Hartlepool Loipers Rollerski Race, 3rd Sept 2023

In September this year Tyneside Loipers hosted the final event in this year’s ‘Northern Roll’ Race Series. The northern clubs in Snowsport England (Manchester, Yorkshire Dales, Lakeland and ourselves) came together to create four events through the summer at venues throughout the north. This was the driving force for us to identify a better track than Hetton Country Park (which we had been using for many year). The super new track at Summerhill Country Park in Hartlepool has a much better surface and also we were able to have exclusive use and not have to contend with dog walkers and other local users like at Hetton. The track is also great for spectators, being a very compact circuit with lots of twists and turns.

Each race in the ‘Northern Roll’ series is a one-hour endurance race. Competitors do as many laps as they can within the hour. For our event we chose to make it a ‘classic’ race, whereas the others had all been freestyle (skating) events. Classic technique (diagonal stride and double poling) seemed better suited to this shorter track with its tight bends.

We also ran a separate sprint race which was just a single timed lap. That was great fun and impressively won by Gregor Fijalkowski from the Cairngorm Biathlon club in just 1 min 47 sec (an average speed over 25km/h).

Greg was not much slower in the main race, completing 30 laps in just over the hour. His wife Beata Nowok managed 27 laps, whilst the nearest challenger Martin Appleby from Yorkshire Dales club did 19 laps, just pipping Allie Wilson (first Loiper). We were blessed with superb weather and everyone enjoyed the event. Watch this super video taken by Kevin and Kimberley to see what it was like on the day. We look forward to running it again in 2024!

Many thanks to helpers and lap scorers, Sally Hall, Sarah Rees, Howard Adamson and Kevin and Kimberley Moore.