Start your engines: nation's fastest mowers to duel it out on Forbes track

TITLES COME TO TOWN: The Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association is bringing the national championships to Forbes this weekend. Picture: SUPPLIED
TITLES COME TO TOWN: The Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association is bringing the national championships to Forbes this weekend. Picture: SUPPLIED

The country's fastest mowers - yep, you read that right - converge on Forbes this weekend for the Australian championships.

The Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association already has 82 registered entries who will be travelling from all over NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia for the event.

Ray and Karilynn Mackay - technical advisor and secretary for the organisation respectively - were in town this week preparing.

They were impressed by the auto sports club's flat track and facilities while here visiting local competitors - Dave Teale, Craig Bratton and Craig Bourke - and have been working for months to bring the titles here.

"The Forbes guys have become part of our (mower racing) family," Mackay said.

"It's all due to them and their involvement.

"One day when we were visiting, Dave showed us the complex.

"It's a good facility - a good flat track for our racing - and good facilities for the numbers we have."

It's also a wonderfully central location for the sport, with competitors from both north and south, east and west.

Mower racing caters for a whole range of classes from minimal to "highly modified" and there'll be action all weekend at the Forbes Auto Sports Club's Daroobalgie flat track.

The top class based on engine size and tyre type is the Outlaw class, and while the configuration depends on which State you're typically racing in these might have motorbike engines up to 450cc or highly-modified mower engines of high capacity.

"It's a full-blown racing-built engine, they have been clocked at speeds around the 100km/hr mark," Mackay said.

Current Outlaw Australian title-holder Travis Risstrom, who's been waiting since 2019 to defend his title, has registered for this weekend.

So has current A Class title holder Stuart Elliott. A Class is a step down from Outlaw in terms of mower configuration but a highly-contested event and the one you're likely to see our locals take the track in.

The variety or racing machines you'll see line up at the start is one of things Mackay loves about this somewhat novel sport.

Some will have what looks like your average mower steering wheel, while others have motorbike handlebars in just one example of the modifications you might see.

"You build the machines yourself - or have friends around you to help," Mackay explains.

"It's a bit about your own ability to make your machine, and that's what appeals to me.

"There's such a variety of ideas, there's no one way of doing it, and at the end of the day most of them compete quite well together - and that will be proven this weekend."

This weekend is a rare opportunity to see the range of mowers from different states take the track together.

Spectators welcome with the heats on Saturday - eight mowers duelling it out on track in each - followed by final heats and finals on Sunday.

Gates open 9am, entry is $5 or under 14s are free.

For Mackay, the biggest attraction is not just the racing but the fun.

"We are competitive but it's for the love and fun of it," he said.

"The other factor is friendship: it's a really terrific family-oriented sport where everybody gets in and helps each other."