Office chairs, although mounted on castors, stay stationary nearly all of the time. However in Germany a sport that has only been running for 3 years, the office chair championships, changes the way we think about office chairs.
Competitors take their chairs and hurl themselves off a ramp down a 200m downhill course. As you’ve probably guessed, the first one to cross the finish line without falling off wins. It’s faster than you might think as competitors can reach speeds of up to 35 mph (22mph). This year saw 58 participants take part in the race however it was Luxembourger Pierre Feller who won, completing the course in 29.95 seconds, which is a new course record. He used a new technique which was to lie down on the chair and race head first. "His lying-down technique was sensational!" remarked the organiser René Karg. There was some controversy in the design of the office chair, however, the chairs are allowed to be fitted with inline-skate wheels and handles, but no kind of motor or engine power is permitted.
The competition held in the town of Bad König-Zell in Hesse is the third of the championships with competitors travelling from around the area, mainly from Cologne, Stuttgart and Luxembourg, however this year’s second and third places were awarded to locals Andreas Ripper and Finn-Jan Rucktäschel.
There is also a prize not only for the winner of the race, but also the best designed office chair racer. This was awarded to Heiko Winter, also a local resident of the town, not for an aerodynamic design but for sheer novelty. Heiko had fitted his chair with a horse’s head and saddle and came to the event dressed as a cowboy to complete the look. Due to the success of this year’s event, it is in no doubt that next year more competitors will be taking part. Who knows maybe we'll see other office furniture making an appearance in the racing world, maybe office desks or mobile pedestals!