2 Mar 2023
Report written by Mick Hills
Eight team mowers are loaded and ready to go, van and trailer with Hillsy and Panters hit the road Monday evening around 10 pm, ready to catch the 4 o’clock ferry from Dover, then it’s a 13 hour dash across France, Belgium, Holland and onto Travemunde to catch the ferry to Helsinki, it was all going so well, what could possibly go wrong, an hour from our destination we had a fight with a 38 ton juggernaut at 60 miles per hour, I think you can guess who won, unfortunately the trailer got a bit of a battering, one mullered wheel, one bent axle and a lot of body damage to the trailer, it certainly made us jump a bit, we didn’t stop immediately, but further down the road, eventually we pushed onto the ferry terminal where there was a German welcoming committee from the local Gendarmerie, 3 hours in the nick, Panters with a €500 fine, luckily we managed to drag the trailer onto the ferry, just.
After a 30 hour crossing with no dramas we landed at Helsinki, our friends met us at the port with another trailer, so we managed to nurse our broken trailer all the way up to Lavia very gingerly.
Fortunately our Finnish friends had a nice big workshop where we could work on the trailer, we removed the bent axle and our friends managed to source an axle manufacturer who repaired ours, it was then all hands to the pump to repair the trailer body, it was a bit like the A-Team, including the music, we bolted bits of 4 by 2 to strengthen the sides, bolts, mails, gaffer tape you name it, after 2 days of work it was ready, sort of.
The racers who flew in arrived on the Thursday and most of us stayed in a big house near a local school, each team getting there own room and if lucky enough a mattress as well, after a night down the local bar it sounded like a night in the Serengeti, with Pugs making the most noise, farting and belching, Hillsy was a close second with his snoring.
Unfortunately the ice this year is just not thick enough to race on, so the race was switched to become a road race around a local plant hire complex.
Mowers were unloaded and pits set up, practice was very limited, because the complex was still in use on the Friday, the teams did manage to get the chance to thrash up and down an approach road, not ideal, but better than nothing.
There were originally 25 teams entered, from the UK, Germany, Estonia and of course the Finns, one UK team had to pull out, owing to a hair dressers appointment, the race length would be 9 hours.
Race day, cold but sunny, drivers briefing at 08:00 am followed by a 20 minute practice session, then race start at 09:00 am.
From start to finish the UK teams dominated the race, Bullseye Racing, Going Commando, LES Racing and Mower with Attitude all pushing each other very hard, then as the race panned out things started to go wrong for a lot of the teams, Mower with attitude was constantly struggling for grip as their studs just wouldn’t last that many laps, LES Racing developed a niggling oil leak, it didn’t stop them completely, but it meant a lot more pits stops to replenish the lost oil, Bullseye Racing who were really quick at the beginning developed mechanical issues which saw them drop down the order and out of contention, but they did claim the fastest race lap putting a 1:28.5.
Number 44 Going Commando, just consistently carried on.
Towards the end of the race it became a battle between 44 Going Commando and LES Racing, LES Racing was the faster mower, but just left it too late, so Going Commando won by 1 lap.
Result: Winner. Going Commando (296 laps) driven by Carl Selby, Nick Clarke, Kevin Bradford. 2nd. LES Racing (295 laps) driven by Les Pantry, Garry Botting, Stuart Johnston. 3rd. Gremlins (278 laps) Phil Bollen. 4th Mower With Attitude (278 laps) Richard Atherton.
Then we got some great news (Not), they cancelled our Ferry from Helsinki, apparently the crews were on strike, so another night in a hotel in Helsinki, we did mange to get home on the Wednesday evening after our 9 day ordeal, quite an adventure.
Will I go again next year, will I Fu………………………………………………