ROMAN Chariots had nothing on the vroom of a dozen homemade contraptions as they hurtled through the streets of Durley.

Strangers to the area on August 20, 1979, must have wondered what they had stumbled across as the village’s annual “chariot” race got underway from Beech Corner.

It was all part of the week-long Durley carnival festivities and competitors made the most of the chance to parade fancy dress costumes.

Even carnival queen Sue Marchant joined in the fun and lined up at the start in a decorated pushchair resembling a horse.

Then they were off on the strength-sapping two-and-a-half mile route to Durley’s recreation ground.

With Simon Westlake aboard a red chariot featuring all the hallmarks of a formula one racing car, he and his brother Christopher retained their grand prix laurels.

Their victory came despite a buckling wheel in practice on Sunday and having to fit a makeshift wooden replacement. “We didn’t think the wheel would hold up,” said a breathless Christopher Westlake after the race.