The tractors can reach speeds of over 40 km/hr on the dirt tracks. Max Winkelman photo

Quesnel local looks to bring lawnmower racing to town

Wayne Wark thinks the crowds at Billy Barker Days would love the fun sport

For four years, Wayne Wark has been making his way down to Barriere to check out the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo. Although there are plenty of exciting events that take place to get the crowd going wild at the fair, the one that drew his attention is the lawnmower races.

Last year, Wark and Charlie Kimmie, a close friend of his, decided to build a pair of lawnmowers and get in on the action.

They managed to get their vehicles completed in time and raced them in Barriere this year.

“It was just a hoot,” Wark said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

He says no money was involved, other than a couple bucks to cover insurance, but the bragging rights were just as important to everybody.

Wark’s wife, Julie, and Kimmie’s wife, Deedee, even took turns racing the tractors themselves.

“What amazes me is how the crowd gets into it,” Wark says. “It’s just amazing!

“They are fairly close and when you’re racing, the tractors are close to one another at times and everyone watching is cringing and saying, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa!’

“They’re looking for a wreck, but that doesn’t happen very often.”

READ MORE: Lawnmower races exceed expectations in 100 Mile House

READ MORE: Quesnel driver wins Wescar main event

These aren’t your typical lawnmowers. Wark’s vehicle has a snowmobile engine, which can propel it to speeds exceeding 100 kilometres per hour. However, he says it typically doesn’t go much faster than 45 to 50 km/hr when on the race track, which is typically a dirt oval about the same size as a rodeo ground.

Tractors of varying classes will race around the oval and drift through the turns to the oohs and aahs of the crowd.

Wark says the racing is becoming popular in the Okanagan and the Kootenays, where clubs have been created.

He says he wants to be the person to bring it to Quesnel.

“It’s getting started in 100 Mile House, so I was thinking, ‘Why can’t Quesnel do something like this?’ We just need to get it out there.”

He has already approached a few friends about hunkering down in their respective backyard shops and building tractors over the winter months and believes he could convince a few contacts he’s made at races this summer to make their way to town.

Now all he needs is an event.

“I want to go to the Billy Barker Days people and say, ‘Look, we need something exciting and new that’ll get people interested.’ Right now we’ve got Crash to Pass, but that’s it.”

He points to the success of the event in Barriere, where there were only six tractors racing in the first event he went to. That ballooned to 29 at this year’s event.

“I think I could get eight or 10 from in town and as many as 15 from out of town, and then we’ve got a show. And that’s what it’s all about – a show for the people that we can have fun doing too.”



sports@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Quesnel Kangaroos take round one of playoffs versus Williams Lake

The Roos prevailed 6-4 in an exciting home game over their long time foes.

Educational Family Day fun at the Quesnel Museum and Archives

The museum provided games, scavenger hunts, snacks, a dress-up chest and free admission

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Quesnel ringette player excited to help Team B.C.

Katie Young will play centre for the squad at 2019 Canada Winter Games

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Most Read