Dragon boat racers blew fire in the final heat to name the champions of this year’s tournament at Preston Docks.
A team from the commercial cleaning service, AM Services Group was crowned winners, beating second place by less than half a second.
Organisers at North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce called it the “closest final we have ever seen at the Dragon Boat Challenge” with a time of 01:08:89.
Paul Nelson, AM Services Group and team captain said: “This year was the fourth year that AM Services Group attended the Dragon Boat Race.
“It is always a great day and is an opportunity to bring together colleagues from all over our business in one place with family and friends too.
“This year our team was made up of people from every division – security, cleaning, specialist industrial cleaning and washrooms; across the geography we currently operate in – Stoke on Trent up to Middlesbrough and all points in between; and at all levels of the business - from site operatives to the CEO.
“We also had lots of support from other colleagues, friends and family which gives the day an even better buzz!”
The day ensured each of the competing teams had three, two-boat races over 200 meters, in order to qualify for the four boat semi-finals.
The event , established in 2012, saw 13 teams and over 300 attendees and spectators at Preston Marina on Saturday.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chambers Dragon Boat Challenge is always terrific team building event which is supported by many of our members.
“It is one of the world’s fastest-growing participation sports. On Saturday there was a lot of friendly rivalry but a great atmosphere.
“It was certainly a close call between the top teams with AM Services just pipping Ainscough Training Services at the post.
“We’ll be back for 2020 challenge but in the meantime if anyone wishes to start their training early, Preston has its own Dragon Boat Club based on the docks”.
The early morning start coupled with the overcast and drizzly conditions did not put off competing teams from enjoying the experience.
Natalie Weyer of Northern Industrial Controls said: ‘I would like to thank The Chamber of Commerce for such a fantastic event.
“All the team thoroughly enjoyed the day and the rain didn’t dampen our spirits. It was our first time taking part in the event and I don’t think it will be the last.
“Being a family run business, taking part in a team event was right up our street and our team was made up of people from all different departments, coming together with a common goal, to win.
“Even though we didn’t quite manage that, we are proud of our achievements and making it into the semi-final.”
Companies taking part in the challenge included AM Services Group, Ainscough Training Services, First Trace Heating, Forsberg Services, OMNI RMS, BS Stainless, Northern Industrial Controls, Trelleborg Offshore, Virtue Technologies, UCLan Law, F2 Chemicals, Farley’s Solicitors and the Chamber.