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Unsung heroes of British roller speed skating

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Forum Home > General Discussion > Quad speed skating on the way back?

snail
Member
Posts: 13

The rumour on the grapevine is that people are taking an interest in quad speed skating (mainly i imagine due to the excellent coaching given them by our shy teleskating hero Mr Wordsworth amongst others). Having joined the speedskating scene I was wondering if people have fond memories of their quad speedskating days? Best skates? Great techniques?Any other thoughts?



August 31, 2012 at 7:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

John C. Fry
Site Owner
Posts: 46

Best skates? - Boen 162mm plates with Bont heat mouldable boots

Technique? - Importantly, land heel and then toe - a la Concorde landing - especially when sprinting.  It was also important to stay high on the parabolic banking and use the "hump" off a bend, whereas these days tracks are a lot flatter and skating tight on a bend is far easier on inlines than quads where you used to generally scarifice grip for speed.

My quads are still set up with the same wheel combination for the last time I used them - World Champs 1993 - Colorado Springs, USA

Fond memories indeed, although wheel selection at worlds and euros was always a pain.  Always ended up taking a suitcase just for wheels - which could be more than 20 different sets on occasions.  Different wheel sizes as well as a vast array of hardnesses and cores that gave the wheels different properties.  Although hardnesses ranged from around 78 to 100+ generally somewhere between 90 and 97 were used - and then you generally found out that you still hadn't got "THE" wheel and ended up having to buy some.  I would suggest wheel selection was far more critical back then.  Anyone who knows the story of the "Black Magics" around Mar del Plata will tell you that.  Essentially, they were the only wheels that gripped the track - but you also had to be ultra strong to push them round.  If you wasn't on them chances are you would be an also ran...

Quads also had a sound to them that was lost with the introduction of inlines.  The old school tie brigade in the UK back then didn't want to move with the times and said that, amongst other things, "inlines were dangerous because you couldn't hear the skaters around you" .  Although inlines were first used in world championships in 1992 the UK did not allow them in British Championships until 1994! 

The only way quads would make a return is if there were "quad only" races.  All races in the UK are still "open" I believe where a skater can choose what type of skate he/she uses, as you can in worlds or europeans. The bottom line is that any skater who tries to win on quads against inlines would be a bit like jumping in Del Boy's Robin Reliant and trying to beat  Lewis Hamilton's McLaren - it simply wouldn't happen, hence you never see people race on them anymore.  Not those that want to go fast anyway. Remember...it's speed skating...where the idea is to go as fast as you can.  Unless there is a "quads only" World or European Championships then unfortunately the reality is that they will only ever be considered for fun events (which I have no problem with by the way) but there would be absolutely no benefit of any serious speed skater considering a return to quads...for fun events or otherwise.

September 2, 2012 at 5:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

roy lowe
Member
Posts: 10

My dexter high mileage skates turned up out of the blue after i thought that they were lost forever and they still fit, lot of nonsense talked about quad skates I switched from beadle to dexters in 1960 as Dexter was the standard skate used by the majority of skaters at that time, there was a period in the early sixties when lesser skaters myself included tried using different wheel bases i.e short bases for tracks lke herne bay and long bases for the embassy etc,  the fad in the B'ham club was started by leo eason who was an idol at that time but was not always good at giving advice , i remember that there were a few of us that changed the wheelbase on our skates as Leo was adamantthat was the way to go, didn't work for me  and it was akin to trying to control a wonky supermarket trolley,stupidly i persevered fof months convinced that it was me until went to a public session wth John Toy ,being the same sized feet we swapped skates as John wanted see what all the fuss was about, the result was that he could hardly stand on my skates but my experience was the opposite resulting with me immediately switching back to standard dexter wheelbase and thats how they remained , i ignored the advice of Cliff Stafford who was my mentor at the time to leave well alone but i knew best, the following week i watched Les Woodley at Herne bay on standard dexters and he was incredible surely the best that I ever saw at the bay and he was using standard dexters, the moral here is that its not really the skates its down to fitness and techniqe as i found out to my cost ,great thing about it is that it was a level playing field as no one had even heard of inline skates in those days, the top skaters at that time had pretty much the same equipment i think the theory was just get used to what you have, i was critical of inlines but J C is right they are certainly much quicker  than quads but it changed the sport as i knew into what i see as being replica ice skating which is not for me, although i did enjoy the race meeting that i went to at the wheels a few months ago, i came up in what i call the golden age of the sport with indoor wooden floors and i just can't imagine inline skates ever taking off  around that time, each to his own but I think that if John fry jnr had been around at that time he might well agree with me, ok slower maybe but we used to race in on rinks with the dust , noise and indoor crowds  helping to create a terrific atmosphere.I tried skating outdoors at places like Mallory p[ark etc and it just was not the same for me, each to his /hers own.

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January 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

John C. Fry
Site Owner
Posts: 46

I was fortunate to be around during the cross over from quads to inlines although most of my racing was done outdoors on both skates. That said I did a few races indoors and he atmosphere was great. It's a shame we can't get back to that...whether on quads or inlines. The big difference between roller skating and ice skating is the numbers. Ice skating has just four or five skaters in one race but on rollers (outdoors) there can be about 20 or 30 at any one time for the longer distances... I look forward to having a good natter about this with you in May, Roy.. 

January 27, 2013 at 4:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

roy lowe
Member
Posts: 10

Thanks John, I might be out of my depth regarding inline skates as I've never tried them, from what i can see there is no comparison with quads when racing outdoor but i still find it hard to believe that inlines would be quicker on the indoor rinks  of yesteryear, i suppose we will never find out, pity you missed the indoor scene as it was a tremendous time to be involved as a speed skater,  for me watching inline or ice skating is the absence of  the noise of the crowd and the skates although we could have done without the dust clouds, to paraphrase your formula one comments to me its like watching louis hamilton driving in silence as the noise is a huge part of the F1, would like to get John Toys opinion as he must have skated on inlines, thanks again for your work on the site, brilliant, hopefully catch up with you in May,    Roy

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January 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

HK47
Member
Posts: 10

Hi, figured I'd chip in on this; if quad speed is making a comeback then the driving force will almost certainly be flat track roller derby - the UK now has over a hundred leagues and tousands of skaters, all on quads, most of which are speed skates.  You can walk into about a dozen shops around the country and try on speed skates of various types.  There are also new quad skate boots, plates and wheels that use modern materials, a much needed infusion of easily available gear.


The vast majority of derby skaters would never be speed skaters, but studying speed skating really does help when playing derby, and there will be some who cross over.  I would love to see and participate in some speed skating on quads*, and I know I'm not the only one!

*(though I'd never be competitive, I'm far too big)

March 14, 2013 at 7:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

HK47
Member
Posts: 10
In related news, this: https://www.facebook.com/events/153359131496600/ It's a 2 day speed skating boot camp for roller derby skaters :-)
March 22, 2013 at 7:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

HK47
Member
Posts: 10

I'm going to be at the South Coast Roll this year, unlike the previous Goodwood Marathon it's not a formal race but I'll be trying to get a respectable time nonetheless :)  Thats on the 26th of May


Also, London Inline Marathon is featuring a Quad Endurance Challenge again this year, on the 30th of June

March 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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