How Fast Can You Go on a... Lawnmower?


When you think land-speed records, you usually think Lamborghini or Ferrari. You think Bonneville Salt Flats and Frank Lockhart and rocket-powered super cars that go 500 mph, or even 763 mph, as Andy Green did in 1997.

What you don't think of, however, is a man named Bob Cleveland, who holds the land speed record on a lawnmower, clocking in at a remarkable 80.792 mph on Bonneville Salt Flats in July, 2006. But Cleveland, who built the lawnmower himself, has competition now.

Don Wales, the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who gained the world speed record on land and on water at various times during the 1920s and 1930s using vehicles called Blue Bird, is setting out next month to top Cleavland's record by hitting 100 mph on a Kawasaki lawnmower that only goes 10 mph out of the box. (Wales is also the nephew of Donald Campbell, who was actually killed trying to set a land speed record.)

Wales, who holds the world land-speed record for a car driven by steam, has a team of technicians working on pimping out the lawnmower. (See video below). But here's the catch: in order to make the, er, cut, and get into the Guinness records, the team has to prove that the mower is, indeed, capable of cutting grass in the morning of the record attempt.