The United States Lawn Mower Racing Association provides the best venue for mower racing along with the best insurance coverage for their participants. There has been much discussion on the new USLMRA rule requiring billet flywheels on all ungoverned racing lawn mower engines except stock single cylinder engines. Being a relative newcomer to mower racing (this will be my 3rd year), when I heard about this rule I was totally against it. It meant that most of the guys that I had been racing with would either have to make a significant investment in a new flywheel, quit racing or race without insurance. I didn’t like any of those options. I objected to the rule loudly and found out that this issue had been going on for several years and that the USLMRA had given all racers significant advance notice that the rule was coming in 2012.
After much discussion, I was informed of why the decision to require the billet flywheels was made. There had been some flywheels that had come apart and did significant damage & injuries. More investigation was done and it was determined that the nuts holding the flywheels on had been over-tightened in some instances causing cracks around the flywheel hub. Several flywheels were removed and checked by magnafluxing and were found to have cracks. Realize that these engines are made for lawnmowers that typically never go over 5 mph & don’t turn more than 3000 rpm. The USLMRA’s main objective is to promote SAFE lawn mower racing and they provide one of the few and by far the best insurance policies for their racers. Anything that might jeopardize having this insurance has to be taken into great consideration. Having a flywheel come apart and causing or nearly causing injury (think of an improvised explosive device damage) has to be eliminated. If this rule was not implemented and there was a flywheel explosion, there is a good chance that none of us would be able to be insured when racing mowers. I am definitely against racing without insurance and therefore realized the importance of having this rule.
I know that this is going to require some of you to spend some money but we have to consider that is by far a better option than racing without insurance or worse yet, having someone injured or killed by flywheel shrapnel. Something to consider if you can’t afford or don’t want to spend the money for the flywheel is to put your governors back on or build a mower to run in one of the governed engine classes where the billet flywheel is not required.