Feature: Rollin with Rollapaluza in Scotland


Paul Burgoine travels to Glasgow for a spot of rolling racing at the final Revolution of the 2012/2013 season

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Paul writes … I was invited to join the Rollapaluza crew for the weekend on their journey up to Scotland to help out at the Revolution meeting held at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. It may be a long way but the opportunity would kill two birds with one stone, firstly, I would get to visit Scotland for the first time ever and secondly, be able to see the new velodrome for myself.

For those not familiar with Roller Racing, it is a race between two people or against the clock on static bikes with the front forks clamped to a rig and the rear wheel on rollers. The most common distance to race is 500m / 250m for children. The race takes roughly 25 seconds for the 500m and 14 seconds for 250m, sounds easy but believe me it isn’t.


Kayleigh Brogan. Photos: Calvin Cheung

After six or so hours of driving, my first view of Glasgow was Parkhead- home of Celtic football club- and then I saw the velodrome (that was pretty much my sightseeing trip). I suppose the format for velodromes are pretty much the same these days and the layout of the Chris Hoy velodrome is simple and un cluttered with a perfect view of the track from any vantage point. From track centre, the glass walls give you a unhindered view of the riders, the score board was very clear and in good view from all areas- which is important for spectators trying to follow the racing.

Unfortunately we arrived too late to see the launch of a new women’s team, Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team, which was a shame, the team include in their ranks the impressive Dame Sarah Storey and many other talented young riders.

The roller rigs were set up track centre in the V.I.P. lounge and after setting up, it wasn’t long before the public began to arrive. At first I thought it was going to be a nice quiet evening and I would be able to watch some of the racing on the track then maybe slip away for a cheeky glimpse of the World Cross Champs.


Penny Rowson. Photos: Calvin Cheung

How wrong was I (I did however manage to see Sven Nys become World Champ!)

We were pretty much flat out from start to finish with people interested in seeing what time they could post or if they could beat their mates. The most enthusiastic of all were the children, some having three or four goes trying to better their own time or to beat a sibling. In fact we probably could have left the kids bikes on all night and still been busy.

The girls from the Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team tried out the rollers as well and first up to have a go were Penny Rowsen and Ella Hopkins. The race was neck and neck but Penny just edged ahead in the final few metres. Then there was Kayleigh Brogan up against Eileen Roe. Keighley set the fastest time, even faster than her team manager Rene Grooten but fair play to Rene for having a go in front of his new team. The girls will be competing in a mostly UCI registered races this season the first being Het Nieuwsblad in a couple of weeks time.

It wasn’t hard to hear when there was a Scottish rider on the track, the noise was deafening and the atmosphere in the velodrome was impressive with a good selection of tunes blasting out of the speakers to add to the party atmosphere.


Matt Rotherham. Photos: Calvin Cheung

The audience seemingly enjoying themselves and raising the roof with their cheers and I’m sure this enthusiasm brings the best out in the track riders. From what I did see, the sprint races were very close and exciting. Earlier in the evening, the younger of the Rotherham brothers, Tom, set a pretty good time so his competitive older brother Matt felt like he had to beat him.

After the presentations there was time for one more Roller Race but we couldn’t find an opponent for Matt, so stupidly I put myself forward. I’m not sure what came over me, it must have been the heat… well as you may have guessed I got completely thrashed by a whole six seconds, I felt sick and ill after it but at least I can tell the grandchildren I raced against Matt Rotherham when he is successful and famous- which I’m sure he will be.

After the event had finished, and we had packed up, we were the only people left in track centre apart from German six day rider, Christian Grassman and his wife – who offered me a bunch of flowers that Christian had won. Wow, I had always wanted a bunch of flowers from a track rider, so I jumped at the chance and even got Christian to throw them at me so I could catch them, what a way to finish off the evening.

Thanks to Casper at Rollapaluza, the Revolution organisers and most of all the people of Scotland and Glasgow for a really fun evening.


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