British Skating Legends

Unsung heroes of British roller speed skating


The longest time between winning the first and last individual senior British Championship is 23 years 3 months and 19 days.  Sutton Atkins’s first title was the Mens 300 metres Time Trial on 20th June 1992 and his last was the Mens Marathon on 11th October 2015.

Chloe Ronaldson holds the record for a female skater with a duration of 21 years 4 months and 21 days.  Her first title was the Ladies 1/4 Mile on 8th March 1958 and her last was the Ladies 500 metres time trial on 29th July 1979.

The youngest person to win a Senior British Championship is Chanelle Moore who was aged 14 years and 340 days when she won the Senior ladies 200 metres Time Trial at Birmingham Wheels on 6th June 2004.

The youngest senior mens individual British Champion is Ashley Harlow (Herne Bay Flyers) who was aged 15 years 191 days when he won the 5000 metres at Birmingham Wheels on 13th July 1985, beating his own brother's (Rohan Harlow) record by 43 days which he had set in 1982.

The 1000th British Championship was won by Jessica Hoare (South Woodham Ferrers R.S.C.) when in on 11th July 2004 she won the Pupil Girls 500 metres event at Tatem Park, London.

The most number of national titles won by a British club to date is 490 (429 individual and 61 team)  by the Birmingham Wheels club between 1984 and 2020.  South Woodham Ferrers are second with 291 titles (281 individual and 10 team).

Sutton Atkins has won British Championships with SIX different clubs, more than any other skater.  The clubs being - Derby Rollerspeed, Team Hyper Wheels, Team Bauer Hyper, Cadomotus Racing, Raps Racing and East Midlands Racing.  He also won the Senior Men's Marathon title in 2015 skating independently.

The most number of individual senior British titles won is 54 by Sutton Atkins (between 1992 and 2015).

Steve Walter (Silver Blazers R.S.C.) who won the 1989 Junior Boys 6 - 10 years 500 Metres British Championship at Tatem Park is now better known as Steve Thompson - England rugby legend and Rugby World Cup Winner!

The Tuffnell Bowl awarded for the Ladies Relay Championship between 1954 and 1983 was donated by Mr. Alan Tuffnell, father of England's cricketing hero Phill Tuffnell.  Mr Tuffnell and his wife, Sylvia Tuffnell (nee Mason) were both skaters with the Alexandra Palace RSC - Sylvia having been part of the team that won the 1952 Chambers Trophy.

Great Britain has had 6 World Champions.  They are Harold Wilkinson (1938), Arthur W.Cooper (1938), William C. Ross (1938), Leo Eason (1963), Danny Kelly (1963) and John Folley (1969).

John Folley was the last British speed skater to win a gold medal at a World Championships winning the 10000 metres on the track at Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1969.

Leon Flack was the last British speed skater to win a medal at a World Championships taking two silver medals in the road and track Junior World Championship 1500 metres at Piombino, Italy in 1998.

Michael McGeough was the last British senior man to win a medal at a Senior World Championships taking a silver and bronze medal in the 500 metres knock-out and 5000 metres respectively, on the road at Leuven, Belgium in 1981.

Lisa Smith was the last British senior woman to win a medal at a Senior World Championships taking bronze in the 1500 metres on the road at Cassano d’Adda, Italy in 1988.

Leon Flack was the last British gold medal winner in a major international event when he won the senior 500 metres at the 2004 European Championship on the track at Heerde in Holland.

At the 1956 World Championships, Leo Eason competed as a West German skater to make up one half of the German team that took part in the "unofficial" World Championships 2 Man Relay event, the Coupes des Nations, when one of their skaters became injured.  They finished 4th, just behind the British team of Geoff Wright and Graham Stead.

David McFarlane skated for New Zealand in the 1989 World Championships but due to a dual-nationality passport went on to skate for Great Britain in the 1991 European and World Championships.  In the European Championships he won a bronze medal in the 300 metres time trial on the road.

Steve Collins was the first British skater to win a national title in another country when he became Belgian Champion in the mid 1970's.  It was whilst racing in Belgium that he met his future wife and Belgian skater, Anita Pauwels, who coincidentally went on to win a gold medal in a British Championships with Mercia in the ladies relay of 1983.

The most number of World Championship gold medals won by a British skater is 2 when William C. Ross won the 5000 metres and 10000 metres on the track at Wembley, England in 1938.  Incidentally, he is also the only British World Champion not to have won a British Championship.

