Camel racing creates a real buzz

A giant bumblebee, two kings and Top Gear's The Stig are to race each other on camels in a surreal but popular competition being held at Fakenham Racecourse on Sunday.

It will be the second time the National Hunt course has hosted the camel race, which will see representatives from eight north Norfolk pubs do battle for the coveted wooden camel trophy, won last year by Pippa Case, representing The Crown in East Rudham.

All of the riders will be wearing fancy dress to represent their pub in some way, apart from Simon Wilson Stephens, from The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham, who has decided to ride dressed as The Stig from Top Gear.

The camels have been specially trained in Warwickshire and have been racing since 2000 at courses in Dorset, Devon, Sedgefield and Cheltenham.

They will race a distance of approximately 250 metres on the Fakenham course's home straight and the event will raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Mrs Case, who is helping to organise Sunday's race, said: 'It was really popular last year and it raised more than �3,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

'There's been a lot of excitement and healthy banter in the build up to this year's race. My brother will be riding for The Crown in East Rudham this time, so the pressure will be on him to make sure he retains the trophy.'

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She added: 'If it's as popular as it was last year then we might do it again next year. We'll see how it goes.'

Dan Watt will be racing for The Hunny Bell, Hunworth, dressed as he was last year as a giant bumblebee.

He said: 'I came somewhere near the back. It was really difficult.

'Most of the camels have two humps so the rider can sit in the middle, but mine had just one, which was very uncomfortable.

'The camels have a mind of their own and it's really difficult to control them.

'Let's just say I'm buzzing for revenge this year.'

The competition will be held in two heats of four and then a final.

A �1 bet could scoop a �100 prize and a meal for two at the winning pub.

Camel racing starts at 4.45pm following a programme of amateur racing.

There will be pony racing from 1.15pm and the first horse race is at 2pm.

Admission is �10, under 16s free.

Runners and riders...........

The Crown, East Rudham: Toby Sexton

The Hunny Bell, Hunworth: Dan Watt

The Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham: Simon Wilson Stephens

The Crown, Gayton: Kerry Sumner

The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market: Zoe Fuller

The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster: Emma Plumbe

The King's Arms, Blakeney: Alexander Vaughn-Jones

The Stiffkey Red Lion: Caroline Cooke

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