The Legend that is Danny Clark(Comments Off on The Legend that is Danny Clark)
With all this Six Day chat we thought it might be nice to re-run this interview we did with Danny Clark some six years ago – jingz! where does time go? We hope you enjoy it…
My buddy, John Hardie is a 65 time Scottish grass track champion; his hero ‘back in the day’ was Danny Clark. When he heard that ‘Six Day King’ Danny Clark and me were breakfasting together at Copenhagen, it wasn’t long before the email arrived with the questions he wanted me to ask the great man.Full Story»
He’s been making the headlines again, that Mark Stewart laddie.
We last spoke to him after his wins in the British scratch and team pursuit championships – not forgetting his silver in the points race.
This time it was success in the second round of the UCI World Cup in New Zealand where he won the scratch race.
It’s not every day that you receive pictures from one of the world’s best cycling photographers – they’re way too good to keep to ourselves so with Mr. John Pierce’s permission allow us to share his memories of some of his favourite Six Day riders of the 70’s and 80’s.
John attended the last London Six in 1980 and these first images are from that race.
Two decades, twenty years, it’s a long time – especially to ride a bike at world level. But it was 1994 when Australia’s Luke Roberts won his first world title in the junior team pursuit. The following year he twinned another victory in the team event with the world junior individual championship for good measure.
Two Commonwealth, three world and an Olympic team pursuit title followed. He’s ridden Pro Tour with CSC, Milram, Saxo, the Grand Tours, Classics and just about everything there is to ride – including the Six Days. We caught up with him in Amsterdam as he rides his last Sixes and prepares for a new chapter in his life – Director Sportiv with new Danish/Luxembourg Pro Continental squad, Cult Energy Pro Cycling.
The Six Days of Amsterdam kicks off next week, the first race of the 2014/15 winter season. The programme until Christmas makes sad reading with few ‘names’ in Amsterdam; tales of crooked promoters souring things there and in Rotterdam; possibly the last race in Grenoble – and it’s down to just three day; Zürich only four days and only Gent going from strength to strength.
After the turn of the year things improve with Rotterdam, Bremen, Berlin and Copenhagen all in good to robust health – but it’s a far cry from the 21 Six Days that winters in the 70’s enjoyed. A stat which speaks louder than any words is that of the top 50 Six Day men of all time only one – Iljo Keisse – is currently active.
This interview takes us back to the Golden Years of the 70’s and Merckx, Sercu, Clark, Allan, Renz, Bugdahl – and Graeme Gilmore.
We began Norman’s story in Part One last week, where he spoke about his time racing in the Six Days. In Part Two today Norman describes his time as Manager at the Vancouver Velodrome, what’s been keeping him busy since then, and some interesting ideas for spicing up the World Tour and winter Sixes.
With just about everything on ‘hold’ awaiting le Tour kicking off in Yorkshire, we thought we’d slip back through the decades to a different era.
One where the ‘big motors’ were still the thing; Six Days packed them in and pave didn’t just come in two kilometer packages.
You may not have heard of Englishman, Norman Hill – but he has the T-shirt, video and DVD as a ‘stayer,’ Six Day man and kermis rider on the hard roads of Flanders and The Netherlands.
Here’s his story.
Back in 1972 when Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there.
The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier – and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old – he has a good tale to tell.
Bremen used to be the ‘Party Six’ and whilst it’s still a fun gig with beer halls, restaurants, discos and live music, the crowds ain’t quite like they used to be.
Our man in the middle of those steep 167 metres of boards was the perennial Kris; here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas on his return from the Fatherland…
This Six Day season marks the end of an era. Depending upon which source you consult, Franco Marvulli of Switzerland has ridden somewhere between 112 and 117 Six Days, this makes him the most prolific rider on the circuit by a considerable margin – Robert Bartko for example has ridden 75, Iljo Keisse has 72 starts.
Marvulli has won 32; not to mention four world titles – two in the scratch and two in the madison and Olympic silver in the same discipline. So how come his ‘goodbye’ isn’t a bigger deal?
For the first time in many a year VeloVeritas didn’t make it down to Grenoble for the Four Days on the battle scarred boards of the winter track where Post, Merckx, Sercu, Clark, Moser and Thevent have all lifted the laurels.
How I miss Bar Clemenceau, Pizza Natalie and the wee bakers where the baker always give me extra croissants ‘for luck.’
‘New Wave’ French strong men and World Madison Champions Morgan Kneisky and Vivien Brisse took the honours from tough Spaniards Muntaner & Torres with Iljo Keisse limbering up for Gent in third spot with countryman De Buyst.
It’s Lombardia and the Trossachs today; that means just one thing – it’s almost time for the Six Days. It looks like VeloVeritas won’t be emptying any ‘you know what’ pails this year – but you never know . . . We will be at Gent, however – my liver gave a twinge just there – as fans.
De Karper, The Hotel Adoma, Bar Vivaldi, the ‘cross up at Koksijde – I can’t help but smile at the thought. But we thought that you might like to hear what it was like to be a six day runner back in a time when the sixes meant more than they do now. The big road stars were in action and it was full houses all across Europe – particularly in Germany.
John Purser is the man’s name and here’s his tale.
When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them . . .
A man who we’ve had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America’s Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.
As the Pros battle it out across Flanders, the young men who aspire to do the same in the future are locking horns in another famous name from the history of warfare – Normandy. Le Tour de Normandie is one of the premier events on the calendar for men on the way up – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thor Hushovd and Samuel Dumoulin are among the riders who have won the race.
This year’s winner was a man who’s already proved his worth on the track; 22 year-old Swiss rider Silvan Dillier of the BMC Development Team took the GC by a scant three seconds from 2011 winner, Alex Blain (France & Raleigh). VeloVeritas spoke to Dillier the day after his Normandie triumph.
So there I was in Berlin and it’s the ladies’ Six Day – well, three days, actually – and I hear one of the lasses waiting to go to the line speaking in a good Lancashire accent.
Check the numbers, #7: Hannah Walker, GB.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of our hard-core readers Viktor, Ivan and Dave , I thought we’d best have a chat with her.