Courtesy of Australian reader and frequent contributor Snoggeramus, today’s award goes to a demented lawnmower driver in that country.
A MAN who attempted to cut some laps of Australia’s fastest racetrack — Mount Panorama, Bathurst — on a ride-on lawnmower has been hospitalised after crashing into a fence and being flung over the concrete wall.
. . .
“Ride-on mowers don’t have brakes, so he was just on the horn and trying to get people out of the way,” said one witness, who wished to remain anonymous.
Other witnesses said the out of control ride-on nearly mowed down race drivers and other people who were walking around the circuit to inspect conditions before the cars hit the track on Friday.
The crash occurred at the notorious Forrest’s Elbow, a steep and sharp curve that leads onto the fastest and longest straight in Australian motorsport.
There’s more at the link.
Lawnmower racing is an established sport . . . but those vehicles have upgraded suspension, engines and other bits and pieces to allow them to cope at the higher speeds involved. To take a conventional, unmodified ride-on mower around a race track at high speed is asking for trouble. Guess he found it!
My BS detector is telling me that the guy was cutting on a slope, and when pedestrians (who were lacking situational awareness) stepped in front of him, he took the machine out of gear as an effort to evade them but in so doing lost control.
The "cut a lap" is fairly evidently unsourced and an attempt at humour, as are some of the comments one can see on the photos that racing drivers posted of the incident. They are meant to be joking, not meant to be true representation of what happened.
Lawn mowers have minimal brakes usually only on the fixed wheels (not the steering ones) since lawns are fairly flat and speeds are low. Normally with a hydrostatic transmission with the heel-toe pedal you release the toe and depress the heel slightly which engages reverse. Bathurst is a street circuit, there are houses on the circuit and the place he crashed is a steep hill that drops a couple hundred feet.
I'm guessing he was a homeowner cutting the lawn at the shoulder to tidy up for the big race weekend and he had a brake problem. Gravity and "journalists" trying to sell advertising did the rest.
He must have been doing all of 8 mph. So dangerous.