Report: Rollapaluza National Series Final 2013


Paul Burgoine reports on a Scottish Double in the Rollapaluza National Series Final 2013 (Presented by U34) and talks to John Paul

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Scottish Double 

It was that time of year again when the top Rollapaluza roller racers from around the country all converged at the National Series Final’s. This year they were held in London’s East End ‘Brick Lane’ in the Vibe Bar part of the old Truman Brewery.


I have been attending Rollapaluza’s events for some time now and I have to admit I didn’t recognise too many people from the past apart from Jim (Hillbilly) who was unable to race due to breaking his hip. Nevertheless, there was an eclectic mix of men and women from all cycling backgrounds.

When I arrived, some fast times had already been put down by the favourites. Top Scottish track sprinter and former Junior World Champion John Paul was sitting at the top of the qualifying board with an impressive time of 19.75 which equates to 91kph and 230rpm while Alex Moloney had laid down a time of 20.49. In the women’s competition, another Scot, the charismatic and bubbly Ishbel Taromsari had set the fastest time for a women ever; 22.51.

The event was being hosted by Jake from Rollapaluza and TV presenter and cycling journalist Sophie Smith. By the time we got to the knockout stages, the atmosphere was building and the first head to head highlighted the beauty of Roller-Racing. Track star John Paul was up against courier Tom Rumball.


Tom was soundly beaten but the fact that this match up could happen is great. Alex Moloney was also impressive in the knock out rounds looking comfortable with his trademark explosive starts while another rider that was setting good times was Rollapaluza regular Lloyd Gale-Ward all constantly getting the 500m done in around the twenty second mark.

In the women’s competition, Ishbel was still impressing along with Lola Welch and Caroline Rennie and this event was as hotly contested as the men’s racing due in no small part to the fact that the reward was the same, equal prize money, which is always good to hear in any sport or competition.


John Paul and Alex Moloney progressed through to the men’s final with John Paul taking the win but only after having to fight back from Alex’s slightly better start. In the women’s competition, Ishbel Taromsari took the win in convincing style from Carroline Rennie.

It’s good to see that this most purist of one-on-one racing is still as popular as ever and still drawing in the crowds. Sophie Smith did a fantastic job of hosting, connecting very well with the riders and audience. The music as ever enhanced the tense atmosphere of the races and matched the rpm of the riders spinning legs. I was almost tempted to have a go myself but my best time is only about 25 seconds. Maybe next time!

This is a sport anyone can just have ago at cyclist or not. I caught up with John Paul for a quick chat during the evening and I asked him if there was any comparison between 500m on the rollers and 500m on the track. “500m on the track is a lot, lot harder as there is much more resistance. You could do these efforts on the rollers all day but you couldn’t do that on the track”.

Are you still on the Olympic Academy team John? “No. I was but I’m not at the moment. I’m just at home training myself in the gym and on the turbo. It’s a lot harder for sprinters to get a team. The endurance riders have a lot more choice of road teams to get onto but with sprinting there are no other choices apart from British Cycling and National Squads. If you want to race at an international level, you need to be part of the Great Britain squad for the world championships, Olympics etc. There are a few competitions open to me, mainly the National sprinter leagues and the occasional one day meeting”.


Is it very hard at the moment to get into the GB squad as a sprinter? “Absolutely. It is very difficult. If you look at the GB sprint team, they are probably the best in the world. Presently I don’t have a sponsor either but I am trying to manage without a full time job so I can put as much as I can into my training. Getting into the GB team and riding as a full time professional or getting some sponsorship would be ideal outcomes otherwise I will have to look for full time employment and just train as much as I can”.

What are your immediate targets John Paul? “I want to do well in the National Championships in September, do a good time in the 200 enough to get back into the GB Academy and after that will be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow riding for Scotland. But I believe I can get back into the GB squad.

Just for the record, John Paul recently beat German track legend Robert Forsterman at the Good Friday meeting on the Rollapaluza rigs with a time of 19.53, but still the 500m record is held by Matt Crampton 17.90



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