December 6 2013 Latest news:
STORY: Daniel Mansfield
Sunday, October 13, 2013
The humble potato took centre stage in Ely on Saturday as 10 teams battled it out in the second annual Isle of Ely Potato Race.
Hundreds lined the High Street – some even hanging out of shop windows - to cheer on the teams as they sprinted the half-a-mile course each laden with a 20kg bag of spuds, all of which had been grown by farmers in the Fens surrounding the city.
The two-man Star Radio team of Oliver and Adam Scott were crowned worthy champions, comfortably winning their heat before, in the final, powering away from runners-up Paradise Pool in the dash to the line.
The Atrium gymnasium team came in third while last year’s champions, PJ Lee & Sons came in fourth.
Star Radio was racing on behalf of A.L Lee & Son while the Paradise Pool was carrying Mott Farmers produce.
Teams from Sainsbury, Waitrose and Fenn Direct also took part but were knocked out in the heats.
Austen Dack, of organisers Isle of Ely Produce, billed the event as the “Monaco of the potato racing world”, comparing the city’s cobbled High Street to the glamorous French principality.
And, while the race couldn’t boast the same Mediterranean sunshine for which Monaco is famed, it certainly created a buzz of excitement that would do any Formula 1 circuit proud.
Mr Dack said: “It was a fantastic race and we look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year.”
Donations on the day helped to raise more than £700 for charity from the event.
The event is put on by Isle of Ely Produce to celebrate the region’s potato growers and the local harvest festival.
Owned and managed by the Boutwood family, Isle of Ely Produce was established in 1994.
Director Oliver Boutwood said: It was lovely to see so many people coming out to support the teams today, Isle of Ely Produce are happy to play such an important part in the community and will continue to invest in these types of events in the future. “The event underlines our pledge to support the journey of the potato from the field to the fryer” he said.
Mr Boutwood said over £700 was raised for local charities “some of which will go to the Ely Rotarians who did a marvellous job stewarding the event along the high street”.
RACE FACT: The winning duo from this year received £100 cash prize and a trophy. All competitors got to keep their potatoes as part of their entry fee