Tuesday, January 18, 2022
HomeRaceSix DaysJack Simes - American Track and Six Day Legend

Jack Simes – American Track and Six Day Legend

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Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce are regulars on the Six Day scene, and this season we’ve been helping to look after two other young American riders at the races; Jackie Simes and Brad Huff. US riders win classics and Grand Tours and there are US Pro Tour teams. It was different in 1970 though, with not one single US rider holding a professional licence — enter Jackie’s dad, Mr. Jack Simes.

We spoke to Jack, the man who was the first US rider to turn a pedal on the Six Day tracks for nearly 20 years and who hopes to bring the sport back to its spiritual home in the USA.

Jack Simes
Ralph Schuermann (L) with Jack Simes (R) with Ralph Schuermann at the Berlin Six last year.

Tell us about US cycling in the 60’s please, Jack.

“Between the two World Wars, Six Day racing thrived in the US – and then along came the depression.

“There wasn’t a lot of money around and certainly not enough to bring the continental stars across the Atlantic.

Jack Simes
Al Jolson starts the 1929 race.
Jack Simes
New York, March 1934, and about 18,000 spectators came to watch the racing. There used to be two Sixes in the city each year, in March and December. It was a big deal.
Jack Simes
Birthplace of the Madison.

“When World War 2 started most of the guys who rode ended up in the military and most of the outdoor velodromes in the US fell into disrepair.

“After the war it was the club scene that kept the sport alive — but it was virtually an underground sport.

Jack Simes
Jack started on a little bike with 22” wheels, his family has a history in the sport with his father (pictured here, holding Jack up) and grandfather before him both racing cyclists.
Jack Simes
The NY Area had three outdoor velodromes: Newark, NY, and Coney Island supporting the winter Six Days. Here Killian (right) and Vopel eat hotdogs at the Coney Island Velodrome.
Jack Simes
A 19 yrs old Jack in the 1962 GP Ellegard Copenhagen final. Danish Champ Preben Duckert 2nd, Flemming Jensen 3rd.

“But there was no internet, no US cycling magazines, my dad used to get the UK publication, ‘Cycling and Mopeds’ every week and I’d gaze at pictures of Reg Harris, Arie Van Vliet, Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil.