Roller Race Sells Out
Cycling Weekly, April 25, 2008
A sell-out crowd of packed into the Imbibe bar in central London last
Saturday as more than 70 riders lined up for the first leg of the Rapha
Roller Race International Series.
With rising track star and reigning world junior team sprint champion
Pete Mitchell among the favourites, the prospect of records tumbling
The once hugely popular spectacle of roller racing, in which two riders
take to a stage to do battle on a pair of vintage rollers, has enjoyed
a healthy revival in recent years and Saturday's event drew teams from
across London's cycling community.
Lining up alongside the traditionally strong contingent of cycle
messengers were teams made up of bankers, media types and, for the
first time, those from London cycling clubs, whose members turned up in
numbers to lend highly vocal support.
Of the 12 men's and four women's teams vying for the title of 'King and
Queen of the Rollers', a first appearance for the clubs ensured
competition was fierce from the start.
As early as the qualifying rounds, no fewer than seven riders posted
times below 21 seconds for the 500m distance. Mitchell's qualifying
time, 19.78secs, proved not the only the best time of the evening but
was also good enough to beat the 19.80secs set by Simon Jackson at the
inaugural Rapha Roller Race held last November.
The atmosphere was given additional spark by the presence of Nicole
Smith and Jai Simone, two burlesque ring-card girls who, with the help
of a freely flowing bar, kept the crowd entertained and informed about
By the knock-out stages there was little to separate the leading riders
but in the end it was La Fuga's Ian Holt and Mitchell, representing
Team Terminator, who battled through to the final. With the distance
raised to 1,000m, both men gave their all but by the 500m mark,
Mitchell had begun to gain the upper hand. With Holt unable to cut into
his lead, Mitchell duly went on to claim victory. Crowned alongside him
in the women's competition was a newcomer, Agatha, representing the
Trixie Chicks, and who grabbed victory with Kimberly Kabatoff, the
London Dynamo club rider, hot on her heels.
The overall team prizes went to the Fireflies and La Fuga, in the
women's and men's competitions respectively. The open 'Have-a-Go'
competition, which ran concurrently with the team event and in which 38
rookies tested themselves on the rollers, was won by Janky James of
Rollapaluza CC and Rachel. The 'Best Dressed Team' prize went to the
Banker team, who showed up in full City attire, including bowler hats,
shirts and ties.