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Green Means Go! Lawn Mower Racing – How to Win

You have heard the well-known expression at the beginning of any televised professional racing event: Green, Green, and Green. Three green flags means GO.  The spotter is making sure that his driver gets the idea that it is time to start.  As a competitor, you must be prepared to throttle up the moment the starter brandishes the green flag.

Any wavering at the beginning of the competition can waste precious time that is hard to make up later in the race. If the front-runner expects the start just 1 second faster than you do, the first time you pass the finish line, you will be 60 feet behind.  In lawn mower racing, how to lose is to begin one second slower than the leaders. The 60 feet will feel like an impossible space to beat. Don’t be afraid to knock the tractor directly in front of you.  You should not purposefully smack the lawnmower, but you should chase so closely that you may just accidentally have a bit of contact.

You will have an even better chance to anticipate the start of the race, if you are starting from the further back in the pack, even as close as the third row.  An experienced racing tactic is to glance ahead one or two rows.  Don’t stare at the lawn mower right in front of you.  Peer forward two or three rows, and when that mower punches the throttle, this is your signal to go.  Don’t be bothered about the lawn mower directly ahead of you; if he’s paying attention, his machine will be moving by the time your mower starts to speed up.  The worst-case scenario is that you give him a little love tap and keep going.
If you become skilled at this start tactic, you will find yourself very close to the mowers ahead of you.  You will be perfectly prepared to pass your first competitor.  Learning this move will give you the self-assurance to make passes during every race. You should be sure to make use of every opportunity to practice. There is no replacement for actual seat time, regardless of how much skill you already have.  Authentic lawn mower racing “how to” includes knowing how the seat feels.
Think about trying diverse racing lanes when practicing.  Have someone time each lap with a stopwatch. Then you will know the fastest route around the racetrack. This route is called the racing groove. Once you know where the groove is, you can use it to race to the lead.
During the race, you need to keep your eye on the racing groove. Keep in mind that especially on a dirt track, the groove may vary during the event.  The race itself can change the racing groove. You may even discover that your racing mower is moves better in a completely different groove than the other racers.  If you can’t catch the front-runner, use his groove. If you still can’t overtake him, try another groove.  You can’t be contented in lawn mower racing or you will fall farther and farther back.  
Catching the leader and overtaking him are two completely different creatures.  To apply a little stress, move your lawn mower into the turn much more forcefully than you should.  Your tractor may wobble some and move slightly sideways.  Just breathe and hold on.  With this move, you have moved in next to the leader and taken the groove away.
With his winning groove taken, you can speed up off the corner and, voila, the lead is yours.  If you didn’t panic yourself, you might have surprised the leader sufficiently that he released the throttle for just a second.  That tiny second is the distinction between a victory and coming in second. In lawn mower racing, how to win is more than just speed, it’s planning.

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