Julius Caesar and his legionnaires may be long gone from our windswept shores but there’s one village in Wales that still clings on to its Roman heritage.
Along with proper plumbing, a network of roads and one blinking massive wall the Romans also brought over Saturnalia – a festival of “merrymaking” in honour of the god Saturn. The tiny village of Llanwrtyd Wells is determined to keep this tradition alive and does so with an annual real ale festival and series of Roman themed events including the mountain bike chariot World championships.
The event is now in its eighth year and competitors have to complete two laps of a 1km course around the grounds of the Abernant Lake Hotel. The course takes in lakeside tracks, deep puddles and even speed bumps and whichever team can tackle the obstacles the quickest is crowned the winner.
The chariots are commissioned by the pub and are made from two mountain bikes, to provide the power, and a cut out oil barrel that serves as the chariot for a separate driver. Apparently the key to success is to “keep both front wheels as close to parallel as possible”.
The race was won by Brtisolian team the Wild Mustangs with a time of 6:35.65.