Striping lawns. Making memories.
By Vicki Butler-Henderson
My mission was simple: I wanted the best machine to mow my lawn in all weathers. And that’s exactly what I’ve got with my Countax C60. But I’ve also ended up with something magical that I didn’t envisage at all, and that’s the revelation that this garden tractor is making great memories for me and my young family every time I turn the key.
When I was a toddler, I clearly recall sitting on my father’s knee whilst he drove a full-scale tractor around our farm, teaching me how to steer. And last weekend it was my turn to let my four-year-old daughter experience just that, as we sped about the grass on the Countax doing our best to design the most interesting patterns in our wake.
In a world where we are all time-poor, it has come as an epiphany that I can turn the practical job of cutting the grass into a bi-product of spending precious moments with my daughter –genius!
In my day job, the red machines I usually drive have a prancing horse logo on the bonnet and a thumping great V8 engine underneath to rocket them down the road. The C60, obviously, won’t win a drag race against a Ferrari, but it does share one highly-prized feature – wind-in-the-hair driving. And I’ve found it incredibly liberating to be in control of something without having to look through a windscreen or wear a seatbelt or a helmet, and I’ve totally fallen for the drinks holder which, to my unbridled joy, fits my unbreakable champagne picnic glass. The only other motor in which I’ve enjoyed some fizz on the move was in the back of a Rolls Royce Phantom. Esteemed company, indeed.
The Countax, though, is the first machine I’ve owned where I’m not concerned about its 0-60mph time. I’m just content in letting the 603cc twin-cylinder (in a V-formation, so it’s a tiny bit like a V8…) Kawasaki engine purr along.
However, the petrol-head in me needed to know its power and torque figures so, for like-minded souls, it has 16hp and 38Nm. A far cry from a Ferrari 458 Spider’s 570hp and 540Nm, but then it’s a far cry from the Italian’s £200,000 price tag too. And if that ever did do a bit of unscheduled grass cutting, it certainly can’t collect it.
Admiring the results of the Countax’s 42-inch cutter deck’s energetic spinning gives me exactly the same warm glow as building a successful fire – it feels like I’ve just fed a basic human desire and satisfied the caveman in me. But I’ll be even more satisfied when I’ve mastered the dark art of perfect stripes around a tree – that might take a while.
In the meantime though I’m excited to drive a machine that’s made in Britain, predominately by hand, by passionate people who understand the unpredictability of maintaining a lawn under British skies. The powered brush that sweeps the cut grass from the floor into the collector – even in the wet – is awesome and was the initial attraction for me. That, plus the fact that my Fifth Gear colleague Tiff Needell has had his Countax for decades –so, here’s to years of memories (and tons of grass) with mine. Cheers!