Racers revvin’ for start of lawn mower season

Gates open at 2 p.m. Saturday

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

The first weeks of Spring usually coincide with taking the lawn mower out of the shed and making sure it’s ready to go. It’s a tedious chore, one that comes with a forecasting of no small amount of sweat equity to ensure your lawn is the best on the block.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A lawn mower racer handles the second turn of four on the Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway during the 2014 season.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A lawn mower racer handles the second turn of four on the Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway during the 2014 season.

Then there’s a group of lawn mower owners who don’t mind going into the shed. In fact, these men, women and kids have probably been tinkering with their machines all winter long. These are members of a dedicated group of lawn mower racers.

The Ellerbe Lions Club Speedway is set to host the first of 12 races this Saturday. Coordinated by Wayne Taylor and Rex Crouch Jr., this will be the start of the first full year the two have had to leave their own footprint on the sport.

Gates open at 2 p.m. and racing begins at 6 p.m. Crouch and Taylor told fans on the group’s Facebook page that the two have led the way with several improvements this season.

“We moved the fence and widen(ed) the front straightaway,” they told fans. “We installed a pump on the water wagon for faster track prep. We installed new speakers and a video monitoring system that will record every race and can rewind at any time to help make the call in case of an accident or caution.”

Eleven of the 12 race dates are points races; exception is in May with the second annual Racing for Taylor benefit race. That weekend, proceeds from the Tossing for Taylor cornhole tournament and certain sales will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation. Six-year-old Taylor Crouch, of Ellerbe, is one of about 294,000 children under the age of 18 are afflicted with the condition.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Taylor Crouch, 6, left, plays with a friend during the Tossing for Taylor Cornhole Tournament held last summer in her honor. Proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Taylor Crouch, 6, left, plays with a friend during the Tossing for Taylor Cornhole Tournament held last summer in her honor. Proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Of the 11 races in the points series, organizers will take a competitor’s top eight finishes.

Mid-season last summer, the Ellerbe Lions Club suspended lawn mower racing after a dispute arose between former track manager Kermit Perkins and Lions Club officials. Perkins moved on to manage the new race track at Still Waters Farms in Marston, under the Still Waters Mow Down Series moniker, while Crouch and Taylor took over management of the Ellerbe track.

Under the supervision of Perkins and track owner Jeff Moss, lawn mower racing opened in Marston on Aug. 18 while racing returned to Ellerbe on Aug. 24. There turned out to be enough room for everyone on both race tracks and officials seem to have worked together to ensure neither track’s 2015 race schedule conflicted with the other’s.

The 2015 Ellerbe race schedule includes:

* March 28
* April 25
* May 16-17
* June 6
* June 20
* July 18
* Aug. 15
* Aug. 25
* Sept. 19
* Oct. 10
* Oct. 24 (Halloween Spooktacular in the pits)
* Nov. 21

For more information, contact Crouch at 910-955-0750 or Taylor at 910-398-1978.

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Outdoors, Sports

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