Those visiting Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy might have noticed a change to the landscape. On Saturday, the park’s new dirt race track will begin playing host to lawnmower races.
Mount Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) commander David Raborn, who is one of ten members on the park’s board, said the project has been a long time in the making.
Raborn noted he attended lawnmower races in Galax, Virginia, and the event drew a crowd of about 2,000 people. When Raborn was approached by a local racing group, Rednecks and Rebels, the park board opted to move on getting a raceway built.
Dirt was brought in by a contractor, and a sloped dirt track less than a quarter-mile in length was built, said Raborn. American Legion and VFW members have also been hard at work giving a face-lift to old bleachers donated by Cooke’s Rentals.
Raborn said everything is getting set for Saturday’s run. Practice laps will begin at 5 p.m., and competition will start at about 7 p.m. The park board will charge $7 for admission to the event. Children under 10-years-old are admitted for $3.
According to Raborn, there will be 50 or more lawnmowers running the track in multiple races based on the division to which a machine belongs, and they aren’t the sorts of lawnmowers with which you mow your front yard.
“One of the drivers was down here the other day looking at the track,” said Raborn on Monday. “He said he could get 50 or 60 mph on it.”
Just as the track will be a permanent fixture at the park, lawnmower races are something Raborn hopes will be around for a while. Another race is already being planned for the final day of the Surry County Fair, Sept. 17, and another race may be on the docket for October.
Raborn noted if there is an interest, the new lawnmower racing venue could attract the attention of racers in neighboring states. It also may be used for go-cart races and, perhaps, other events which fall outside the norm.
“The guys who were down here the other week for a swap meet and car show asked if they could run some souped up golf carts on it,” explained Raborn. “Next year, we may let them race on it.”
Raborn said he believes the inaugural night of lawnmower racing will be great family fun. Though there will be bleachers, those wishing to bring lawn chairs are invited to do so.
The American Legion and VFW concession stands will be open for the event, and Raborn said no outside coolers or beverages are permitted in the event.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” concluded Raborn.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.