Nail-biting finale to 12-hour lawn mower race near Horsham

And they're off ... Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green
And they're off ... Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

Crowds turned out in force to witness mower mayhem - and a little bit of history in the making - in Five Oaks near Horsham on Saturday.

It was all part of the village’s annual 12-hour Lawn Mower Race which ended in a nail-biting finish which saw a team from Luxembourg clinch victory.

The victors. Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

The victors. Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

The winning team - Les’s Lux Pussies consisting of Bob Koedinger, Christian Kaiser and Jeff Wilmes - covered almost 350 miles in the event, staged by the British Lawn Mower Racing Association.

It’s the first time in the history of the race that anyone from overseas has won lawn mower racing’s most highly coveted honour.

The Luxembourgers had been chasing regular winners Northerners Kick Grass throughout the race when, just 20 minutes from the end, the favourites succumbed to mechanical failure.

Despite the Northerners’ valiant efforts to restart their machine, Bob put in some of the fastest laps of the race to overhaul their lead and take the chequered flag.

Mower mayhem. Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

Mower mayhem. Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

Local honours were maintained by second-placed finishers Going Commando from Rudgwick, made up of Mark Robinson, Karl Selby and Paul Standage, while claiming fourth place overall and Group 3 winners were the Horsham-based trio of R&M Racing, Ross Challinor, Max Fandrejewski and Peter Ayres.

The latest running of the annual event, which sees 50 teams competing throughout the night on modified mowers, was also notable for a solo drive from Luxembourger Caroline Gilson as well as the 12 Hour’s youngest ever competitors: 16-year-olds Ryley Williams, Dan Thomas and James Ford of The Inbergreeners team.

And following a trip last year by the BLMRA to the United States – where mower racing is a huge sport - a party of US mower racers flew over to sample the delights of racing in deepest Sussex over 12 hours. Used to driving on ovals, they quickly adapted to making right hand turns.

All proceeds from the event will go to Ingfield Manor School at Five Oakds which supports children with cerebral palsy.

Do we have a problem? Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

Do we have a problem? Photo: Ian Clark, Barns Green

Results were: Group 4:1st Les’s Lux Pussies (and overall winners); 2nd Going Commando; 3rd The Chirotractor.

Group 3: 1st R&M Racing; 2nd Mower With Attitude; 3rd Mow Fear.

Group 2: 1st The Knight Riders; 2nd Battle of Britain Mow-morial Flight: 3rd EJH Racing; Tourist Trophy: The Swedebashers.