Lawn Mower Endurance Race Drives English Sports Fans Crazy

Driving around a track at a 50 mph clip is something even an average driver can do fairly easily, but doing it for 12 hours straight is a little more difficult.

Especially if you're doing it on a lawn mower.

Such is the challenge of the Lawn Mower Endurance Race, an event held almost annually in the English county of West Sussex since 1973.

The key phrase is "almost annually" because the 12-hour event was cut last year because of a lack of contestants ready and willing to sit for half a day on a lawnmower, according to USA Today.

The sport has bounced back nicely this year, because more than 30 teams of racers -- from South Africa, the United States and Luxembourg -- competed at the 2011 championship which took place in the town of Billingshurst during in the late evening and early morning hours of Sept. 24-25.


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Mark Jaffe, the official clerk of the Lawn Mower Racing circuit (yes, there is one), says racing in the dark adds a level of difficulty to the proceedings.

"One of the reasons we run the lawnmower race overnight is that it's technically more of a challenge for the teams," Jaffe told The Telegraph.

A person doesn't have to be crazy to compete in lawn mower endurance racing, he said, but it helps.

"Whenever you talk about eccentric English sports, lawn mower racing has to be one of them," he admitted. "There aren't many mad people will go around on a lawnmower for 12 hours."

There is a good reason why according to racer Ed McDonovan.

"It's like being rung up and down a washboard naked on springs hitting both the ceiling and the floor with your vital parts several times," he told

However, the feeling of winning can overcome a certain numbness on the posterior, according to Dean Fuller, a member of Who's Racing, the team that won this year's event.

"I've been trying to win this one for 8 years and it's the crown of the season to be able to win this, so it's absolutely made my day," he said.