Raise the lawn with high-speed Honda
It is that time of the year again. Spring is in the air. The daffodils are in bloom. Bees are buzzing and the lawn needs to be cut. Iain P W Robertson knows of a less arduous and speedier method than usual…
One of my best friends also happens to be the owner of a top-flight car racing team. The fact that the car is a Honda and the team races two Civic Tourer models under the same banner in the immensely popular British Touring Car Championship, is merely grist to the mill.
All successful players in almost any commercial field will need a promotional medium on occasions. Therefore, it is particularly apposite that Team Honda Racing, as operated by the Birmingham-based Team Dynamics, can exercise its engineering resources, complete with a soupcon of wit, on one of its core sponsor’s products.
While I longer own a large garden that is worthy of mowing by riding aboard the ‘King of Lawnmowers’, the desire to own a ‘ride-on’ remains undiminished. Oh, you can get powered mowers…that’s not a problem…even those that drive themselves and reduce the operator’s workload to little more than an accompanying walk. However, a ‘ride-on’ is the ultimate expression of testosterone-fuelled man-work.
Remember…we invented fire (although, slightly over-fuelled by one too many Budweisers, last summer, it appears that next door’s wife is more competent at igniting the barbecue than we were)…we formulated the wheel and we earn the main crust. We ARE men (emits manly growl)! A ‘ride-on’ is our privilege.
Team Dynamics took one Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor, replaced its otherwise excellent chassis with a 4130 chrome-moly tubing space-frame, replaced the engine with a one-litre power unit from a Honda Firestorm motorbike and then installed the uprated suspension and alloy wheels from an all-terrain vehicle. The idea was to retain as much of the appearance of the donor vehicle, along with its grass-cutting capabilities, as possible.
Fortunately, the capacious cuttings collector box at the rear of the tractor had enough space within it to also supplement the engine’s enhanced performance, with the incorporation of a larger capacity petrol tank, a higher capacity oil-cooler and a secondary coolant radiator. Of course, the cutting disc located beneath the tractor had to be retained but that did not stop the team remanufacturing it from glass-fibre for lightness but also including a pair of electric motors to drive a couple of 3mm steel cutting cables.
While travelling at the tractor’s new top speed and giving the lawn a haircut might be impossible, ironically the Team Dynamics super-mower will still carry out the task at twice the 7.5mph maximum speed of the standard ‘ride-on’ machine. Of course, it needs to be comfortable and a Cobra racing seat was fitted in place of the Honda original item, while a sequential six-speed, paddle-shift gearbox was also installed. The steering was upgraded by fitting a Morris Minor rack and, for even greater aural effect, a Scorpion exhaust system now emerges from the side of the tractor.
To add some value to the exercise, Honda shipped the super-mower to a test facility in Spain recently and it has now been run out to create a Guinness World Record of 116.57mph for its maximum speed, which is enough to eclipse the previous ‘fastest lawnmower’ record by over 30mph. Yet, there might be more, because the machine is geared to pull around 130mph and can log the 0-60mph benchmark in a blistering 4.0 seconds, faster than a great many sportscars. Now, if only I can get the old Ransome’s to start, I might be prepared to challenge it.