Harry's Hairy Hobby - Cutting Corners Instead of Grass12/01/2016
Harry Sanderson’s been in business as Harry’s Mower Repairs in Bundaberg, QLD for over 25 years. All in the same location in Perry Street. Not surprisingly, Harry knows a thing or two about lawnmowers.
What might be surprising to some is Harry’s penchant for peril, his desire for danger. You see—ranking highly amongst Harry’s hobbies is lawnmower racing.
And Harry’s been doing it for 15 years—he loves it that much. Which is the same length of time his son, who coincidentally also races lawnmowers, has been alive. A long time by anyone’s measure. “I’ve been doing it a while now, yes, I just love it. It’s an absolute ball. Heaps of fun,” says Harry. “Well, most of the time. I fell off the bloody thing about 5 years ago and did my collarbone.”
No wonder there’s the chance for injury—with average speeds hovering around 80 km/hr and max speeds of over 100 km/hr. It’s not a sport for the faint of heart. “It’s definitely a dangerous sport,” Harry agrees, “but that’s half of the fun. Put it this way—it’s not as scary as during the floods when we were only 6mm from our workshop going under!”
After such a torrid time during the Queensland floods, Harry admits to needing an emotional release, “Lawnmower racing is good fun, and it isn’t expensive at all. It’s the cheapest form of motorsport we could find. If you can do all of the work as far as the machines are concerned you can set yourself up for around $6000. Which isn’t that bad compared to go- karting or motorbike racing. And the on-going costs aren’t much either.”
Currently, Harry is racing a 1973 blue lawnmower, minus the deck and dropped to a mere 75mm off the ground. The gearing’s been adjusted, and a new exhaust added—but that’s the extent of the amendments. The engine is 100% stock with premium unleaded the only liquid to enter the fuel tank. No modifications or unfair performance enhancements are allowed under the strict honour system in place.
According to Harry there are a wide variety of people that participate in lawnmower racing in Queensland, “They range from my 15 year old boy to Old Pop who’s still going around at 61. It’s good, hard fun for all-ages. If you can, give it a go, you’ll love it.”
Harry is a member of the Sunshine Coast Lawn Mower Racing Club, for more information about the club or lawnmower racing in general you can visit their website.