I’ve been living a very secluded lifestyle because I just cannot believe I haven’t seen any of this before. It’s just insane! The Ghent 6 Day racing. Google it, Facebook it, Youtube it, Instagram it, or whatever you choose, just have a look at it, it’s just finished in Belgium with a last-minute almost last lap win by a couple of very famous cyclists.
Before i have a look at Ghent, I’d like to introduce you to the wonder that is 6 Day racing.
Six Day Racing
Six-day races started in Britain in 1878, funnily as a bet, spread around the world, were brought to their modern style in the United States and are now mainly a European event.
The six day events did not become popular in the States until 1891, when the first Six days of New York were held in New York’s Madison Square Garden. In the main ‘chase’ or Madison sessions, both riders may be on the track at the same time, taking it in turns to race, hand-slinging each other back into action.
Why 6 days? Races lasted six days rather than a week to avoid racing on Sunday. Of course.
The success of Madisons in America led to their introduction in Europe.
The first was at Toulouse in 1906, although it was abandoned after three days because of lack of interest. Berlin tried, three years later, with success. Five races were held in Germany in 1911-12. Brussels followed in 1912 and Paris in 1913.
Six-day racing was popular in the United States until the Second World War. Then the rise of the automobile and the Great Depression brought a decline
In October 2016 a Six Day Series was announced for the 2016-2017 season, including the Six Days of London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, culminating in a one-night final to be held in Palma, Majorca in March 2017.
The aim is for the Six-day races to be contested in a festival atmosphere by teams of two across a range of disciplines, with the winners being the pair with the highest cumulative points total.
Teams will battle for points across the four Six Day events, with the top 12 qualifying for the final event. The women’s racers will share top billing with the men in Mallorca with the top 12 across the season also qualifying for the final event.
And of course, the entertainment won’t be far away with a track centre DJ and entertainment at all events.
And the reason for my interest, well, i came across the Ghent 6 on the interwebby thing the other day – as i said above, it looks insane, it’s a social event that goes on for 6 days in downtown Ghent. Have a look at some of the pictures below.
Ghent Six Day
The Ghent Six Day is an annual track cycling event held in the Belgian town of Ghent at the Kuipke velodrome November of each year.
So, what is the Ghent 6 and what is it all about?
Well, as noted above, Six Day racing first gained popularity in the late 19th Century at New York’s Madison Square Garden – hence the Madison – and for many years the racing really was 24-hour a day stuff. Teams of two raced round the clock for six days and nights, with one member of the team racing on the track at any one time, the other resting.
The format survived in Europe until the 1960s, but it had become stale. It become common for teams to neutralise the racing in the small hours, the crowds lost interest and dropped off, so eventually the format it was dropped.
Now, the Ghent Six Day runs for five evenings from Tuesday to Saturday, and a Sunday afternoon, and consist of a series of track events contested by pairs of riders.
There are a combination of events including:
- 60-lap points race: Points on offer every ten laps
- Flying-lap time trial: One team member winds up the pace and then hand-slings his team-mate who is timed over the last lap
- Elimination races: Raced as pairs and individuals, last man over the line on the designated sprint laps is eliminated
- Derny races: Motorcycles pace the riders
- Scratch: races A basic free-for-all, first over the line wins
- 500m time trial: Fairly self-explanatory
- Madison: Racing as pairs, one rider in the race at a time, the riders swap over by hand-slinging each other into the action. Aim is to lap the field to increase the chance of winning the final sprint
Calculating who wins can get complicated but basically it’s about trying to gain laps on the rest of the field, typically in the Madison races.
The winning team is the team to have covered the longest distance at the end of the competition, meaning that they have cycled the greatest number of rounds, of course a bonus round is allocated for every one hundred points that a team achieves.
If two teams have cycled the same number of rounds, then the winning team will be decided based on the points. These points can be won in all the events on the programme of the Six-Days.
Points are awarded for every race, as well as sprint laps during the races. But there’s no point being half a dozen laps down with a stack of points – you’ve still got to keep up. For every hundred points won, the team is awarded a free lap too.
Riders are in and out of the race so frequently typically lapping at around 11 or 12 seconds, covering hundreds of laps a night.Behind the dernys, riders will do this in as little as nine seconds. In a week each rider will have covered not far off 1,000 kilometres.
