Rollerburn – Make mine a Martini.

I had planned to take a break from shooting roller derby. The plan was to take a back seat and hang up the camera until the New Year, then reassess where it was going. Well, that was the plan.

Having decided to hit the World Cup the first step was to get my eye back in. Hot Wheel Roller Derby vs Newcastle Roller Girls. That got the left eye sorted. What I needed was another one to get the right eye calibrated. I had initially ducked out of covering the Monsters Brawl for Leeds, but as it afforded me the opportunity to catch up with some friends I decided to go along.

Right, that was definitely it for the year. Mo more.

Minx had told me about Rollerburn a couple of months previously, and I initially wavered, putting it on the back burner as a may be. Deciding to hang up my camera for the year, I dropped it all together.

As the date got closer Minx contacted me again. I was erring on not covering it but realised I was only saying no because I was being lazy. Sloth is a terrible sin, but one I am prone to every now and then.

Ok. What the hell, lets do it, I’d broken every other plan I had made recently and besides, it looked fun.
Never say, never. I learnt that a kid. I used to believe in certain fundamental truths but as I got older I realised that dogmatic faith was no substitute for experimentation. How do you know that sticking your hand in the toaster will not hurt unless you try it!

The day was to be filled with motorbikes, rollergirls, live music, so so burgers and the ever present threat of death by getting run over.

The highlight was going to be the rollergirl drag race. Not rollergirls dressed up as men doing a hundred yard dash, but rollergirls dressed in leathers, helmet, a slight look of fear, hanging of the back of a motorbike whilst the bikers hammered it down the straight as fast as possible.

As the day turned to night we got closer to the climax of the events. After sets by the Hip Priests, Les Terribles and the Stags, tension built for the highlight of the day.

The Kriega Rollerball drag race featured three rollers and riders.

The riders, Guy Martin and Mick Phillips (? He’s tagged in the photo but I may be wrong) looked the part. A steely look of determination on their faces, true professionals. The third was Charlie Chuck, comedian, all round nutter, who I’m pretty sure didn’t know one end of a bike from the other. He was having a few issues with the steel machine. And although I was a good few yards back I feared for my life. I was expecting the unexpected, or in reality, Charlie Chuck on an out of control motorbike mowing down bystanders.

The Bikes lined up. Hanging off the back were the rollers, Catfight Candy, Kelly Kaos and Minx a’matosis.  And they were off. It was all over in a flash. I have no idea who won.  The crowd were pumped up, demanding more. The bikes turned and roared back with the girls in tow for another run. This may have been the last time this crazy sport will ever be seen. The bikes roared and they were off on the second run and this time I got a better view.

Guy hammered it down the straight and three quarters of the way down Candy let go, crashing to the concrete. Minx and Mick were off to one side in second. Charlie in third was still accelerating with Kelly in tow straight towards a prone Candy. That’s it I thought. Front page of the nationals. “Rollergirl run over by hairy nutter on bike”. How he stopped, swerved or missed her I don’t know, but I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover, he wasn’t as mad as I thought.

And so ended the first, and possibly last, Kriega Rollerball drag race.

As for me, I’m just a Martini girl at heart, if there’s something weird going on just give me a call, any time, any place, anywhere.

All the shots from the days fun can be found on http://www.roller-derby-on-film.co.uk/

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