MALCOLM Harrison was a man in a hurry and on a mission.

Running up and down the steps that leads to Bradford Ice Rink's ballet room, Bradford Speed Skating Club's chairman was trying to organise a fitness session for his members.

The wiry 59-year-old, whose blue tracksuit top was emblazoned with the name of the club, and his hard-working committee are trying to build the club back up to what it was before it became defunct in the 1980s.

Normally the members, who were mostly juniors this particular Monday night, would be on the ice – but priority had to be given on this occasion to skaters as it was the annual Bradford Open.

Juggling his stopwatch while trying to lead the stretches and balances with music playing gently in the background, Harrison was attempting to keep his pupils engaged as well as stopping them from pulling a muscle.

He said: "We have more members now than we had in the 1970s and 1980s and about a third to a half of them are juniors. Tonight isn't representative, as it was our first fitness session, but we had about 20 down."

On a cold and wet night, they included a couple of mums, who showed the youngsters how to do it in terms of concentration and poise, and a dad.

The youngsters' love of the sport – in the old days they could not compete until they were 16 or 17 but now they can be as young as five or six – is obvious, even though they might only have been doing it for 18 months or even as few as six.

"It's fun," said nine-year-old Brandon Marvell of Clayton, while ten-year-old Thomas Mardell – winner of two gold medals at Sheffield Ice Arena – said: "I like going really fast."

Micky Gawith of Wibsey, a Sheffield bronze medallist and one of the older juniors at 13, said: "I love speed skating but you have to get used to it."

Reformed 13 months ago, a momentous day is looming in the club's calendar – Saturday, May 6, the first race meeting for the new club.

On what will be the first anniversary of speed skaters getting back on Bradford Ice Rink, the meeting (4pm) will be a throwback to race nights of the past when big crowds, who used to bang on the perimeter barriers, cheered the home members on and the atmosphere built as the time neared for the main races.

More often than not, that extra encouragement would make the difference as Bradford speed skaters triumphed.

Harrison would like nothing more than a large crowd on May 6 that included some of their former skaters – as well, of course, people who are experiencing the thrill for the first time.

He explained: "We will have some, if not all of the best club speed skaters in the country down at the Ice Arena among the 40 to 50 taking part. These athletes really do know what speed is all about.

"But the sport has moved on enormously since we last raced here at Bradford. People will be shocked at how fast they are going.

"We hope to have a full entry list about a week or so before the event but it is fair to say to say that there will be some of the newly-formed GB Speed Skating Academy members with us during the three-hour meeting.

"The academy has been set up to produce the next line of world-beating speed skaters. Not many people realise that the world 500 metres record holder is British – Elise Christie.

"We need to shout success like this from the rooftops as our sport doesn't get the recognition it deserves. The academy skaters will be our new Olympic and world champions and we will have the chance to see them at Bradford."

Harrison alluded to those Sheffield successes by adding: "We have had quite a bit of success in the short period we have been back on the ice.

"This includes quite a few race wins, both at senior and junior levels, mainly in the novice classes at present, but we have some skaters that will soon be ready to move up to the main groups."

The main downside to reforming Bradford Speed Skating Club is that the crash mats that form the perimeter of the ice rink are showing signs of age.

"They have probably been in storage for four or five years and are some 20 years old, so they are starting to flake and show wear and tear," said Harrison.

"The barrier crash mats that we are using were kindly given to us by the Ice Arena at Dumfries but they weren't new at the time.

"We could do with sponsorship. This could be to help the race meeting itself and its associated costs or to replace the crash mats, which needs doing before May.

"We need 20 or ideally 30 new ones, at £250 per mat, but we can get company names put on them as a form of advertising."

Harrison can be contacted on 07999-477642 if any companies or individuals can help.

Meanwhile, the club are putting together a film demonstration that will be shown on the big screen in Centenary Square, a few hundred yards from the rink itself, every day for a year as part of their publicity drive.