THOUSANDS thronged Coopers Hill for the annual cheese rolling spectacle despite a major police presence and road closures.
Spectators and cheese chasers left their cars in lanes around the cordon thrown down by Gloucestershire County Council and police, and traipsed through woods and across fields to the one in three hill.
No serious injuries were reported, as an estimated 5,000 people from across the world enjoyed the madcap event which dates back centuries.
A broken leg and bumps and bruises were picked up in three mens races and one ladies race, and lung bursting efforts were made to win the uphill sprints yesterday.
Dutch, Slovakian, American, Australian, Canadian and Japanese competitors lined up with locals who know every inch of the perilous slope in the hope of winning a Double Gloucester cheese.
Josh Shepherd, 19, and Ryan Fairley, 24, both from Brockworth, and Sheldon Ronald, 20, from Melbourne, Australia, won the three men’s races as up to 20 competitors thundered down the hill.
New Inn, Gloucester barmaid and Gloucestershire College hairdressing student Lucy Townsend, 17, picked up the ladies crown for the third time, ahead of fellow Brockworth resident Lacey Matthews, 22, who was competing in her first cheese rolling. Kasper Wickens-Shaw, 12, from Foston’s Ash, won the boys uphill race for the second time.
“It’s my second cheese and I can’t believe it,” said Ryan. “There’s no secret to it - you have just got to go. It’s been absolutely brilliant.”
Lucy said there isn’t a technique but with locals winning three of the four main races, experience counts.
The one exception was Sheldon, who came second in his first race, then was victorious in race three.
“It’s just something I have wanted to do for a long time,” he said. “I can’t believe I have won.”
Motozumi Sawai from Japan hurtled down the hill dressed as Super Mario.
“It’s incredible,” he puffed.
Dutch cheese chasers led by Jasper Kuin vowed to return next year, with a stronger Gouda.
“It broke up - we’re not used to such steep hills in Holland, so we will have to bring a stronger cheese next year,” he said. “It’s an amazing tradition and we are all still alive.”
Canadian friends Anne Marie D’Amico and Stephanie Borg, 26, had the event on their bucket list, and will head off to Switzerland now to go skydiving.
“We love cheese,” said Anne Marie. “We really want to try some Double Gloucester.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary said one competitor suffered a suspected broken leg, and another a back injury but did not require hospital treatment. There were no arrests but officers dealt with some parking problems in Brockworth.