PRESS RELEASE: Safe from the dark skies, high winds and torrential rain of tropical storm “Feria” the very first Rollapaluza roller-racing event in Asia event took place inside the Festival Mall, Manila, Philippines last Thursday 25th June.
It’s a long way from the back room of an East London pub when nine years ago the format of this sport / entertainment event was created by cycle couriers. Rollapaluza is still run by two ex-couriers Caspar Hughes and Paul Churchill and they travelled to the Philippines to train the local team and oversee the launch event.
“It was an amazing experience, the hospitality and enthusiasm of the local team was brilliant and the scale of the launch incredible” explained Churchill. Local Rollapaluza partner David Charlton is a famous Philippines business figure and champion of female cycling, he already sponsors a women’s race team and cycling club and he sees great potential for Rollapaluza in the region, not least beacuse it’s a sport that can take place inside away from the heat, humidity and indeed Thursday’s typhoon.
Rollapaluza no longer refurbishes vintage rigs, they now manufacture them to their own stringent specification and this is how the franchise idea was born. “We’d love to see global competition” explains Hughes “the rigs we’re now producing are identical, so performances will be comparable world-wide and we’re already fielding franchise enquiries from around 20 regions on all continents”.
At Festival Mall, just outside Charlton’s Union Jack Tavern, thousands of Philippinos witnessed first-hand the Rollapaluza experience of pumping music and two cyclists battling it out on a pair of static bikes over 500m and if anything the crowd were noisier than those in the UK claimed Churchill. And those present were not the only people in the Philippines to see this demonstration race, no less than five national TV crews were there alongside countless journalists.
In the competition itself the three attending Philippina beauty queens did compete but were knocked out early in the women’s competition leaving the star of Team David’s Salon, South East Asia games Duathlon Bronze medalist Analiza Dysangco to beat Philippina triathlon champion Bing Alta in the final. Plenty of top riders from the national cycling team turned up for the men’s competition including the National cycling coach Joselito Santos who put on a fine dispaly of technique, but it was best newcomer at this year’s Tour of the Philippines Mark Bonzo who came up against Rollapaluza’s own experienced Caspar Hughes (one of the fastest ten riders ever on the Rollapaluza rigs). Hughes’ jet lag started to show however and he was just pipped in the final by the improving local star.
David Charlton and his team intend to put on many more Rollapaluza events in 2009 and already have a live TV race scheduled for 10th July.
If you’re interested in seeing Rollapaluza in your region visit: www.rollapaluza.com/franchise
Rollapaluza Philippines: www.rollapaluza.com/philippines or www.rollapaluza.com.ph