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6-Day Races in London

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Building Camperdown

Giordano Turrini

Retro is the new Modern?
Dateline: 25-Apr-2011
There must be a lot of cyclists that have never been to a 6-Day Race. Fewer still that have been to one in London - and for London read the British Isles; since the 6-Days held in other cities were way back in the
19th Century.

So when did London have 6-Day Races? Well it’s over 30 years since the last one - and below is the list of winning teams; traced mainly from old race programmes. Even from just this list of winners you can see the domination of mainland Europeans; with a few Australians breaking the control at times. Only Syd Cozens and Tony Gowland provided a British winner for the media to pick-up - but each was paired with an established star.

Roll of Honour : London Two Man Six Day Cycle Races
Updated 25-Oct-2015

1903

Tommy Hall

? Martin

1923

Alois Persyn

Pierre Vandevelde

1934

Piet Van Kempen

Syd Cozens

1936

Gustav Kilian

Heinz Vopel

1937

Piet Van Kempen

Albert Buysse

1938

Albert Buysse

Albert Billiet

1939

Karel Kaers

Omer De Bruycker

1951

Rene Adriaensens

Albert Bruylandt

1952

Alf Strom

Reg Arnold

1967

Palle Lykke

Freddy Eugen

1968

Peter Post

Patrick Sercu

1969

Peter Post

Patrick Sercu

1970

Peter Post

Patrick Sercu

1971

Peter Post

Patrick Sercu

1972

Patrick Sercu

Tony Gowland

1973

Leo Duyndam

Gerben Karstens

1974

Patrick Sercu

René Pijnen

1975

René Pijnen

Gunter Haritz

1977

Patrick Sercu

René Pijnen

1978

Danny Clark

Don Allen

1979

Patrick Sercu

Albert Fritz

1980

Danny Clark

Don Allen

2015

Kenny De Ketele

Moreno De Pauw

Since the last London 6-Day British track cycling has come a long way. In fact by 2008 the pool of GB track talent was well ahead of anything around in the 60’s or 70s. Yes there were British world champions on the track - Hugh Porter, Beryl Burton, etc - but not the number of riders we have currently.

I don’t know if 2008 will turn out to be the peak year or not - but it is certain that Britain has four indoor tracks now (Calshot, Manchester, Newport and London) compared to just one then. And soon that will increase to five as Glasgow comes on stream. To get some idea of what can be done in the future it is worth going back to see what has been done before.

London6-Day1939-1Wembley Six-Day Cycle Race 1939

Billed as the Fourth International Six Days Cycle Race it ran from Sunday (12:05 Midnight) 28 May to Saturday (11:05pm) 3 June. Day sessions ran from 2pm until 5:30pm, night sessions from 7pm until 5am except on the final night which finished at 11pm. There were 12 two-man teams with Arie Van Vliet and Cor Wals being team 1.

You can read the entire programme for the 1939 event by following the link below

No reports of the race have been found - so far. And then the war stopped the races not coming back until 1951.

Information transcribed from 6DayRacing.ca

More at Six Day Cycle Races UK

London6-Day1952-1Wembley Six-Day Cycle Race 1952

Billed as the Sixth Wembley Six Days Cycle Race it ran from Sunday (12 Midnight) 18 May to Saturday (11pm) 24 May. Day sessions ran from 2pm until 5:30pm, night sessions from 7pm until 2am except on the first night (midnight to 5am) and final night which finished at 11pm. There were 12 two-man teams with Albert Bruylandt and Rene Adriaensens being team 1; as winners in 1951. So much the same formula as the pre-war race.

You can read the entire programme for the 1952 event by following the link below. But again no reports yet of the actual race. That was the last Six of the NCU era.

Information transcribed from 6DayRacing.ca

More at Six Day Cycle Races UK

London6-Day1974-1Wembley Skol 6 1974

Running from 20 to 25 September the 1974 London Six was much more in the mould of the European Sixes - greatly influenced by organiser Ron Webb and race director Peter Post. It was also the eighth in the “modern” series so a knowledgeable following had built-up. Even the commentators - Dave Duffield, Hugh Porter and Phil Liggett - make it seem more like the present day.

You can view the 1974 programme in full by following the link below. But I still cannot provide any report about the actual racing :-(

However in the previous year, 1973, the London 6-Day was covered by Peter Kent for the October issue of International Cycle Sport - so click here to read more..

Information transcribed from 6DayRacing.ca

More at Six Day Cycle Races UK

Wembley Six Day Races 1975 to 1980

The London Six continued for another 6 years - but then no more.

So what has changed that might make it return? Well for the past 30 years putting on indoor cycle racing in London meant hiring a venue and building a track. Now the situation is reversed - we have a venue with a permanent track. And it will need regular events to help reduce its operating costs. Costs which will be significant whether or not it is used. The track operators might start out with hopes of high fees for hiring out the track but in reality there are not going to be many promoters willing to commit to big costs up front. It might need some form of profit-share or even risk-share before an organiser takes on the challenge.

But it is a challenge that needs to be taken on - if you want to see cycling play a bigger role in the British sporting calendar

See also Golden Opportunity for 6-Day Revival
.

Footnote:
The often quoted lists of 19th Century British Six-Day Races and their winners were repeated here ..... but it seems that the information given in these printed reference works has turned out to be wrong / incomplete!

So it is now best to refer to the ever-expanding list of races that were reported in the press at the time that is online at Six Day Cycle Races UK

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