THIS has got to go down as one of the wackiest weeks in sport - ever.

Not even allowing for the unique occasion of Royal Ascot at York, the past seven days have been as zany as the zaniest inhabitants of the madcap island of Zanyia holding their annual zane to be wild contest.

Royal Ascot at York was bewildering enough. Hundreds of thousands of race-fans, royals minor and major, and celebrities from the 'A' to 'Z'-lists, all dutifully decked out, descended upon Knavesmire leaving York's busiest city-centre thoroughfares to resemble tumbleweed town.

On a lunch-time it's never been easier to walk up the Shambles and its lying-in-wait cobbles since the early hours of the morning when balance aforethought may have been slightly influenced by a few tipsy tinctures.

And for all the celebs who rubbed morning-suited or bare shoulders with the landed gentry, it was left to the nation's footballers to conjure two of the most churlish moments of all.

Michael Owen refused point-blank to talk even briefly to this paper's representatives yet several times walked past the gathered paparazzi of photographers. Talk about having your take and beating it.

Then there was Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing - an England bright young thing like Owen once was - said he could not talk because 'he was under contract'. Let's hope such a restrictive document does not preclude asking his Middlesbrough team-mates for a pass during next season.

But there were even more bizarre goings-on in the world of sport.

You would not have got a response, let alone a price on kings of cricket Australia losing not once, but four times in seven days.

The all-conquering Aussies perished to England (twice), Somerset and then incredibly, Bangladesh, whom many believe would be amply tested by the Evening Press cricket team under the astute leadership of assistant editor Martin Oates (pictures).

That five-wicket defeat by the lowliest ranked nation in world cricket looked to have been cast aside as the wizards of oz sought to end their week on a high note.

But it proved nothing more than a false note as they were lashed into submission by the boundary-belting cyclone that is Kevin Pietersen.

Surely he has to be in the England team that finally tackles the Aussies once the one-day flings are put to bed for the summer next month.

Pietersen is perfectly positioned to pummel the Aussies over whom he now has a psychological advantage, even if you know darned well that Ricky Ponting's charges will be as menacing as any wounded animal.

In front of a bristling, Bristol crowd Pietersen pounded a quite astonishing innings that transformed England from a juiceless juggernaut into a valiant vehicle still on the winning track.

Skipper Michael Vaughan hailed the knock as the stuff of genius'. That it was and bodes so well for an historic summer.

History, meanwhile, was made - though in far more dubious fashion in Indianapolis - where the Formula 1 circus was reduced to scenes of Fred Karno-esque farce.

Out of the ten teams, only three took to the starting grid in a safety row over a certain company's tryes.

No wonder more than 120,000 American race fans flew into road rage. They were seeing less traffic than found in York city centre during Ascot week. Wacky races, indeed.

Updated: 10:22 Tuesday, June 21, 2005