George hopes to be cut above
MOWER RACING: Meet George Wallace - mower man by day, mower racer by weekend.
The 52-year-old, who owns George's Mowing Services, first started mowing lawns more than 40 years ago as an eager young boy trying to raise money to pay for his first push-bike.
His foray into the sporting side of things came more recently, three years ago in fact.
"I'd never seen it (mower racing) before and as soon as I saw it I was hooked. It's just unreal,” Wallace said.
"I know it seems a bit funny that I ride a mower all week for work and then compete on one at the weekends but that's what I do.
"I enjoy being in the outdoors and I enjoy looking after my customers and making them happy. On the weekend, that's my time and I go mower racing and it's awesome.
"I love it and I can't see myself stopping in the near future. There are some people who have raced up to the age of 60 or 65. I don't know if I'll be doing that but I'll see how I go.”
Wallace will put his racing talents to the test this weekend when the Central Queensland Mower Racing Club hosts Round 9 of the Queensland championships at its Yaamba track on Sunday.
Riders from Townsville through to the Sunshine Coast will compete alongside a large local contingent.
Leading the field will be the Australian outlaw class champion Mark Shipton.
Wallace will compete in A-grade, riding the 23hp horizontal he's affectionately dubbed "The Bomber”, and he's confident about his prospects.
"I'd like to get a win. If I could get a win in A-grade that would be awesome. I'm looking for a place at least,” he said.
"I've probably got about a dozen trophies since I started. It's quite competitive but it's all good fun.
"My partner Madonna races also and my son Harley's also racing. He's actually up to where I am now and he's only been going for about 12 to 18 months so he's going really well.”
Wallace said mower racing was safe and economical and a great family-orientated sport.
CQMRC president Les Beckman said there would be some high-quality racing in the six classes on Sunday.
The grand parade will be held at 9am, with racing from 9.30am to 2pm.
Beckman, the reigning All Australian A-grade champion, will be forced to watch from the sidelines after breaking his foot in competition five weeks ago.
"It is exceptionally hard to watch, I would love to be out there,” he said.
"There will be some entertaining racing, with some new machines in action and some of the old favourites as well.”
The club will also run a raffle on the day with proceeds going to breast cancer research and competitors and spectators are urged to wear pink.
Entry is $5 for adults, with children 14 and under free.