World Snail Racing Championships 2017

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Over 150 snails slugged it out in the annual World championships on Saturday 15th July 2017. The Championships have been running since the 1960s.

The gastropod games are held on top of a table, which has a special damp cloth spread out on it. The cloth has three circles marked on it. The snails are placed in the middle and the first one to reach the outer circle is crowned the winner.

The races are started by a shout of “ready, steady, slow” by Neil Riseborough who is the organiser of the quirky event.

Anyone, young or old, can take part in the World Snail Racing Championships. Competitors may bring their own snails from their gardens if they wish.

The championship heats are held throughout the afternoon, with a grand final at the end with all the heat winners. The winner receives a silver tankard, which is stuffed with lettuce leaves as a reward for the triumphant snail.

The Guinness World Record was set back in 1995, when a snail called “Archie” completed the 13in (33 centimetres) course in a far from sluggish time of two minutes and 20 seconds.

The Championships are held as part of a local fete and entrants pay 20p for each snail to race.

Weather conditions were cloudy but pretty humid, which made for slow going or sluggish.

Last year's winner, Herbie 2 returned to see if he could take back-to-back titles – but it wasn’t to be, he was knocked out in the first round!

This year's winner was Larry, owned and trained by Tara Beasley 41, from Castle Acre in Norfolk. His time was 2 minutes and 47 seconds. His prize a tankard of rocket salad leaves.

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