The most number of individual European Championship gold medals won by a British skater is 3 by John E. Fry with the 500 metres time trial (1971 road and 1978 track) and 5000 metres (1979 track).  He also has a European gold medal from the 10000 metres 3 man relay Championship (1984 road).  He was a member of the British team that crossed the line first in the European relay Championship (1985 road) only for the race to be declared void.  Incidentally, he also won gold in the 2 man relay events held during the 1971 European (road) Championships and 1975 World (road) Championships prior to their recognition as bone fide Championship events.

Lisa Smith is the only British female to have won gold medals at a major international winning the 1500 metres road and track Junior European Championships in Birmingham, England in 1984.

Michael McInerney holds the record for winning the most number of major international medals in one Championship with 6 gained during the 1987 Junior European Championships held in Nantes, France.  This included gold in the 3000 metres.

The most number of major international medals in one Championship won by a senior skater is 5 won by Darren Cobley at the 1984 European Championships in Vienna, Austria - which included a gold in the 10000 metres relay on the road.


John Folley is the only British skater to have won both a World Championship (1969) and European Championship (1971) at different venues.  (Prior to 1967 some World Championships were recognised as World and European Championships combined.  Not until 1967 did European Championships become a separate event).

The longest elapsed time without any World Championship event is 5 years 166 days between 8th December 1969 and 23rd May 1975.

The city that has held the most World Championships is Mar del Plata, Argentina, with 2 road (1966 and 1997) and 5 track (1969, 1975, 1978, 1983 and 1997).

The 1975 World Championships on the track in Mar del Plata were not concluded due to heavy rain fall.  This is the only time in history where a major international has had to be cancelled before all events had been run.

Annie Lambrechts (Belgium), Pepita Cuevas (Spain) and Alberta Vianello (Italy) are the only skaters to have made a clean sweep of all World Championships in any one year.  Only Vianello has done this more than once. In fact she has done it three times, twice on the track (1956 and 1961) and once on the road (1961).

Annie Lambrechts (Belgium) won 17 individual World Championships between 1964 and 1981.  All were won on the road.  Her sister, Josette, won just one World Championship in 1965, on the track!

John Folley was the first senior man to win all metric British Championships in any one year (1971).  Only Michael McGeough and Tony Marriott have also achieved this (1973 and 1990 respectively).

Between 20th July 1952 and November 1955, Great Britain held all of the recognised imperial distance men's track World Records, ¼ mile to 15 miles.  Between 29th November 1960 and 1965 they did so again, this time from ¼ mile to 100 miles..!

Between 20th July 1952 and 4th November 1956 British women held every track World Record from ¼ mile to 5 miles.  Italy held the rest (10 miles to 50 miles).

On 29th November 1959 Patricia Harris became the first British lady to hold a metric World Record, skating 500 metres on the Birmingham Embassy Rink in a time of 58.0 seconds.  She also went on to break the 1000, 1500 and 5000 metres.

The late Dennis Stafford (uncle of Chris Stafford) and John Toy became the first British men to hold metric World Records when they broke the 5000 metres (9:16.60) and 10000 metres (18:29.60) respectively on 29th November 1959. 

In 1960 British skaters attempted to break a number of World Records on the track. On 24th September Les Woodley broke every men's metric record from 500 metres to 30000 metres and every imperial record from ¼ mile to 20 miles.  Leon Goodchild already held the 50,000 and 100,000 metres.

Pat Barnett was the last British skater to break an official World Record when she set numerous times at varying distances on the track (Brixton) on 24th June 1962.

Ian Ashby set an "unofficial" track World Record when he won the 300 metres time trial British Championship on Tatem Park on 24th July 1983 with a time of 27.84 seconds.

The longest standing official British Record is that of the 50,000 metres on the track set by Leon Francis Goodchild on 12th June 1960 at the Birmingham Embassy Rink in a time of 1 hour 41 minutes and 0.1 seconds.

The first ever sanctioned race for veterans in Great Britain was a men's only race held on 5th September 1982 by Wisbech Roller Speed Club at the Peterborough United Football Ground and won by John Toy of Mercia R.S.C.  Not until 7th April 1996 would a Veterans British Championship be held when Dave Kelly (Southend R.S.C.) and Judy Connor (Chiltern Flyers R.S.C.) won the men's and ladies 1500 metres indoor titles at Granby Halls, Leicester.

According to the FISS Sporting Rules, Palmer Park, Reading, a venue previously used for holding British Championships, does not constitute either a track or road circuit, begging the question…what exactly is it?

All of the above is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.  Please feel free to challenge any "fact" and contact me if you would like to add any of your own.