Outside Edge (05/09/10)

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The Independent Online

Congratters to the British competitors in the World Hovercraft Championships at Towcester Racecourse last weekend, who swept to victory in seven of the eight classes. Fewer skirts in sight at the annual Bubble Baba Challenge near St Petersburg, a race which involves rafting the Losevo Rapids aboard the inflatable doll of your choice. A record entry of more than 450 turned out, with one Vladislav Pavlenko piloting Vanilla Pelotki to first place, shading out Killer Whale, Floating Piggy, Baby Barge and Cuddly Female Racoon. Inflatable animals are accepted as alternative craft, but frankly that's disgusting; only a really Volga boatman would ride one of those.


The amount American footballer Troy Polamalu's sponsors Head & Shoulders have insured his flowing mane, uncut since 2000, for. Let's hope he never meets Hibs fan Peter Wallace, who has just been ordered to pay £25,000 compensation for setting fire to an Aberdeen fan dressed in a sheep suit while playing with his lighter on a train.

Mushy piece of the week

More riotous river fun in Fairbanks, Alaska, last Monday as locals pioneered husky water-skiing, skimming along the Chena River pulled by a six-dog sled team running on a sandbar, for a pilot TV programme (working title: Stupid Alaskan Tricks). Other tasks included chainsawing a bust of Alaska's former governor Sarah Palin from a spruce log – probably less messy than chainsawing the bust of Sarah Palin. Down in Oaklyn, New Jersey, a grocer is perfecting his party piece, balancing a 60lb kayak on his chin, for another TV show. Chinless wonders need not apply.

Good week for

Ben Collins, motor racing driver won legal fight to reveal himself as Top Gear's The Stig in his autobiography... Edoardo Molinari, Italian golfer earnt a Ryder Cup wild card after winning the Johnnie Walker Championship... Michelle Wie, US golfer recorded her second victory on the LPGA Tour... and Bucky Gunts, American TV director won an Emmy for his Winter Olympics programme.

Bad week for

Alan Pardew, dismissed as Southampton's manager two days after masterminding a 4-0 away win... Manchester United, still 2,200 sales short of their 54,000 season-ticket target... Graham Onions, Durham and England fast bowler ruled out of the winter Ashes series with a stress fracture to his back... and Laurent Blanc, the new France football coach, started his reign with a 1-0 home defeat to Belarus in a Euro qualifier.

Chip fire of the week

Golf can be a cruel mistress, and some golfers can have cruel mistresses, but few have managed such a disastrous stroke as one player at Tiger Woods's home course when he's in California, the aptly named Shady Canyon. Trying to dig his ball out of the rough, the duffer struck a rock with his club, sparking a brush fire that took 200 firefighters to contain. Equally unlucky with clubs in a different way, 14-year-old Zach Nash of Milwaukee was shocked to discover he had one club too many in his bag after winning a junior tournament. Nobody else would have known, but Zach immediately disqualified himself and handed back the medal. Good to hear some golfers know when to own up.