The rules are crazy – see here http://www.sport.be/z6sdaagse/2016/en/zesdaagse/
Riders can drop out, teams can drop out, new teams can form throughout the competition. The leader can form a provisional team Races can be neutralised for 1.5 km through recognised mechanical issues or crashes. The race doctor may neutralise a rider for a maximum of 36 hours, after which if the rider cannot rejoin he is taken out of the race
The Kuipke velodrome has an aura no other velodrome in Europe possesses. For a start the short 166-metre track makes it a tight, intimate venue, and its tumbledown, slightly worn-around-the-edges feel only adds to the charm.
Loosely translated as the Dish, Het Kuipke is wedged into a big hall that smells of stale beer on the city’s busy ring road, the boards here are used only for the Ghent Six Day event. Across town, a 250m indoor velodrome serves all other local track cycling purposes.
Under your wheels, the boards creak and groan like an old ship. In places you feel it sinking beneath you. Other spots are just plain rough.
The crudest of the Kuipke’s impurities are the cracks of the giant door cut into the banking at one end.
Then there’s the aroma – broiling hot dogs, beer, cheap perfume… And that’s just the riders!
The Ghent Six Day may not be the slickest but it’s the most authentic and the fans turn out year after year to pack out the arena. It’s noisy, boozy and exhilarating.
The first Ghent Six was held in 1922 and was won by Marcel Buysse.
Every day starts with the Memorial Noël Foré (“Future stars six-day event”) for cyclists under 23 years of age.
The women will compete against each other in the Ladies Three-Day Omnium on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Omnium is organised according to the Olympic formula: six disciplines in three days, two disciplines a day.
Every day the main programme consists of the relay race, the elimination, the time trial and the spectacular derny.
It looks awfully confusing and a busy program over the 6 days, so just to give you a feel ive posted the last days program from this years event.
|11.30hrs||Time trial: lap of the track||Sprint Cup||Flying start (4 riders)|
|11.40hrs||Time trial: 500m||AVS Cup (U23)||Flying start with relay (based on yesterday’s results: 12 -> 1) + ceremony|
|12.05hrs||Sprint (1/2 final)||Sprint Cup||2 rounds (1st & 4th time trial, 2nd & 3rd time trial) with 2 riders|
|12.15hrs||Madison||AVS Cup (U23)||240 laps with sprint after 50, 100, 150, 200, 210, 220, 230 and 240 laps + ceremony|
|13.15hrs||Sprint (final)||2 rounds (for 3rd & 4th place, for 1st & 2nd place) with 2 riders|
|13.20hrs||Ceremony final: yellow + green jersey||AVS Cup (U23)|
|13.25hrs||Presentation of teams||Elite||Presentation of teams, cycling on the track (12 -> 1)|
|13.45hrs||Points Race||Elite||50 laps with a sprint every 10 laps + ceremony|
|14.00hrs||Points Race||Elite||50 laps with a sprint every 10 laps + ceremony|
|14.15hrs||Team elimination race||Elite||1st drop off after 10 rounds, followed by every 6 aps + ceremony|
|14.30hrs||Tempo Race||Ladies Omnium||45 laps (1st sprint after 5 laps, followed by every 2 laps) + ceremony|
|14.50hrs||Scratch race||Elite||30 laps + ceremony|
|15.05hrs||Time trial: 500m||Elite||Flying start with relay (based on yesterday’s results: 12 -> 1) + ceremony|
|15.30hrs||Derny race||Elite||1st round : 60 laps + ceremony|
|15.45hrs||Supersprint||Elite||6 x drop off every 6 laps, 10 laps with sprint + ceremony|
|16.00hrs||Derny race||Elite||Second round : 60 laps + ceremony|
|16.15hrs||Time trial: lap of the track||Elite||Flying start with relay (based on yesterday’s results : 12 -> 1) + ceremony|
|16.40hrs||Start final Madison||Elite||60 minutes (last 50 laps with sprint every 10 laps : 5 x 10-6-4-2 points)|
|17.40hrs||Arrival final Madison||Elite|
|18.00hrs||End of the sixth day|
And this years winners – some old familiar faces. Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish took out the overall Gent Six Day by stealing a lap in the closing minutes of the event’s final chase.
The British duo went into the last race, an hour-long Madison, well behind the the leaders Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw in third place.
