mowing Nowhere Fast

The Premise

In late 2016, jes (of Fiat Panda shame) began talking about building a racing lawnmower, with our ambitions being the 12-hour endurance race staged by the British Lawnmower Racing Association. I agreed immediately, because my mental image of a lawnmower race was of a sedate-but-gripping event in which we would fight tooth-and-nail for position while travelling at 5mph. In short, a great laugh.

It was only after I had committed to the event that I realised that the mowers used in the race are not factory builds, but extensively modded creations that frequently top out at 50mph. The YouTube videos were somewhere between exciting and terrifying, with my opinion typically corresponding to how nihilistic I was feeling. Nevertheless, I am a man of my word, and have never let a terrible idea get in the way of my commitment, so I was in.

Events somewhat snowballed over the course of the next few months: jes quit his full-time job and was suddenly working a lot more in the garage, and before I knew it, he was talking about doing the race in the summer of 2017 (and not 2018, as we had originally planned). He purchased a mower (actually two, but we don’t talk about the first) and brought jrn and mdg on board, as driver and pit crew respectively.

The 12-hour race, for those who aren’t familiar with endurance racing, is judged based on the number of laps completed