“I’ve seen the future… and it involves lawn mowers” were the words of Clive Hartley when speaking to Eddie Randall one summers’ evening back in 1982…
That single sentence gave birth to the North West Lawn Mower Racing Association. Lawrence (Lol) Hatton came in to manage club funds, while Ken Lynch became the club’s first president. It’s fair to say that Ken spent most of his days in VIP tents at the shows and gala’s the NWLMRA raced at, while Clive, Lol & Eddie got on with the racing side of the club.
From its humble beginnings, the club has continued to grow and now boasts a membership in excess of 200, with an average of 30 active racers at each race meeting. That’s more than F1!
The ethics of the original members are still held today. We actively discourage sponsorship and no cash prizes are awarded. Most racers are happy to have bragging rights when they win! The NWLMRA also raises money for charity, with donations primarily coming from members of the club.
As the membership has grown, so has the area that the club covers. Originally based in Astley, near Manchester, the club now attends events as far afield as Cumbria and County Durham in the North, down to Lincolnshire and Worcestershire in the Midlands.
The year was 1963, and history will show the first recorded lawn mower races as taking place in the small American town of Twelve Mile, Indiana. Qualifying for the first race saw an average speed around the oval track of 9.97mph, with the race itself being won by Phil Eckelbarger of Peru.
Here in the UK, things started a little differently. Move forward 10 years to 1973 and a group of motorsports enthusiasts, led by Jim Gavin. They were enjoying a pint or two in a country pub called the Cricketer’s Arms, in a sleepy corner of West Sussex. At the time they were discussing new ideas for different forms of motorsport. They eventually settled on lawn mowers while, legend has it, standing in the gents’ toilets and looking out over the local cricket pitch watching the groundsman mow the grass! The first race meeting saw a huge entry and the British Lawn Mower Racing Association was formed.