Rocky mower races revved up for national competition
THE Kennedy quartet from Rockhampton will be aiming to mow down the opposition in A-grade at the 2016 All Australian Ride-On Mower Racing Championships on May 21 and 22.
Leading the charge will be 16-year-old Caleb, who finished second in B-grade at last year's nationals and is hoping to go one better in the higher grade this time around.
The event is being staged for the second consecutive year by the Central Queensland Mower Racing Club at its race track at Yaamba (opposite the Royal Oak Hotel).
Caleb will be joined in the A-grade field by his dad and club president John, John's brother Warren and his son Jye. Warren's wife Wendy will also be in action, racing in D-grade.
John said there would be some fast and furious competition at the nationals, especially in the outlaw class where riders get their mowers revving at speeds of up to 90kmh.
Reigning national champion Mark Shipton from the Sunshine Coast will be out to retain his title against a class field from across Queensland and interstate.
"The outlaw class is the ultimate class," John said. "They ride fully modified mowers that can do anywhere up to 90kmh. They're pretty wild to watch.
"The class down is big block, which is basically 35hp mowers, and underneath that is A-grade down to D-grade, which is your standard 32hp ride-on racing mower."
John said mower racing was growing in popularity because it was relatively economical and it was being embraced by families across the country.
He and Warren were both successful speedway drivers in their younger days and became involved in the sport after attending an open day several years ago.
John said the family's experience with everything mechanical had proven a bonus in modifying their mowers for racing.
"The thrill of building something and going sideways in the dirt really close to other competitors is super fun," he said. "It's good, hard racing but it's always friendly."
John said the format for the mower racing nationals was similar to the V8s, with qualifying heats run to determine which drivers would start in the finals.
Anyone interested in the sport is encouraged to go and see the racing next weekend.