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Attempt on the World Landspeed Record for a Lawnmower

ProjectRunningBlade2 Once in a lifetime, the opportunity comes along to make your mark on the world we all share. It may be by inventing some fantastic new cure for some hideous disease, or solving world conflicts. In the case of Project Runningblade, the chance to advance science has come in the form of breaking a world record. On July 4th, 2006, Bob Cleveland from the USA threw down the gauntlet to the world by becoming the first human being to travel at more than 80 mph on a lawn mower: no mean achievement. Since then, no-one has dared to try and beat his record - until now. Team Runningblade, headed by Stephen Vokins, aims to bring this world record to Great Britain, and by a margin of more than 25%!

During my many lawn visits, I have viewed many a lawn owner trying to break the land speed record on a ride on mower to be honest!

The challenge launched at The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu is simply to reach 100mph which may not sound very fast, and most modern cars are capable of reaching such speed. However, at 100mph, the lawnmower will be travelling down 7 miles of flat Pendine Sands, covering the ground at a rate of at least 147 feet per second, and will travel through the measured mile in less than 36 seconds. The wind resistance at this speed is considerable: ask any motorcyclist! And then there's the aerodynamics to consider: too much down pressure will waste engine power, slowing it down, whilst insufficient could result in the machine actually becoming airborne with potentially disastrous results. Keeping it going in a straight line is another problem.

Stephen Vokins is a 48 year-old lifelong petrolhead. Since leaving University he has worked at The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu for more than 25 years, alongside writing four books on motoring, presenting on Men & Motors car TV programmes, and is a regular contributor to motoring magazines and BBC Radio 4 factual programmes.

He recently underwent major heart surgery, and it was during his time in hospital, the idea he'd nurtured for some time to take the world land speed record for lawn mowers became a new goal for him. "I decided", says the eccentric Stephen, "that having successfully got through this life-saving surgery, I should do something spectacular with the new lease of life I've been given. Climbing Everest is too much like hard work, but taking Bob Cleveland's record for Britain is mad, bad, and slightly dangerous - in other words, perfect!"

Making a machine light enough and stable enough to pass these hurdles is a huge challenge, and safety is a concern of paramount importance if we are to avoid imitating Richard Hammond's now famous stunt. Building an engine with enough torque to push it through the cold air at 100mph is another challenge, and to cap it all, the machine that takes the record will still be capable of cutting grass, which it will demonstrate on the very same day it takes the record.

In order for the record to be internationally accepted, the team will be using the rules set for cars many decades ago: the speed will be measured by travelling through a measured mile in both directions, each run within one hour of the other, and the average of the two runs will determine the final speed.

The driver of the renovated daredevil Countax Mowing Machine will be Don Wales, the Nephew of multi world speed record holder, Donald Cambell.

Donate now by visiting the official Project RunningBlade web site. Their chosen charities are Great Ormand Street Hospital and Wessex Heartbeat.

The date of the challenge is scheduled on February 27th - 28th 2010 and the venue is Pendine Sands in Wales.
The Grass Clipping Team know all about helping worthy causes - last year we installed a new lawn for The Shooting Star Childrens Hospice based in Hampton.

The Lawn Company have also sponsored the British Lawn Mower Racing Association by providing signage for their many petrol head challenge events over the years.

Pictures and part text - www.ProjectRunningBlade.co.uk

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