Camel racing comes to Norfolk
Emma Knights They are more commonly seen in the arid deserts of the Middle East, but a group of camels took centre stage in rural Norfolk.For while it is usually horses that race to the finish line at Fakenham Racecourse, on Sunday evening, April 25> the venue hosted what is believed to be East Anglia's inaugural camel racing event as part of the West Norfolk Amateur Racing Club's Point-to-Point.
They are more commonly seen in the arid deserts of the Middle East, but a group of camels took centre stage in rural Norfolk.
For while it is usually horses that race to the finish line at Fakenham Racecourse, on Sunday evening, April 25> the venue hosted what is believed to be East Anglia's inaugural camel racing event as part of the West Norfolk Amateur Racing Club's Point-to-Point.
Four camels - two single-humped dromedaries and two bactrians which have two humps - took part in the charity races in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
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Each of them was ridden by a representative from one of eight north Norfolk pubs with each rider wearing a colourful fancy dress costume inspired by the name of their watering hole.
Pip Case, of The Crown at East Rudham, won the first race, and Kerry Sumner, of The Crown at Gayton won the second. Then the two Crowns went head to head with the East Rudham pub being named the ultimate champion.
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Mrs Case, who had never been on a camel before, said: “I found the camel racing quite terrifying. I was expecting a smoother gallop, and steering was bit of a problem but fortunately the camel went in the right direction.
“It is certainly not as easy as it looks. I am really excited for The Crown to have won the competition.”
Norfolk-born actress Miranda Raison, star of spy drama Spooks and ITV comedy Married Single Other, presented the prizes.
She said: “I absolutely loved the camel racing. It was such a fun thing to do and for such a worthy cause. “It was my first time seeing a camel race although I did have a ride on a camel in Tunisia once.”
The four camels, from Warwickshire-based Joseph's Amazing Camels, have been special trained to run in straight line over a one furlong course towards a bucket of food at the finish line.
t see Sport, page 32 for a full report on the point-to-point event