A RECORD equalling fourth win is in sight for this year’s Pagham Pram Race victors.
Morgan Powell-Jones, Kieron Lafferty, Patrick Elsbury and George Hibberd took first place for the third year in a row.
Their hat-trick of successes in the 70th anniversary staging of the Boxing Day crowd-puller means the 22-year-olds from Chichester are just one away from matching the race’s all-time greats.
Morgan said: “We have taken part in the race for five years and won it for the past three.
“We will be coming back next year because we want to equal the record.
“We love doing the race. We’re all at university and it gives us a chance to catch up.
The winning team, named Star Whores, went round the three-mile course in about 15 minutes.
The team’s arrival at the finishing line was greeted enthusiastically by the large crowd estimated to be about 6,000 strong around the course.
The race has been held on Boxing Day since 1946 when a group of demobbed servicemen decided to race each other with one pushing a pram and the other as a baby in it.
The challenge was to drink a pint of beer at the village’s pubs for a prize of a Christmas cake made by local ladies.
The route has stayed the same, except for the small diversion to the Pagham Beach Cafe for a pint, after the closure of the King’s Beach Hotel opposite. The Bear and The Lamb continue to play their part in a successful day which contributes to thousands of pounds raised for good causes around Pagham annually.
This year’s entries could also enjoy a celebration cake.
The rich fruit cake, which measured 2ft X 1ft, was made by the British Sugarcraft Guild’s Bognor Regis branch.
President and secretary Christine Harris said it had taken about 200 hours for the branch’s 21 members to make.
“It was a really good team effort. Some of us made the cake. Some of us made the icing,” she said.
The cake was topped by eight plaques of icing which depicted pram race links like the pub signs and a working Nyetimber Mill which is the race’s starting point. There were also ten miniature prams with their babies and pushers.
A total of 52 teams - with about 150 competitors - entered this year’s race. Their fancy dress made a colourful sight as they battled the 40mph south westerly wind at the race’s start.
There were Father Christmases, Batman, The Mystery Machine, Shrek, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, huskies and a sled, an Australian entry with an inflatable kangaroo and a Swiss entry of a mini-Matterhorn complete with oversized Alpine horn.
The first females home were the Christmas-themed Jane Reynolds and Janette Woodland, 50, of Crawley.
Jane, 51, lives in Harbour View Road on the race’s route, She said: “It feels fantastic to win the race. We came third in 2010 but that was about it.
“It’s very hard but it’s good fun and we love it - the atmosphere, the adrenaline and everyone’s happy. It’s also good to see the costumes.”
One racer slowed his team down for the best of reasons. He proposed to his partner on his way round the course in what was probably a first for the event.
Garry Clarke, 29, dressed in disguise to surprise Zoe Shepherd as she lined the route to cheer him on during his fourth entry.
He said: “I was in a Christmas suit but I changed into a bear outfit so Zoe didn’t know who I was.”
Zoe, 25, said: “I had no idea about this but today is the fourth anniversary of our first meeting. We have lived together for three years and have a one-year-old daughter.”
The Aldwick couple were cheered when their news was announced to the crowds at the medal ceremony.
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