Towing Tips for Lawnmower Racing

336x286You will most likely use a small open trailer to tow a racing lawn mower to your first event. Later on in your racing career and as you travel further to compete in lawnmower racing, you may upgrade to a larger, fully enclosed trailer. This will allow you to carry the specialty tools and equipment required to maintain and repair your mower. Follow the tips below for safe passage.

Consider the towing capacity of your vehicle. This information is located on the tag under the hood or on the inside of the door frame of the vehicle. The capacity should also be noted inside your user’s manual. If you intend to purchase a new vehicle, be sure to include the tow-package option. The tow-package will generally include larger brakes, a transmission cooler, and perhaps a larger engine.

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There is a lot on weight associated with lawnmower racing, so before you overload your new enclosed trailer and create an unsafe condition, check the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). This is the total allowable combined trailer weight including the trailer, tools, equipment, and racing mower inside.

Never exceed the manufacturer recommended capacity of the tow vehicle. Overloading the vehicle may create unsafe driving conditions. It also causes premature wear and damage to the transmission and engine.

Be sure to use the correct ball hitch when towing your lawnmower racing equipment.  It needs to be rated to match the fully loaded capacity of your trailer. Use the table below as a quick guide, but check with the manufacturer of your equipment to confirm the actual load rating.

Typical Ball Hitch Capacity: Ball Dia. Bolt Dia. GVWR rating Class
• 1 7/8″ 3/4″ 2,000 LBS 1
• 2″ 3/4″ 3,500 LBS 2
• 2″ 1″ 5,000 LBS 3
• 2″ 1 1/4″ 8,000 LBS 3
• 2 5/16″ 1″ 6,000 LBS 3
• 2 5/16″ 1 1/4″ 12,000 LBS 4

Check with the manufacturer to confirm the capacity for your specific model.

The first time you hitch up to your new trailer to go to your lawnmower racing event, you may require a guide to assist you as you are backing up. This can be one of the more intimidating parts of towing a trailer, and may be even more daunting at night. You might want to practice this maneuver in an open field before you travel for the first time. A tip for a rookie racer is placing your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to move. If things aren’t working out, simply pull forward and try it again.

Once the ball is aligned with the trailer, place your truck in park, set the emergency brake, lower the trailer tongue, and lock the ball in place. Connect the safety chains and ensure that they do not drag on the road.

Most states now require the use of trailer brakes. Connect the breakaway emergency brake activation cable to a secure mount on the frame of the tow vehicle. Connect the lights and test both the brake lights and the running lights.

When you load the racing lawnmower onto the trailer, tie it down securely using four ratchet tie downs. Each pair of tie downs will form an X pattern, one in the front and one in the rear. I recall seeing a rookie arrive at the lawnmower racing rack with a brand new, beautiful racing machine. He only used one tie down. By the time he arrived at the track, the back of the new racer was severely damaged as was the new trailer door. In fact, the trailer door was torn almost completely away from the frame as it was beaten to death by the racer rolling back and forth throughout the entire journey.

As you pull away, test the brakes before you accelerate up to speed, and then you are off to the lawnmower races!

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