VERONA — In May, Rob and Beth Rayburg began building R and B Raceway in Verona, a track which features 200-foot-long straightaways and now is the home to lawnmower races and demolitions derbies which act as fundraisers for the community.
Rob said the idea came from watching races online when he and his wife Beth decided to make the track in the center of Verona something to do on the Saturday of the Verona Victory Days Festival.
On Saturday, Sept 12, the final races of the year were held as fundraiser for the Verona Fire Department.
These lawnmowers aren’t your everyday lawnmowers according to the Rayburgs, who said the majority of the mowers are built by hand and reach speeds somewhere between 30 and 40 miles per hour.
Not only do the events feature races, but they also feature demolition derbies in a pit built inside the homemade race track.
According to the Rayburgs, the races don’t have a lot of rules yet since they are in the early stages of developing the event — but they do have multiple classes one can enter.
Rob said for now the races are strictly about fun and entertainment and helping raise money for good causes.
The racing features three classes, including an open class, twin class and single cylinder class. The derbies feature pro-stock, yard-stock and modified mowers.
The racers travel at enough speed the dangers of flipping are real, as one racer who was not participating on Saturday found out when he flipped the week before in practice.
Rayburg said all racers must wear helmets, and mowers must feature a kill-switch for safety precautions.
The demolitions feature about 10 mowers in a pit until only one mower is left running. The races are ten-lap races with approximately five racers on the track.
For the Rayburgs, they are just having fun for now but plan to keep building the track.
“We’re going to build it and built it,” said Rob, who wants to get more races in the future. “They have national lawnmower races so our goal is to eventually get them to come race here.”
The track even allows kids to join in on the fun, as they host power wheel demolition derbies using balloons tied to the front of battery powered cars with toddlers at the wheel.
The races are most likely over until spring rolls back around, but those interested in joining in next year will need to pay $20 for the derby and $15 for the race to help go to the Verona Victory Days fund or other charitable causes.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-456-4062 or on Twitter @ aschmidt_RH.