Training commences for the World Snail Racing Championships 2018
- Credit: IAN BURT
More than 200 snails will be slugging it out at the World Snail Racing Championships.
Being held at Congham near King's Lynn on Saturday, July 21, the championships forms part of Congham Fete which raises funds for St Andrew's Church.
Tension is mounting as owners prepare snails for the 13 inch course, with some owners waiting until nearer the date before deciding which snail is on best form.
Some snails have been in training for weeks while other enthusiasts wait until the big day and get a snail from the garden.
For more than 25 years, the World Snail Racing Championships has been held in Congham, which is described to be the ideal snail racing village for its low-lying lands surrounded by ponds.
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Farmer Neil Riseborough is snail trainer to the World Championships. He keeps order, tests for drugs, watches out for cheating and starts the races.
He said: 'I expect some tremendous snails this year. We had a very wet spring and this leads to good snails.
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'However, they haven't liked the recent hot weather, it makes them very sluggish. Some snails might even refuse to race.'
The world record of two minutes over 13 inches was set in 1995 by a snail called Archie.
Current champion, Larry, with a time of two minutes and 27 seconds, will be defending his title.
Owner Tara Beasely, from Castle Acre, said: 'I have looked after Larry carefully all year.
'He is now in training and eating mostly cucumber. I have high hopes he'll go away with the title again.'
The fete will have all the usual attractions and stalls, including a ukulele band, snail mask-making for children and strawberry and cream teas.
The first heat of the snail racing starts at 2pm. Snails who enter the race will have a number sticker placed on their shell so they can be easily identified.
There are heats all afternoon with a final just after 4pm. Entry is free and snails can be provided at the fete.
The fete is being held on the cricket field at Congham, next to Congham Hall. Entry is free with ample car parking provided.