NAS-TRACK’s State of the 6 Day Address - Chairman Dale Hughes
The 6 Day began in America in the late 1800’s.
One man racing 24hrs/6 days.
In 1899, New York laws forced the Madison Square Garden’s 6 Day
organizers to limit the riders to a maximum of 12 hrs of riding
The “Madison” was invented - a 2 rider team relay race 24/6.
The 6 Day was modified again in the late 1920’s, some were
24/6, some were 12/6. Another sign that excitement and speed
were more important than endurance. These were the peak years
of the 6 Day. Thousands of fans, the biggest celebrities, even
Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, Detroit Olympia,
Chicago Stadium, Maple Leaf Garden, Montreal Forum were
architecturely designed to create the best possible viewing venue for
the indoor track racing fan.
The speed of the car and WWII ended the popularity of the 6 Day in
the US - really all forms of the sport of cycling died in the US after the war.
But remember, when the 6 Day was at its zenith in the 1920s, the
Tour de France was just a cross country race.
In Europe, the 6 Day survived because it was basicly a way for
road cycling fans to stay connected to the sport during the winter
months - it became a big Octoberfest with a circus like attmosphere.
Unfortunately, too much circus and not enough real sport.
Now the 6 Day has been mandated to last at least 4 hrs a night
for 6 days. They bring in big Road stars to fill the seats and continue
the circus atmosphere, continue the beer bust and relagate the real
track stars to helpers for the Road stars.
The German 6 Days in Munich, Berlin and Bremen are very successful, but
the rest in Germany and Europe are hanging on in tired facilities.
The state of the 6 Day in the US in ZERO. None survived.
I organized the last indoor 6 Day in the US in 1978. It was held
at Michigan State University’s Demonstration Hall. It was exciting,
fun but not profitable.
So what is the future of Track Racing?
Using the current format there is NO FUTURE. In Europe, each
6 day organizer picks his own riders, always featuring the latest
Road star. The most important goal of the organizer is to have a
home town or home country team win. Certainly, the fans like to
see the home country win, but that has led many 6 Days to be
pre-determined. Either by not allowing the best 6 day riders to
attend or worse encouraging the best riders to control the race.
Many cycling purests are right, the 6 Day can be a carnival not real racing.
What is the answer?
It should start at the top and begin at the bottom. For track racing
the pinnicale should be the Olympic Madison 6 Day. But it
must begin with every track creating their own Stars,
their own League, their own League Championships. Each
track should focus on a 150k circle around it. Support
only the riders who committ to the track. Give them
a system, a track map to the top - the Olympic
Gold in the Olympic Madison 6 Day.
The 6 Day format for the future.
NAS-TRACK’s (3days x 2)
Each 6 Day has two parts.
The first 3 day is qualifing for as many as 30 - 40 teams.
The final 3 day is for the top 10 - 15 teams.
Each night of the final 3 day is maximum of 2 hrs.
The goal is faster and more exciting competition not
longer - endurance for endurance sake races.
Track racing has the most exciting cycling venue.
The Madison is the most exciting cycling game.
It starts with the new Olympic Madison 6 Day.
It begins at each track creating their own stars.
Watch the NAS-TRACK’s ‘DETROIT 6 DAY”
August 18th thru 24th, 2003
On America’s fastest track - the “Velodrome at Bloomer Park”
Watch it LIVE in person, or on www.NAS-TRACK.com
I was asked an interesting question, which I couldn’t answer:
Should track racing have its own National & International