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Meet Grantham snail Sammy, the world's 'fastest snail'

The new world champion snail racer is a woman from Grantham.

Maria Welby owns Sammy, a snail which won the World Snail Racing Championship at Congham in Norfolk at the weekend.

The title crossed the border into Lincolnshire following a packed afternoon of racing at Congham’s annual fete on Saturday.

Maria Welby with her world champion snail Sammy. Photo: Mark Scase (14238282)
Maria Welby with her world champion snail Sammy. Photo: Mark Scase (14238282)

More than 200 snails took part in the competition, which dates back to the 1960s.

Sammy completed the 13-inch course first in the final to claim the trophy. He covered the course in two minutes, 38 seconds.

Maria said: “I’m ecstatic. I went out this morning an ordinary woman and now I’m the owner of a world champion! I always believed Sammy had it in him. Perhaps this is a new career for me in snail racing.

“We picked him out of the box, saw him eating a lettuce leaf and thought he had real snail prowess and it turned out to be a great choice.”

A horde of gooey, sticky gastropods raced on a dampened circular race course where the ordinary rules of racing do not apply.

Some went the wrong way, others slid their way into each other and even climbed on top of each other, or entwined themselves together in a desperate ultra-slow motion attempt to find the winning post.

Earlier, a giant snail tried to slither its slimy way into the field but snail master, Neil Riseborough, declared it a non-starter. Just for the fun of it, owner Lisa Hecker had tried to smuggle in an African land snail which is as big as a hand. Had it been allowed the cannibal snailmight have gulped and gorged its way to victory.

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