Grasshead Racers

On the day of the annual 12 hour lawnmower race, Murray Walker samples a sport which has attracted both Stirling Moss and Oliver Reed.

As the grasshead racers gun their Atcos and Qualcasts round a field in Dorset at a dizzying 35mph, Murray is moved to pick up his commentator's microphone once more to describe this most spectacular, and democratic, of motor sports.

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To honour the great motor racing commentator, Murray Walker, who died last month aged 97, Radio 4 is repeating the programme that, in 2004 , tempted him out of retirement - Grasshead Racers.

In his long career as a commentator Murray Walker covered all manner of motor sports, so when radio producer Julian May told him about lawn mower racing he was intrigued. He agreed to present a programme exploring it, on one condition - that he would not have to commentate.

At the Le Mans (if he's not mistaken) of the lawn mower racing world - a field dotted with straw bales in Kingston Maurwood, Dorset, Murray spends a summer's day with members of the British Lawn Mower Racing Association and discovers this is a sport with wide appeal. Sir Stirling Moss reveals he was a keen lawn mower racer; Oliver Reed was as enthusiastic, but less controlled. Murray meets one competitor with more world championships than Michael Schumacher.

So impressed is Murray by these grasshead racers and their diligently fettled machines that he can't resist picking up the announcer's microphone and painting the scene in words, commentating one last time on this most spectacular and democratic motor sport.

Lawnmowers, Murray reveals, have a surprisingly sexy provenance: Mr Benz of Mercedes launched his career making lawn mowers; Royal Enfield, more famous for their guns and motorcycles, made mowers. So did Rolls Royce!

But the real enthusiasts, like Bugatti owners, like to mount their chariots and tank them. Murray Walker joins them, enjoying the heady aroma of 2 stroke and grass clippings as, lap after lap, the grasshead racers gun their classic mowers over Kingston Maurwood's greensward at speeds approaching a dizzying 35mph.

Presenter: Murray Walker
Producer: Julian May

Murray Walker explores the most democratic and spectacular motor sport - lawn mower racing

Legendary motor racing commentator Murray Walker explores the most democratic of motor sports - lawnmower racing. From 2004.

On the day of the annual 12 hour lawnmower race, Murray Walker samples a sport which has attracted both Stirling Moss and Oliver Reed.

Then News.

As the grasshead racers gun their Atcos and Qualcasts round a field in Dorset at a dizzying 35mph, Murray is moved to pick up his commentator's microphone once more to describe this most spectacular, and democratic, of motor sports.Murray Walker explores the most democratic of motor sports - lawnmower racing.

As the grasshead racers gun their Atcos and Qualcasts round a field in Dorset at a dizzying 35mph, Murray is moved to pick up his commentator's microphone once more to describe this most spectacular, and democratic, of motor sports.Legendary motor racing commentator Murray Walker explores the most democratic of motor sports - lawnmower racing. From 2004.

World-famous motor racing commentator Murray Walker explores the most democratic of motor sports - lawnmower racing. From July 2004.

Legendary motor racing commentator Murray Walker explores the most democratic of motor sports - lawnmower racing. From 2004.