Clevedon, UK – Pete Astles from Peak UK, winner of the Roland Hero contest, is having to revise his plans due to the wholly necessary postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. Thankfully, with the support of Roland dye sublimation technology, he will be working hard to prepare for the Games in 2021.
Held over the winter of 2018-19, the Roland Hero awards recognised members of the Roland community, telling their stories and inspiring others to make a change through their technology. The overall winner was Pete Astles, Director of Peak UK, who had designed pioneering new gear used by the world's best canoe slalom athletes during the 2016 Olympic Games. Printed with Roland Texart dye sublimation technology, the Racer ST helped win gold and silver medals.
Since then, Peak UK has refined its design to create the Racer ST 2020 while promoting its products to teams around the world. However, the project has been put on hold by the coronavirus outbreak.
Pete explains: "Before the government announced the lockdown, we were still trying to meet deadlines, while athletes were keen to continue to train. We will continue the project as soon as we can safely return to work.
"We have updated our ground-breaking Racer ST product to achieve the next level again in terms of weight and performance," he says. "In 2016 we worked exclusively with Team GB but this time the Racer ST 2020 will be available to all athletes from all nations. We expect to see twelve teams wearing it in Tokyo – we want to come back with umpteen medals."
Peak UK, based in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, has its own print room for the addition of logos, names and flags to its products. At the end of 2019 it was updated with a Roland Texart XT-640, a next-generation dye sublimation printer designed for high-volume sportswear and other fabric applications. It produces crisp, durable prints in hundreds of eye-catching colours including fluorescent pink and yellow.
"We update our equipment every Olympic cycle and installed our Texart RT-640 in 2016," says Pete. "The RT-640 never missed a line, never gave a bad print – in fact gave us incredible quality results. We wanted to speed things up for the next Olympics, so we purchased the Texart XT-640. Thanks to its dual print heads the XT-640 is double the speed. Roland Texart just keeps getting better and better while delivering the reliability we need."
For being recognised as the overall Roland Hero, Pete Astles and his family won a trip to Thailand, courtesy of Roland DG. Luckily, they travelled in February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments to place restrictions on international travel. Pete's children, aged four and six, enjoyed wearing 'Mini Hero' T-shirts and using personalised drinks bottles and luggage tags, printed for them by the Roland team.
"We had an amazing time in Koh Samui," says Pete. "It's a beautiful place and the whole holiday was brilliant."
As for the near future, Pete says: "Our Texart printers are currently hibernating, with the power on of course! Like many other businesses we are locked down, paused for the next few weeks, and eagerly waiting for the all-clear flag signalling it's time to get out on the water again."