A quiet afternoon in 1988 descended into an unbridled alcohol-fuelled rivalry between five suburban neighbours at the Harrietville pub.
Half the town turned out to watch as the group heaved their unmodified lawnmowers up a steep embankment, rounded a gum tree at high speed, and then threw their Briggs and Strattons into 'angel gear' as they plummeted down the hill again.
And so the art of lawnmower racing was born.
Now a sport that boasts hundreds of members nationwide, it hosts 10 race days a year. In May, the contest came to Albury and in June the competitors will descend on Forbes.
For competitor Ray McKay from Lakes Entrance, Victoria, the sport represents a winning reprieve from life in a wheelchair. The 53-year-old was born with spina bifida.
"I was born partially paralysed, I don't walk so I'm in a wheelchair," Mr McKay said.
"But I'm a petrol head. My father was a mechanic and I used to race the speedway. I raced trikes in the '80s and got into open-wheel speedway cars, both building and racing them."
Over almost a decade, Mr McKay has turned his attention to modified lawnmower racing.
"It's built the same, but with my disability, I have hand-controls for the gears and the brakes," Mr McKay said.
"We have handlebars so it's like a motorbike handle brake, but I do have to let go with the left hand to change the gears so that takes getting used to."
Mr McKay's journey into lawnmower racing began when his son's engineering teacher suggested he take the blades out of an old machine and turn it into a racer.
"It became apparent that it wasn't just a simple modification, it was something we had to build up from scratch," Mr McKay said.
Once built, Mr McKay's 25-year-old mechanic son Ashley took it out for a spin in 2014 and from then on, he was sold on the sport. His father was soon to follow.
"One day, at the end of a race meeting, I hopped in and had a go and that was it, I was hooked," Mr McKay said.
"What I enjoy about it is, it's a way to do motorsport that is low cost. It's hands-on, you build it, you race it."
Now, the father and son duo race alongside each other, often sharing the winner's podium at national title events.
In 2017, Mr McKay finished third to his son's first in the outlaw class of the Australian Mower Titles in Griffith.
"I've mostly enjoyed being able to race alongside my son," Mr McKay said.
"I've beaten the boy from time to time on the local level, so we tend to mix it up. He's the one to beat for me.
"He's got three little ones now and we're building a mower for his eldest. She's just about to turn five, and that's the thing about this sport. It's very family orientated, everyone gets involved."
It's a similar passion that's kept Gavin Barry from Berrigan returning to the sport with his 17-year-old son, Blake.
The 50-year-old father first raced in 2007 at the Berrigan canola festival, but he'd been watching the sport since about 2000.
"I own a motorbike and mower shop and my brother-in-law called me up to say come and have a look at this," Mr Barry said.
At that time, it was a wild sport.
"On the day, three ambulances came and took people away with all sorts of injuries," he recalls.
"The cutter decks had been removed and motorbike engines had been put in, but other than that it was pretty well a standard mower. They kept tipping over and it didn't look too safe."
Five years later, the sport went through enormous modification. The modified mowers were adjusted to sit lower and the drivers experienced far fewer flips. That's when he decided to give it a go.
"Nearly everyone can get into it now," he said.
"You've got the kids on postie bike motors, and they're quick little ones. You've got mothers, fathers, kids all racing and getting involved. If someone breaks down, everyone jumps in to get them started again."
Now Mr Barry and his blue-and-black 'Berrigan Monster' mower travel all over the nation to compete. Since 2012, he's been able to introduce his son to the sport as well.
"He won the junior champ 200cc category, now he's on track to win the championship," Mr Barry said.
For Blake though, driving the mowers is just one of a long list of speedway events he's turned his hand to.
"I've been riding motorbikes all my life but this is a little different [because] of the four wheels instead of two. It handles a little differently," he said.
The next time the racers will assemble will be on June 13 in Forbes. Keen mower enthusiast David Teale has organised the event, which will be the first time the championships have been brought to the Central West town.
"We've got racers aged from about five to 71 and they're a great bunch, we have a ball," said the 49-year-old organiser.
Mr Teale was first introduced to lawnmower racing six years ago when he was told of an upcoming race in Griffiths.
"We built one and went over for the race. Then we built another three after that," Mr Teale said.
"Usually there's nothing like this around us in Forbes, so we have to travel out to them. There are usually 35 to 40 mowers at the local events, most have travelled in for it. At the nationals, there's 140."
Over the past two decades, Di Millsteed has been the voice of the raceway events.
She estimates she's been to more than 200 races in the time that she's served as the the president of the Australian Ride On Lawn Mower Racing Association (AROLMA).
Yet she's never sat behind the wheel herself.
"I do all the commentary, I get into the pits, I organise it all, I do it well," she said.
"They put on the show, I run the show, but I've never wanted to race."
The 47-year-old from Katandra in Victoria first came across the sport when her now-ex-husband found his calling behind the wheel.
In the years since, she's become more and more involved with the sport, despite never actually participating on the track.
"It was the attitudes of the competitors and the camaraderie that hooked me," Ms Millsteed said.
"I've been involved in a lot of sporting clubs and this one is unique. The rivalry is only on the track and it sounds corny but there's compassion out there. Every time I see it I'm amazed."
Given her position on the sidelines, Ms Millsteed is adamant, there is something to boost the competitive nature of even the least petrol-fuelled fan on the track.
As a non-racer, her greatest achievement is not found in hoisting trophies overhead, but rather in promoting the perfect environment for others to enjoy.
"This is still a motorsport so there's always going to be a risk, but it's kept to a minimum with just roll-overs and nothing serious," Ms Millsteed said.
"If everyone goes home safely, then it's a good day for me. I'm proud of my track record in keeping everyone safe."
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