Camel Racing At Fakenham

While I was still shooting A New Market Town, some time around the end of April, I discovered that Fakenham Racecourse was holding their annual point to point meeting. Point to Points are basically where hunting horses can compete in steeplechase races over three mile courses, with roughly 18 fences to clear on their way round. Most importantly though, there was going to be camel racing. This, naturally, blew my mind, so I went along to see how a point to point meeting differs from the world class horse racing I was documenting in Newmarket, and how exactly you get camels to race. I’ve had these negatives for almost two months now, but with the final hand ins and exhibitions at uni everything has been pushed to the side until now.

Stands at Fakenham, Annual Point To Point, April 2012.
Camel Enclosure Before The Charity Camel Races, Fakenham, April 2012

As the horses being raced at a point to point have to have a certificate declaring that they have participated in at least 4 days of hunting during that season before they can race, the crowds watching the event were largely those involved within hunting themselves.

Crowds At Fakenham, April 2012
Keep Calm And Carry On Hunting, Fakenham, April 2012

At the end of the meeting came the race we had all been waiting for. The camels came out of their enclosure and were led around the parade ring, wearing brightly coloured rugs covered in tassles. In truth, they didn’t look best pleased about this arrangement to start with, and even less so when people in fancy dress (one had a huge duck costume on, another was a medieval knight) tried to mount them. They were slowly walked on to the race course; at this point I truly thought that to expect the camels to all move in the same direction was a pretty big ask, let alone some sort of organized race. However, once the start was announced they stopped turning on the spot or trying to run off, and actually raced in a straight line, and fast too.

Camel In The Parade Ring, Fakenham, April 2012
Camels In The Parade Ring, Fakenham, April 2012

To see the whole series, head over to the Point To Point story on my website.


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