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8 Motorsports You Probably Never Knew Existed

Updated December 30, 2015

There are countless types of alternative motorsports. Some began purely for fun, others over dissatisfaction with exiting rules. Let’s check these out eight.

It’s hard to image that many of these sports didn’t start after a few rounds of adult beverages amongst a few like-minded enthusiasts. In fact, scientists have now discovered that alcohol consumption that remains below the legal limit can actually enable creative thinking. Maybe the groups who invented these sports drank a little over the legal limit, but there ‘s not a single of racing below I personally wouldn’t want to try at least once.

Lawn Mower Racing

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Lawn Mower Racing is a form of motorsport in which competitors race-modified garden tractors, usually of the ride-on variety. The original mower engines are retained, but blades are removed for safety. The sport attracts all ages, and is usually entered into in a spirit of fun rather than extreme competitiveness. Unlike, say, and F1 car, where the driver is low and centrally-located, body English is import skill required of the driver of a racing lawn mower.

Bar Stool Racing

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Rules for bar stool vary by region and by country, with machines racing on surfaces ranging from paved kart tracks to dirt ovals. Power can come through a small four-stroke Honda gasoline engine or through an electric motor with on-board batteries. These stools feature a longer wheelbase than many, with front and rear aerodynamic aids.

Yard Karts

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Yard Karting grew out of kart racers’ frustrations with the increasing expense and complication of racing traditional road racing karts. Yard karts feature simpler frame designs, often home made to published designs. Engines are typical low hp Honda or Chinese clone equivalents, and a single set of tires can last an entire season of racing.

VW Beetle Drags

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There are numerous racing organizations out there sanctioning VW races throughout the US, South America, the UK, and Europe. There are a variety of classes ranging from street stock to dragsters running blown VW motors hitting over 200 mph in the quarter-mile. Stock-bodied VWs are running as fast as 185 mph. Not bad for a car that started at 1200 cc with 36 hp.

6 hour Moped Races

Start of 6 hour moped race

I don’t have much to share here other than in Europe and Australia drivers like to embarrass themselves in six-hour 50cc moped races. The rules vary, but typically include a stock and a modified class. And these are real mopeds, too. Check out the pedals on the bikes. I wonder if it’s ever faster to pedal than use the engine?

Garden Tractor Pulling

Two Top Garden Tractor Pull 6-27-09 160

Just like the big boys, those multi-engine, nitro-burning tractors that seem to go hand-in-hand with monster trucks, Garden Tractor Pull operate on the same principle – the winner is the driver would drags the weight he or she is pulling the furthest. There are stock classes, included those for kids, right up to Super Modified classes where there’s more room for “creativity”. There are several sanctioning bodies across the country, typically centered around farming areas.

Ice Racing

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Common in many parts of the world where rivers and lakes freeze solid for the duration of the winter (no need to drop any cars through the ice). In Scandinavia it’s typically FWD and AWD cars that compete, in France a hard-packed snow and ice race track is created on dry land, and in the northernmost of the United States, cars and rules are very much localized. In what appears to appear to be several type of racing lines being used here, some better than others. The advantage is that speeds are low, cars react slowly, and there’s not much to hit off track.

Swamp Buggy Racing

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A specialty of the Great State of Florida, swamp buggy competitors drive their vehicles, with tall narrow tires in the front, fat paddles in the rear and a bunch of wheelbase in the middle. The drive sits far forward and the engine is toward the rear. Like all racing, first across the line wins. What’s going on with the sunken racer in the middle of the photo is anyone’s guess.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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