Ready, steady slow as World Snail Racing Championships return to Norfolk

Colin Voss with winning snail Herbie 2. Picture: Mark Scase

Colin Voss with winning snail Herbie 2. Picture: Mark Scase - Credit: Archant

The Derby of the snail racing world was marred by the death of the defending champion, while weather conditions were blamed for poor times.

The new World Snail Racing Champion is a snail called Herbie 2. Herbie 2 covered the 13 inch course at Congham, near King's Lynn in 3 minutes 25 seconds.

Snail trainer Neil Riseborough said: 'This was a very slow time, when you think that the record is 2 minutes.

'But all afternoon times have been slow. The snails didn't seem able to keep straight. They were going round and round. It was bizarre. But it was a very close day. I put the slow times down to atmospherics.'

Herbie 2's owner, 45-yer-old software consultant Colin Voss from Histon in Cambridgeshire, said: 'This is fantastic. I'm so pleased. I am fascinated by World Championships but this is the first time I've won one. It is wonderful to be going home covered in glory.

'I found Herbie 2 in my garden and I just thought he looked fast. I'm going to keep him there until next year. My garden is fully organic and my wife loves the garden, so she'll be able to look after Herbie 2 for me.'

Mr Voss said it was well worth the long trip from Cambridgeshire to Norfolk to win such a prestigious race

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Last year's World Champion, George, belonging to Dale Thomas, from Gayton, was due to defend his title.

But, sadly George died suddenly the day before the championships. It's not clear whether the stress of defending his title was to blame.

'I am gutted I had kept George for a year and I hoped we could hang on to the title,' said Mr Thomas.

The World Snail Racing Championships are part of Congham fete, held to raise money for the 15th century St Andrew's Church.

More than 2,000 people attended on a perfect summer's day and about £3,000 was raised.