Motor sport doesn't get much stranger than lawn-mower racing, but to its hard-core devotees it's much more than just a hobby.
Thirty teams lined up for the highlight of the lawn mower sport's calendar - a 12 hour night endurance race - in the English village of Five Oaks, West Sussex on Saturday (August 10), with the winning entry completing 406 laps of the 1.37 km (0.85 mile) circuit by dawn.
The 12 hour Lawn mower race is the pinnacle of the sport's surprisingly busy calendar, and this year 30 teams battled through the night to claim top honours.
The sport was born out of a meeting of enthusiastic motor-sport fans in a pub back in 1973. The main point of discussion was the huge costs involved in all branches of motor sport. What could they race that would be competitive, fun, and above all, cheap? Having discussed and discounted motorised wheelbarrows and barstools, the sport of lawn mower racing emerged as the clear winner.
An early and unlikely devotee of the sport was British driving ace Sir Stirling Moss. He put lawn mower racing on the map by winning the first 12-hour event in 1978.
Nowadays, while the drivers may not be household names, each team puts in many hours of preparation to ensure an optimum performance.
At 8 pm, Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis got proceedings underway by starting the race.
"We're known for keeping our lawns in this country, you know cricket greens and that sort of thing and we're known for doing things a little eccentric and that just brings the two things together; lawnmower racing," he said
Twelve hours of racing is hard enough, but most of the race is completed in darkness to make it technically more of a challenge, with each team fielding three drivers who swap around to combat fatigue, plus a support team in the pits. As dusk turned to night, the pit lane became a hive of activity as mowers came in for refuelling, driver changeover, cleaning and repairs.
"It hurts, the track gets very bumpy, it cuts up and it does hurt," explained racer Chris Thompson.
After a gruelling night, dawn finally arrived for the exhausted drivers. Amazingly, most of the mowers were still in the race as the 8 am deadline approached.
The victorious team was number 27 called Northerners Kick Grass. They started in pole position and led from the start. They completed 406 laps - that's approximately 560 km - in the allotted 12 hours.
The winning trio was Mark Rostron, Andy Rostron and Stephen Morriss.
"You never think it's going to be easy, it's a long race, it takes its toll on machined and drivers, credit to our Mark - he built his machine fantastic, it's never missed a beat all race and do you know at the end of the day, Northerners kicked Grass," said Andy Rostron.
It may not be Formula 1, but in the world of lawn mower racing, it doesn't get much better than this.
Presented by Adam Justice