Beer, frites, bike racing

Skol Six Day

There are few more alluring prospects than attending a European six-day race. The image of cyclists hand-slinging each other around a steep wooden track at break neck speed, the sound of spectators cheering from the centre, and the sticky potent smell beer mixed with bratwurst sausage and frites.

A distinctly Northern European affair, where night after night, fans pack into a small sports hall to enjoy circus-like crowd pleasing sporting duels. You would be forgiven for thinking this spectacular had been devised by our Belgian and German counter parts across the channel, however that's not how six-day racing started out.

1878 - London, England - A wager of £100 is set to for a professional cyclist to ride 1000 miles on a track in six days.

1891 - Madison Square Garden, New York - the idea is picked up by event organisers who offer prize money to the cyclist who can ride the farthest on the wooden track over six-days. Riders compete 24-hours a day only limited by the need to sleep.

1898 - New York - Six-day racing is a popular as ever but the racing is limited by the law which states riders are required to have 12 hours rest. Promoters allow two rider teams riders take to the track - one at a time and hand-sling to tag in and out. The style becomes known as Madison and to the French as l'americaine.

1939 - Sixes are so popular there are events in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Wembley, Paris, Brussels but with the out break of war, racing is suspended.

1950 - Six-day races begin after the war but the popularity is not as it was.

1967 - London England - Ron Webb (friend of Condor) revives the event and organises a six-day race in Earls Court. Breaking convention, he schedules only afternoon and evening race sessions with rests. Other organisers are up in arms, but soon follow suit.

1970 - With a break and different sessions more competitions are introduced. Riders still ride in teams of two. Promoters offer more money for race wins. Riders race more aggressively to the delight of the crowd, while MC's keep the crowds whipped into a frenzy. Highlight of the night remains the Madison.

1975 - Promoters in Belgium and Germany introduced live music, restaurants, bars even a nightclub opens below the track in Munich. Big stars are paid to ride and crowds pay to see them. Big beer companies sponsor the winter based events. The shorter events allow spectators you could go to the bar and come back before the start of the next race. Drunken fans use the event as a night out, building the popularity and the atmosphere. Madison remains the blue-ribband event.

1986 - Racing in Britain dies out. Track cycling doesn't seem to be as popular compared with other sports.

1990s - Europe - money pours in from sponsors and spectators. Sixes attract some of the best road riders such as Mario Cipollini and Erik Zabel.

2012 - Ghent, Belgium - Thousands of fans are attracted to the annual six-day events across Europe for the buzz and lure of high energy racing. The Ghent Six is the most popular among Brits as its easy to get to.

Don Allan & Danny Clark

Fancy the experience of a modern day six-day, for one weekend only? Herne Hill velodrome hosts the Dave Creasy Six.

A Belgian inspired track racing extravaganza, packed with all the unique elements of the six-day racing including Beers tents, Hand-slinging madness, Bratwurst and Frites stalls.

Races include superscratch, madison the Devil and everything in-between.

Where: Herne Hill Velodrome, SE24 9HE
When: Sunday 10th September, 11am-5pm
Entry: FREE

Twitter: @DaveCreasysix
Website: Dave Creasy Six Track Event

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