This year it'll be faster! The venue: Woburn Safari Park. The date: June 24. In race HQs around the country, trolley teams are gearing up to make The Grocers' Great Trolley Race a fiercely fought contest. Anyone who thinks that any of the five categories will be easily won is a fool. The determination teams are showing for sporting glory is truly frightening. "Second place is first loser in my book," says William Reed's stony faced drinks trolley captain James Cuthbertson. His team is now in full blown training at the local gym. "We're the bookies' favourites. We're pure athletes from start to finish." Sales director at Logobrand Ali White is equally uncompromising: "I may well decide to relate the outcome to the performance related bonuses," she threatens. Last year the research agency's team made it into the semi-finals, but this year she is determined to go all the way. Team trials are taking place and there are regular training sessions for those battling for places. Logobrand is tensely awaiting the arrival of its Easy 5' trolley ­ provided for each team by manufacturer and event sponsor Wanzl. With a three-person propulsion rearguard and a fourth member going along for the ride, teams can adapt trolleys as they see fit. The only limitations are a ban on mechanical or wind assistance. Trolley refurbisher Symmonds Hydroclean last year made it to the finals but were astounded by the standard of competition. "This year we'll be spending a bit more time making the trolley faster," they warn. "Round the factory here in Newport we've got all sorts of things so we can zoop it up as much as we like," threatens captain Matthew Jefferys. Cuthbertson says his trolley's engineering blueprint is still in the think tank. "It's a team of geniuses, but so far nothing's come out. We are however looking at Michael Schumacher's availability." All Logobrand's White will reveal is: "There will certainly be a lot more padding on the trolley this year." Tactical lessons have also been learnt from 2000, White believes. "We'll be working hard on getting the person into the trolley as quickly as possible from that running start. Getting the best possible start is critical," she says. A team of Logobrand pompom waving cheerleaders will give the team the best possible send off. They are in training too. Over at Unilever Bestfoods, team captain Rachel Evans proclaims her team is "100% confident of winning". Design secrets will not be revealed. "All I will say is that the design is based around one of our products. We're raring to go. We will conquer." At Budgens' distribution centre in Wellingborough, calories are being counted by Budgens' Bulldogs II captain Mark Atkins. "We're all in some sort of training, be it physical or mental," he says with a Clint Eastwood style calm. "It's about keeping ourselves primed and ready for the day." His engineering specs are with the estates department who are lending their expertise. Three Budgens trolley teams are taking part in total. "We're looking at adapting the wheels in particular," hints Atkins darkly. Others, it seems, are a little more concerned with style over substance. William Reed's recruitment ad director Elaine Marshall and her team are rightly chuffed with their "inspired" Wheely Good Job name and preparations for a Flintstones theme are well advanced. A local dressmaker has been roped in for the costumes which will include one for the cave mobile riding Bambam. But surely a canopy and rocks for wheels are hardly conducive to speed? Marshall disagrees vehemently: "We're determined to win, at least the best-dressed award if not the overall prize. "We came last in 2000 so this is a grudge match. The aero-dynamic canopy is a go-faster spoiler." Last year's champion fund-raising team ­ the Somerfield Exocets ­ came in at £22,000, an inspiration to all participants this year. Thanks to the committed, the competitive and the downright lunatic in the industry, the National Grocers Benevolent Fund, Grocery Aid, the Confectioners Benevolent Fund and the Wine and Sprit Trades' Benevolent Society stand to receive in excess of last year's £50,000 total. Potential audience of 10,000 trade executives and tourists makes this a huge public relations opportunity for entrants. {{FEAT. GENERAL }}