Picture Gallery: Julie Walters opens 12 hour lawnmower race

BRITISH acting icon Julie Walters has become the latest Fast and Furious star.

But she is not appearing in the next movie of the franchise alongside Vin Diesel.

Julie Walters gets involved at the lawnmower race SUS-140813-103413001

Julie Walters gets involved at the lawnmower race SUS-140813-103413001

Instead, she was asked to signal the start of a rather different fast and furious race – the British Lawn Mower Racing Association 12-hour race.

In a test of sheer endurance and determination, some 34 teams took to the track at Five Oaks near Billingshurst to compete in the gruelling 12-hour lawn mower race.

The Hollywood star rolled up her sleeves and joined in the fun – even having a go in one of the lawn mowers – while fearless drivers manoeuvred sharp bends and uneven terrain.

The race starts at 8pm, finishing at 8am the following day, with teams made up of three drivers who swap around before completing laps in darkness.

The best lap time was one minute and 39 seconds in lap 11, by team MBS-Racingteam Luxembourg.

The winners on the day were Northerners Kick Grass, who shot to victory with 366 laps, a best time of one minute, 41 seconds in lap 12, and a top speed of 48.873s.

The crew completed the race in just over 12 hours.

On the very first lap, one of the mowers overturned while negotiating a particularly treacherous bend.

Lawn mower racing was started back in 1973 by Irishman Jim Gavin, who, with some friends, had gone down to The Cricketers Arms in Wisborough Green for a few pints one lunchtime to discuss his latest motor sport idea.

Races have attracted sporting legends including Sir Stirling Moss, who won the annual 12-hour race, cricketers Phil Tufnell and Jason Gillespie, and superbike rider Guy Martin.