The village of Congham in Norfolk may have few claims to international fame but it is home to that most thrilling of sports, the World Snail-Racing Championships.

The gastropod games took place on 18 July and have been an established part of life in this sleepy corner of England for over 40 years – and even recorded a world record in 1995 when a snail named Archie completed the 13in course in a far from sluggish two minutes and 20 seconds.

The rules for the world championships are simple – the snails are placed in a small red circle in the middle of a round table, with the first to slime its way to the outer red ring crowned the winner.

175 snails were entered for this year's championships with many heats to whittle the slimiest sporting superstars down to the serious contenders.

"Once the snail has started there is absolutely nothing you can do apart from shout for it but preparation I feel is quite important, you know train it but don't over train it, feed it properly, diet is always important with any athletic process. Just really enjoy it and it is such an enjoyment," explained organiser Neil Riseborough.

Each of the 12 heats and the final race was conducted on a specially embroidered table-cloth, which is regularly doused with water to facilitate the best sliming conditions.

The overall winner was George, who crossed the critical 'outer red ring' in an impressive 2 minutes and 40 seconds, only 20 seconds short of the World record set 20 years ago.

"He did brilliant didn't he, he just stormed it. He's been fed on home grown lettuce, so he obviously liked it, gave him a boost and yes brought it home (laughs)," said his owner Dale Thorne.

The trophy was stuffed with leaves and George was placed gently on top as both he and his owner Dale Thorne from Gayton, Norfolk, were proclaimed as the 2015 world champions.