When: 13th January 2018
Where: Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Wales
£: The chariot racing is open to teams of three people (two riders and one charioteer) and costs £20 per team to enter. Team members must be aged 16 years and over. Free to watch
What is it?
The people of Llanwrtyd Wells will be turning Roman this month as they celebrate Saturnalia with some special events.
Saturnalia is the major annual festival of the Romans, held during the winter. The festival, held in honour of the deity Saturn, was known for its unrestrained merry-making, including banqueting, gambling, frolics and fun.
Every year Llanwrtyd Wells holds the World MTB Chariot Racing Championships, along with the Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival. Special chariots have been built for the event, using traditional Roman mild steel, vulcanised rubber and welding techniques. These chariots are designed to be pulled by two mountain bikes alongside each other.
For the World MTB Chariot Racing Championships, teams must race against each other and the clock to determine the winner. Teams will have to demonstrate exceptional skill and courage, and will need to coordinate and cooperate fully as a single unit to beat the other challengers.
The course itself is a half mile long circuit based in the grounds of Abernant Lake Hotel, near to Llanwrtyd railway station. The circuit is partially on tarmac road, complete with speed bumps, and partly on rough track.
Chariots will race against each other in pairs. The fastest four teams in these one lap heats will take part in a grand final of two laps to determine the overall World Champions. The winners receive a world cup and medals. There are also medals and cups for the second and third placed teams. In addition there will be prizes for the best Roman costumes.
Those wishing to make the most of the Saturnalia celebrations can also enjoy some real ales by joining in with the Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival. There will be plenty of winter real ales to enjoy as well as food cooked to original Roman recipes by Apicius.
Those feeling energetic enough can take part in the Saturnalia Real Ale Ramble. Ramblers can choose to walk between ten and 25 miles, using old Roman roads and sampling free ale at the checkpoints. The ramble costs £11 per person to enter.