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Faces of the Gent Six Day 2012

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Dave and I saw our first Six Day in 1973, the Skol sponsored London Six Day – Sercu, Pijnen, Duyndam, Van Lancker… This is Callum’s first trip to the Kuipke for the Gent Six Day 2012 but Stuart’s umpteenth.

The Adoma has been our base for years – it’s a great jump off for Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and the Koksijde ‘cross.

Gent Six Day 2012
Callum, Dave and Stuart.
Gent Six Day 2012
Bart Wellens.

Bart Wellens was twice World Champion in his heyday.

Despite the fact that he took a good podium the other week, his career is now in it’s twilight – but the man still knows how to hurt himself.

Gent Six Day 2012
Dirk Van Hove, Linsey and Bob Williams.

Dirk Van Hove is a Flandrian, but more Aussie than most Aussies.

He used to manage the Drapac team on their annual European race programme – before they decided to concentrate on the Asian Tour.

He’s a photographer and journo, too.

Bob Williams is the velodrome director at Blaine Minnesota in the USA – his dream is to see the Six Days return to the Land of the Free.

We hope his dream comes true.

The lovely Linsey races back in the US and was hankering after a ride on the Kuipke’s boards.

Gent Six Day 2012
The boys that man the gate.

Dave and I went outside the velodrome to the ticket kiosk to sort out a final ticket for Callum for Sunday.

On our return, the guys on the gate explained that you couldn’t leave the stadium and come back in.

Then one of them pointed at me and said; ‘unless you put our picture on your website!

And a deal, is a deal.

Gent Six Day 2012
Freddy.

Freddy guards the gate to the riders’ enclosure, knows half of Gent and when he’s not at the Six is chauffeur for the Mayor.

Gent Six Day 2012
Sylvan Dillier and Tristan Marguet.

Part of the new wave of Swiss riders, Sylvan Dillier made the podium here at Gent, paired with ‘The Terminator’ – Robert Bartko.

Tristan Marguet broke the lap record twice and shared in a new 500 record with Franco Marvulli.

Watch these two gentlemen.

Gent Six Day 2012
Brent.

Brent is one of the mechanics and always has time for a chat.

A Six Day bike has to be perfect – speeds are high and so are the bankings.

Gent Six Day 2012
Franco looked like he was back to his old self at Gent in November.

Franco ‘Marvellous’ Marvulli is still the biggest winner on the Six Day circuit; launching Tristan to two lap records and sharing in the 500 record proves he’s still pretty damn quick.

Gent Six Day 2012
Edwin the Catering Chief.

Edwin runs the catering at the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Sixes; ‘every year, more people, but no more money – you do the Six Days for love, not money.

I can relate to that!

Gent Six Day 2012
Martyn Frank (hiding at the back).

Our back up masseur; a man who’s rubbed legs from Copenhagen to the Qinghai Lakes – Martyn.

He’s the one with the thumb – and definitely knows how to enjoy himself.

Gent Six Day 2012
Iljo Kiesse.

King of cool, and Het Kuipke – Iljo Kiesse’s  Tour of Turkey stage win was the best finish of the yearr.

Gent Six Day 2012
Christopher and Patrick Sercu.

Albert Sercu, Patrick’s father, won Het Volk and the Flemish Arrow always wanted to emulate his dad.

He never managed to win a classic, but he did win stages in just about every race under the sun.

And an Olympic kilometre title, and world sprint titles – and 88 Six Days.

His son Christopher Sercu never raced – but he’s doing OK at this race organisation lark.

Gent Six Day 2012
John Anderson and Lindsay Gordon.

Thebicycleworks’ John Anderson loves all things Flemish and hopes to set up protege, Lindsay Gordon for a summer of racing in West Flanders.

Best make the most of that pils now, before it all gets serious, Lindsay.

Gent Six Day 2012
Jered Gruber and his wife Ashley.

Jered Gruber and wife Ashley have found a niche in cycling photography.

Focus, Garmin and The Giro are just some of their clients.

Jered has promised us some Gent pix – watch out for them.

Gent Six Day 2012
Alison and Patrick.

Anyone who walks up to me and says; ‘I really like VeloVeritas,’ is well worth a picture!

Gent Six Day 2012
Jacob Mørkøv.
Gent Six Day 2012
Jacob suffered a bad crash.

There’s three of them Mørkøvs, now!

Michael wore the polka dot jersey in the Tour for a week and is king of the breakaways.

Jesper was runner up in the European Derny champs – and now Jakob has shed kilos and rode the UiV.

They won Friday night’s chase but a bad crash scuppered their overall ambitions.

Gent Six Day 2012
Dirk Dekeyser.

King of the Kuipke spanner men, the best madison riders in the world entrust their hardware to Dirk Dekeyser.

Gent Six Day 2012
Steve Penny, John Young and Dirk Van Hove.

Three gentlemen who all contribute to the site; Steve Penny, John Young and Dirk Van Hove.

Thank you chaps – our coverage wouldn’t be the same without you!

Gent Six Day 2012
Nolan Hoffman.

Nolan Hoffman featured on the site a week or two ago; partnered with Christian Grasmann he picked up much from the German; ‘it’s a track which is really difficult to ride; you have to learn how to get the best from it – you just can’t go out and ride it.’

Gent Six Day 2012
John Young.

Our Mr. Young is right there, in the thick of it.

Gent Six Day 2012
Kenny De Ketele.

Kenny De Ketele was dignified in defeat – some you win . . . we interviewed him recently.

Gent Six Day 2012
Glen O’Shea.

Glen O’Shea is quietly spoken and well grounded but one hell of a track man.

Gent Six Day 2012
Gils Van Hoecke.

Even when you’ve just bit the pine at 50 kph, in Belgium, the Press need answers – Gils Van Hoecke manages a baleful smile.

Gent Six Day 2012
Ronnie Keisse.

The proudest man in Gent?

Iljo’s dad, Ronnie Keisse.

“I’m very, very proud – but De Ketele and Van Hoecke were strong. Kenny we know, but we weren’t sure how Van Hoecke would stand up to a Six Day.

“In the end, I don’t think their crash made any difference – Iljo and Glenn would have won, anyway.

“I have to tell you though, the first two nights, I didn’t think they’d win – the World Championship jerseys give riders strength and heart.

“And they’re local guys who want the win.

“But on Thursday I knew Iljo would win, he got so angry – he was clenching and fist and saying; ‘we have to win ! I’ve never seen him so mad!”

Can he win 11 times in Gent, like Patrick Sercu?

“No, no! Patrick Sercu is a monument, the biggest of them all.

“Iljo listened to him, watched him and learned from him – but Patrick’s record will always stand.”

Gent Six Day 2012
Glen O’Shea, and beer. Photo©Ed Hood

And to the winner – the spoils!

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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