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.
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.
“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.
“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.