A flurry of attacks popped off the front, and each time the Madison world champions took a lap, they were answered by their rivals. Eight times the top three teams lapped the field, and looked to be locked into position heading into the final minutes, with De Ketele and De Pauw holding a slight lead over Viviani and Keisse on points.
But with the laps ticking down, Wiggins made the move that would propel his team around the field, being declared lap leaders with just five short 167m laps to go.
There was no time for the other teams to respond, and the Britons, despite being a full 65 points in arrears, won the overall thanks to that single attack.
Further event information here. http://www.sport.be/z6sdaagse/2016/en/?v=15102014
Australian Six Day History (Readers Digest Version)
Not surprisingly, Australia has a significant albeit spluttering history of 6 day events, starting right back in 1881. It gained a lot of popularity in the 60’s, was on life support overt the 70’s and 80’s, flat lined in the 90’s, 00’s and has just had a revival in Melbourne on the 5th November , with the BOHDI Australasian 6 Day. Attendances were light on and that would be expected, but lets hope BOHDIand the organisers have a long-term view and it gathers support and momentum in coming years.
- Adelaide Six Day. 6 editions from 1960 to 1967.
- Bendigo – 1 edition in 1960
- Brisbane – 1 edition in 1932
- Gold Coast – 4 editions between 1975 – 1978
- Launceston – 21 editions between 1961 – 1987
- Melbourne – 18 editions spread between 1912 – 1983
- Maryborough (Qld) – 3 Editions between 1961 and 1967
- Newcastle – 3 Editions between 1961 – 1970
- Perth – 5 Editions between 1961 – 1989
- Sydney – 17 editions between 1912 and 1974
- Townsville – 1 edition in 1962
- Whyalla – 3 Editions between 1966 and 1968
The winners of the 2016 BODHI Australasian 6 Day were:
- 1st Kell O’Brien & Matt Ross 0 Laps 387 pts.
- 2nd Cam Scott & Nick Yallouris-1 lap 465 pts.
- 3rd Cooper Sayers & Alex Morgan-2 laps 218 pts.
- 4th Jarrod Drizners & Braden O’Shea -3 laps 304 pts.
- 5th Ross Freeman & Callan Douglas -4 laps 194 pts.
- 6th Tyler Spurrell & Sam Lane -4 laps 167 pts
- 7th Bailey Goltz & Luke Knox -8 laps. 30 pts
Not quite the same atmosphere, but it’s great to see the format reappear in Australia, and hopefully it will continue on and buildup.
So, if you can give whatever support you can to those who are getting behind this reformatting of a great event. Including BOHDI, who make some pretty fine cycling gear.
Theres a nice little symmetry behind BODHIs involvement with the Aus 6-Day and the Ghent 6-Day – “Our premium Italian fabrics will provide you with the greatest of comfort, the best protection and pure Belgian craftsmanship. All that to make you give your whole on that bicycle.”
Cycling Infrastructure – San Sebastion Bike Tunnel
San Sebastion, the basque city on the Northern coast of Spain, is home an 850m long dedicated bike tunnel on this planet.
The bicycle tunnel itself is a part of a 2 kilometre section of former railway that connects two neighbourhoods in the city and is part of the ongoing commitment of the city to encourage people to choose the bicycle as transport.
For a city of around 200,000 people, its quite remarkable the city invested over $3.5M for this one section cycling infrastructure, part of their overall commitment to encouraging people to commute. Insert big sigh here!
The tunnel features 29 security cameras, a public address system and closed circuit camera link for the Municipal Guard.
OK, I’ve got a mate who’s travelling overseas at the end of this week, and he showed me Polarsteps, the travel log app he’s going to use on his travels around America.
Polarsteps, is an app that lets travelers automatically track their route and places they’ve visited while they are travelling. Trips are shown on a realtime map that can be shared with friends and family, so they can follow along with the globetrotting of their loved ones like they’re in the back seat.
The concept of Polarsteps is simple: schedule your upcoming trips and the app will do its magic. It checks your location from time to time, and plots the results on a colorful map where your family and friends can follow your adventures. As you approve suggested ‘steps’ and add photos, the travel log populates itself. The app also offers a wide range of statistics, such as trip duration, countries visited and distance traveled.
Because Polarsteps is optimized for travel, travelers can even track their trips without cell coverage or data roaming. The app synchronizes its data whenever there’s a pocket of cell reception — or after logging in to the Wi-Fi at the hotel at the end of a day of travel. Polarsteps uses energy efficient technology to track your location, which means that a full day of tracking only takes a few percent off your battery.
Further details here. https://www.polarsteps.com/
Rider of the Week – Rob Greenwood
This week i take a ride with Rob down along Adelaide stunning coastline.
- What first got you started in cycling?
Weight loss mainly, I was fairly big guy and was faced with back surgery for a bulging discs and pinched nerves or get healthy. That was early 2012. So long story short , joined a weight loss group (very intimidating) over a couple of yrs lost close to 30kgs… (that’s a great effort Rob).
- How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?
I own 3 currently , main go to bike is a 2015 Cannondale High Mod Evo. Other bikes are a CAADX Ultegra disc and my MTB is a Trek.
- Are you a roadie, or do you cross over to other disciplines?
I do a bit of CX riding, recently found a love of gravel, but I would identify as Roadie really
- What bike do you covet?
I try not to covet bikes, it’s an expensive habit as it is. Apart from the new Evo disc, I’m really liking the new BMC range and I have a project on the go at the moment which is really different for me (Well that’s got me curious Rob)
- How do you store your bikes?
My Crossie and Roadie have the spare room in my house and my MTB lives in the garage.
- Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
- What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
Lock ring remover, Chain whips, Torque key
- What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
My Hells 500 Grey Stripe kit or my Falls Creek Challenge sub 10 kit ( 2016) purely for the sentiment behind them.
I’ve really found my comfort in long endurance rides but these two particular events pushed my mental strength to places I didn’t know I could go .. They opened my thoughts up what can I make myself do- which led me in to running half marathons this year too.
What do you love about cycling?
All the opportunities that have opened up, the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, the freedom it gives you, massive sense of achievement – It has changed my life really
- What annoys most about cycling?
Our sport is meant to be inclusive and welcoming – some people are not..
- Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
Peter Sagan – his bike handling skills alone are mind blowing
- If you could have dinner with 3 people in the cycling world, who would they be and why?
Phil Liggett – just to pick his brains really.. could listen to the man talk forever
Eddie Merckx – the stories that man must have would be gold
Anna Meares – no explanation really – she’s a legend
- Where would that dinner be?
Farm Shed in Hahndorf – just excellent tapas and amazing win list!
- What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
There are so many- so I’ve picked a few
- First 100km ride – Amys Ride 2012
- First 3 Peaks ride – was one of the best days on the bike in my life – on my CAAD10
- Seeing my mate Bria cross for her Sub 10 at this years 3 Peaks – We trained a lot together leading in to the event and it turned out to be a bloody tough day- amazing to see her do that.
- Redline Classic 2014 – with my mate Ben, day two, on the road from Yankalilla to Victor. We ended up off the front with Pat Jonker, burying ourselves to keep up. That afternoon was something that I’ll look back on for a long time and smile…an amazing experience, and
- The two Everestings I’ve completed ( so far)!
- What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy as a treat?
Paddys Lantern ( Gilbert Street) Treat – just more coffee generally!
- Have you traveled overseas with the bike? If so, where?
Yes, to the UK, this year.
- Do you have a favourite overseas country you’d love to cycle in?
I really like Southern France, would love to go back with the bike
- What is your favourite local training route?
Up to Mt Lofty via Chandlers Hill, Iron bank. Its only about 35kms from my place to the summit but has some great climbs can get in about 1000vms
- What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
Haha – I won’t need to upgrade for a while
- What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
Some Northwave Extreme RR shoes – It’s in Feb.. I’m 40, if anyone is feeling generous !
- Is there a local cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
Yes absolutely – Redline Cycling – a great club for info checkout the group on Facebook or Insta
Bicycle Express – Halifax Street/TheParade- We all prefer our own LBS, but these guys have gone above and beyond for me since I started riding
- Is there anything else you feel like talking about?
Not really – apart from next time you are on your bike and pass another rider…. wave….
Thanks Rob, it was great to meet and ride with you, you’ve come a long way in 4 years, I’ll be interested in seeing what your little project is.
So, that brings us to the end of another Wednesday Legs. Hard to believe there’s only 2 more before Christmas.
till next time