Rollerburn Report

Sideburn Magazine – “the world’s most suave motorcycle magazine” – were the organisers and promoters of Rollerburn, the first cross genre event of its kind. Combining a custom bike show, Roller Derby, a “Rollerball” style drag race, live bands and DJ’s, numerous vendor stalls, guest appearances from TT racer and star of BBC TV’s “The Boat that Guy Built” Guy Martin and frizzy haired comedian extraordinaire Charlie Chuck – and thanks to Dave Arnold and Trawler Lawler, a Slalom Skateboarding demonstration! The event was being held indoors at the George Stephenson Hall at Newark Exhibition Centre in Nottinghamshire.

Michael, Louis and Bruno had travelled up from “down South” on the Friday beforehand. Ben and Mary, Paul and I opted for the Saturday “day trip” option. On arrival we were greeted by Dave Arnold who as well as showing a bike at the event, playing bass in one of the bands (The Stags) and taking part in the slalom demo was also involved on the organisational side of things. He even found time to design and construct the huge start ramp which we would be sharing with the Roller Derby girls.

Looking back up the course towards the start ramp

Our numbers were boosted when we were joined by Trawler, John Warburton, Darren Rathbone, “Runcorn Rich” and Dave from Conflict Skates when our practice period began. Our race area ran the length of the hall, down the middle with crowd barriers either side. The superfine concrete floor needed a few sweeps to remove the fine slippery dust that settled on it from time to time but it didn’t take too long for us to lay down a snaking urethane track through the cones. As already mentioned we were sharing the start ramp with the Roller Derby girls many of whom had never been down a small ramp let alone a monster like this one! So we helped them out with advice and words of encouragement to those braving it for the first time. Practice time was limited as we had to clear our course to make way for the Roller Derby to take place before the slalom demonstration. In all we had 13 racers for the demo so we decided to run a normal round of 16 format, with three “byes” thrown into the mix. Due to the allotted 45 minute slot we would not have time to run qualifying so we opted to match riders that were about the same standard to make the racing close for the spectators – of which there were many! Starting was done via the visually excellent Octane Sport F1 starter system.

The monster start ramp gave a big burst of initial speed and meant the racing was truly fast and furious. We were also up against the clock and as soon as the first two riders had cleared the course the next pair were off down the ramp. With time of the essence we had opted to use pen and paper rather than the laptop. Also the sake of time and to be fairer to the less experienced slalom riders taking part we dropped any cone penalties, this was after all a fun demonstration of slalom not a fully ISSA sanctioned race. Despite the chopped down format there were still some very close heats leading up to the finals. The crowds were soon getting into the spirit, cheering for the racer in the lane closest to their side of the barrier fence making for a good race atmosphere.

In the round of 8, I went out to the superfast Louis “Slipa”, Michael took out Paul TC, Bruno saw off John Warburton, who had been doing really well skating the course during the practice session. In the last heat of the round Ben Williams knocked out Trawler, who was also looking very at home running cones on his Comet – will we see him at a few races next year, lets hope so eh? The round of 4 saw Louis face Michael and Bruno would be up against Ben. Despite the recording the fastest clean run of the day at 7.29 seconds Michael went out to Louis who had put in two identically timed runs of 7.36. In some of the closest racing of the session Bruno triumphed over Ben making for another Louis vs. Bruno dust up in the final. Now the crowds were cheering for either Louis or Bruno. In the first run Bruno crossed the line in 7.26 just before Louis on 7.29 the second run was a dead heat with both riders hitting the tape in 7.31 which meant that this time around the victory was Bruno’s to savour. He was presented with the “Rollerburn Championship Plate, donated by Octane Sport, a hand painted plate featuring a helmet with the words “Skate Hard, Turn Left” – very fitting for Bruno as he does….. all of the time! Obviously he turns right too of course – but he does both equally as fast and as stylishly! Due to time constraints we had to drop the consolation round but ever the gent, Michael conceded 3rd place to Ben who had travelled up from Brighton with Mary to represent the ever dominant Pig City Crew. Our brief had been to put on a slalom racing demo in a 45 minute slot from 6pm – we ran a full round of 16 (13 riders, 3 “byes”) in 44 minutes exactly, mission accomplished!

Big thanks to Dave Arnold, Trawler and Sideburn Magazine for putting on a top show and making us all feel so welcome, first class job gents, the pleasure was all ours! We hope to see you all again soon. Dave – I hope the injuries you sustained in your head-on collision with Rich heal fast mate. Thanks to all that made the great schlep north to help make it happen, thank you to Michael and Octane Sport for timing and the trophy, to Paul Coupe for the lift especially the very gnarly fogbound drive home! And finally to the awesome Roller Derby Girls for making queuing at a start ramp a very pleasurable experience!

Rollerburn Demo Race Results

Best Time

1st Bruno Sliva de Oliveira 7.26

2nd Louis Selby 7.28

3rd Ben Williams 7.54

4th Michael Stride 7.29 (Clean!)

5th Paul Taylor Crush 7.74

6th Rob Ashby 7.90

7th Darren Rathbone 7.91

8th John Warburton 8.05

9th Paul Coupe 8.17

10th Trawler Lawler 8.47

11th Dave Arnold 8.93

12th Runcorn Rich 9.15

13th Dave “Core Boards” DQ

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