In this blog post, I will discuss the necessary preparations that you have to make before using your lawnmower for racing or other similar competitions.
“Lawnmower racers are pretty damn innovative,” said Aaron Crowl, who is now the president and founder of the American Racing Mower Association (ARMA). “When you can choose something that was just a simple machine meant to go outside and cut your grass quickly and effortlessly for you and now you can simply put it out on the race track, and it can handle and endure speeds as high as seventy miles an hour, eighty miles an hour, or ninety miles an hour, that looks like a pretty great accomplishment. It is probably one of the friendliest, most cost-effective forms of motorsport that is out there,” Crowl says.
Lawnmower racing, this is what you need to know:
Lawnmowers that are used for racing are heavily modified. The blades need to be removed for safety reasons, and the frame need to be reinforced to cope with the increased stress. The engine needs to be modified so it will deliver more power, the gearbox needs to be replaced, and the brakes need to be modified so it can cope with the higher speed.
Now, I will share a step-by-step simple guide for you to follow to be able to use your lawnmower for racing. So let’s get right into it.
Step 1. Membership:
You must become an official member of the British Lawn Mower Racing Association (BLMRA) or Scottish Lawn Mower Racing Association (SLMRA) or United States Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) depending on where ever you are located, by either signing up online or filling in the relevant forms.
Once you have completed signing up online or filling in the relevant forms, you will receive either a handbook, a newsletter or a membership card from British Lawn Mower Racing Association (BLMRA) or Scottish Lawn Mower Racing Association (SLMRA) or United States Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) depending on where ever you are located. You must carefully read the handbook that you have received.
Step 2. Choose a race group:
There are numerous Facebook groups for the lawnmower races and their schedules. You can search the most relevant one that you are interested in and join it.
Step 3. Choose a lawnmower:
Whether you are interested in the amateur or professional version of lawn mower racing, you will need to have a modified lawnmower to take part in the sport. It is very important to remove the blades of your lawnmower for safety reasons. After the removal of the blades, your lawnmower will still be able to run as smoothly as before.
This can be a costly process, on top of the price of buying a brand new lawnmower for the seasonal races, when you get the task completed professionally. If you are tech-savvy and into DIY projects, you could cut down on the price of preparing your lawnmower for racing by doing the upgrades on your own.
These preparations are all really necessary to help you get racing on your lawnmower. You must look into all the replacement parts you want to upgrade your lawnmower with before racing it on the public racetrack. Some lawnmowers may offer unique designs and external or internal structures.
Most latest models of lawnmowers should have sufficient replacement parts available in hardware stores and online.
The list of parts needed before racing your lawnmower will generally boil down to an engine, centrifugal clutch, sprockets, the transmission, steering wheels, axles and hangers, the electrical components, the wheel systems, a gas lever, and some other high endurance engine upgrades. If you are looking to upgrade your lawnmower into a racing machine, go-kart and golf cart parts will come in handy.
Step 4. Modify the engine of your lawnmower:
Most lawnmowers have low-performance flathead engines that are just not suitable to race. By pushing your lawnmower’s stock engine beyond its limits, you will increase the likelihood that it will face more wear and tear. If you look for the right replacement engine for your lawnmower that is made out of the right material to avoid race stress, such as billet aluminum, it will increase the durability of your lawnmower.
Step 5. Install a puke tank on your lawnmower:
Your puke tank is a maintenance unit that helps you handle oil spills in your lawnmower. Since you will be racing your lawnmower at higher speeds and exerting your lawnmower engine to its limits, it may spit oil through the crankcase breather of your lawnmower. The puke tank of your lawnmower works to keep the system of your lawnmower untainted, ensuring you do not spill oil on yourself or the race track.
Step 6. Install suitable brakes on your lawnmower:
You can use mechanic or hydraulic brakes on your lawnmower, but hydraulic options are better suited for lawnmowers due to their ease of installation in an otherwise complex frame of the lawnmower. Go-kart and motorbike hydraulic brake systems will be compatible with most of the lawnmowers.
Step 7. Reinforce the frame of your lawnmower:
When planning to go racing, you will need to beef up the frame of your lawnmower to suit the components and the design of your lawnmower. Racing lawn mowers will engage on a dirt track and generally feature no suspensions. This means that the frame of your lawnmower could take a beating when you race on your lawnmower.
By reinforcing the frame of your lawnmower, you will be able to protect your lawnmower against fatigue-related cracks and damage.
Step 8. Install a deck on your lawnmower:
You must choose a new lawnmower deck that should be easy to replace as long as it offers similar dimensions and installs in the same location as the original deck of your lawnmower. You may consider going for a more lightweight and comfortable deck for your lawnmower to ensure you can rest your feet while racing on your lawnmower without affecting the aerodynamics of your lawnmower.
Step 9. Install a good transmission on your lawnmower:
Some transmission boxes are generally not designed for racing lawnmower frames. You must install such a transmission shaft on your lawnmower that should be far enough from the ground but still fit comfortably within the frame of your lawnmower.
Step 10. Replace the stock steering components of your lawnmower:
By replacing the stock steering components of your lawnmower you will offer the juice that most models of racing lawnmowers just do not have. If you race your lawnmower with a limited stock steering system, you may be unable to sustain high speeds of your lawnmower and could have trouble handling the corners. You must remember to place the steering system of your lawnmower well in the frame of your lawnmower and affix them in place with the right stops.
Step 11. Inspection of your lawnmower:
You must make sure that your lawnmower is homologated (inspected and approved to race). The reason lawnmowers need to be homologated is so they adhere to the rules and regulations and to also ensure that a level playing field is set for all competitors. For this, you must contact British Lawn Mower Racing Association (BLMRA) or Scottish Lawn Mower Racing Association (SLMRA) or United States Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) depending on where ever you are located, and ask for an appointment.
Step 12. Final preparations for the race:
You will need to buy or hire a transponder and a clip so that times can be measured and recorded during races. Just before racing you will have to do the registration, all of the gear checked and other relevant checks.
Step 13. Put on proper Personal Protection Equipment and follow the rules:
You must put on the proper safety glasses, helmet, gloves, boots, face shield, chaps, or shin guards. You must obey the flag rules of your racing series because penalties apply for those who do not. Black flags may be in effect, should you view a black flag on your screen, you must immediately stop your lawnmower to prevent disqualification.
Blue flags may be in effect, when you view a blue flag, you must allow the following lawnmowers to pass as they have been lapped. If the blue flag remains, it means you must let all lawnmowers behind you pass. Holding up the lawnmowers on a lap further in the race than yours may be met with penalties for impeding that driver.
When do the lawnmower races take place in the USA?
Lawnmower racing seasons run from about February to September each year, with hundreds of races each year between ARMA, USLMRA (United States Lawn Mower Racing Association), and other famous local clubs. Lawnmowers typically race on dirt or clay tracks. Bruce “Mr Mow-It-All” Kaufman, president and founder of the USLMRA (United States Lawn Mower Racing Association), said: “there are at least fifty dedicated lawnmower tracks across the country, typically measuring about a tenth of a mile around, that host races during fairs, festivals, and car shows each year.”
To sum up this blog post, I would say that by following the above given 13 simple steps, you will be able to easily participate in your favorite sport. You must make sure that you use reliable personal protection equipment for the safety of your life and that of others.