ELLERBE — The new and improved Lions’ Den dirt track is a hit with lawnmower racers.
Drivers tested out the reconfigured track at a “test and tune, meet and greet” event held Saturday at the Ellerbe Lions Club facility. Lawnmower races will return next month as the track reopens under new management.
The new track has modified straightaways and a smoother turn to improve safety, according to Rex Crouch Jr. and Wayne Taylor Jr., who are teaming up to manage the Lions Club lawnmower track.
“Pankey and Son Hauling used a motor grader to pull the straightaways in and widen the turns,”Crouch said Saturday. “Wayne and Josh Raines also pulled giant tires behind a truck to help smooth the track out.”
Crouch will manage track operations and Taylor, a Richmond County native now living in Ocean Isle Beach, will officiate the races. The pair are replacing Kermit Perkins, who resigned as race manager June 14 in a dispute with the Lions Club over concession sales.
U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association-sanctioned races are scheduled to resume Aug. 9 and continue every two weeks until the season ends in November. Races will be held Aug. 9, Aug. 23, Sept. 6, Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 18 and Nov. 1.
Gates will open at 2 p.m. each race day, with registration and practice running until 5 and a drivers’ meeting at 5:30, Crouch said. The races begin at 6 p.m.
“We hope to have another national race next year,” Crouch previously said. “We’ve already got some interest from some other tracks who want to come up and run with us. We hope to have a lot more races next year.”
The Ellerbe Lions Club uses proceeds from the races — which include admission fees and a flat fee that vendors pay in order to sell food at the track — to purchase eyeglasses for visually impaired Richmond County residents, award two $1,000 Lions Club scholarships and make donations to libraries and local schools.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674.