CHILLI-lovers chowed down on some of the hottest peppers known to man in a chilli-eating competition at Wharf Green.
Some brave, others just bullish, experience eventually prevailed above youth as 57-year-old Allan Catlin triumphed over 17-year-old Tamsin Findlay in the final two.
They had seen off the competition and, after eight rounds of fiery peppers, Tamsin bowed out.
“It was absolutely painful,” she said after numbing the pain with litres of milk. “I cannot describe the pain, it was horrendous.
“It’s one of those moments that at the time I thought I could do. What put me out was the gag reflex, I just had to stop at that point. I am fine now but still a bit shaky on my feet. It hasn’t put me off chillies at all and I’d probably go through that again.”
Allan said it was something he had always wanted to do but had missed out on in the past.
“There is no strategy, you just have to go for it,” he said. “I am dripping with sweat and my nose is running, which is the worst part.
“When we were all stood out the back there waiting to go on it was us guys and the one young lady, and I knew she was going to be my competition. It turned out exactly that way. She took me to the limit.
“The third chilli surprised me, and I wasn’t quite prepared for how much of a shock that was going to be. It certainly doesn’t get easier as you go on.”
Johnny Simpson, 25, was signed up by his friends but dropped out early in the heats.
“There is nothing wrong with getting beaten by a girl,” he said. “I got about five chillies in, but it is very difficult. It was a case of mind over matter more than anything. It just felt like my face was on fire.”
Chilli Dave organised Saturday’s event as part of the chilli festival with his group, the Clifton Chilli Club.
“We have got a disclaimer form with lots of medical questions, which basically says at the end of it that they are doing this because they are an idiot,” he said. “We get them started off with the mildest chillies, like a jalapeno, and each round gets hotter and hotter until we get the last man or woman standing.
“They are not allowed to consume anything else during the competition, but we put some milk out in front of them as a bit of a teaser. We often get up to the Carolina Reaper chilli, which is the hottest chilli in the world. The hottest we have got today will be the Trinidad Scorpion chilli, which is the second hottest chilli in the world.
“Quite often more than one person gets through all the chillies, and what we have to do then is a speed round. We have a couple of chillies which are rather huge. The first person to finish it off then wins.
“We grow our own chillis all round the Bristol area, and we have an allotment and a chilli farm in Clifton.”
Watch a video of the competition at www.youtube.com/user/CliftonChilliClub