Race fans will be given the opportunity to watch high-octane lawn mower racing as part of the Benalla Festival for the first time with Moorngag Mower Mania on Saturday, November 11.
Ride-on mower racing, one of Australia’s most popular and fast-growing extreme sports, is still in its infancy with the first race taking place in Harrietville, Victoria in 1978.
Since then the sport has spread across the country with ride-on mower racing associations in every state and territory.
The idea for Moorngag Mower Mania was given to organiser Andrew Lavis when he was approached by a local group last year.
‘‘We were approached by a group that was aware of our venue and thought it would be good for a race,’’ Mr Lavis said.
‘‘Nothing came of that, but it was still in our minds, so we approached the main body of mower racers in Australia and we went from there.
‘‘They came out and looked at the track and thought it was terrific.
‘‘We have cleared the area on the western side of the Moorngag Hall.
‘‘The local farmer did all the work to get the track ready.
‘‘Our endeavour was to get the track looking good and appealing, knowing the mowers will destroy it throughout the event.
‘‘But we are ready to do any repair work to the track as and when it’s required.
‘‘We have professional caterers doing the food. We’ve got the swirly potato on a stick that everyone likes.
‘‘We’ve got a photo booth and there will be face painting for the kids.
‘‘We’ve got a PA system, and we’ll have commentary on the races as they’re run, it will be quite a spectacle.’’
The event will include an area where the public can get up close, have a look at the racing mowers and talk to the competitors.
Organisers are expecting more than 1000 spectators to attend the event, which will be opened by Benalla rural City Mayor Don Firth, and all profits will go to Moorngag Hall.
‘‘Our hall and the area outside is a great resource that we have not utilised very well until now,’’ Mr Lavis said.
‘‘So the objective here is to help generate money to replace chairs and raise money for the upkeep of the hall.
‘‘If it’s successful we want to make it an annual event, and all the feedback we’re getting tells us its going to be a great day.’’
The event takes place at Moorngag Hall and Recreational Reserve, 2206 Samaria Rd, Moorngag on November 11 from 9am to 3pm.
Entry is $2 per person or $10 per car.
●If you would like to enter to race or want more information, visit the Moorngag mower Mania page on Facebook.