Thursday, May 19, 2016

SIX DAY BIKE RACING in AUSTRALIA

Six Day Bike Racing in Australia is the working title of research I'm doing, hopefully that will eventually become a book documenting our history of this gruelling discipline of track cycling.
Australia's first documented Six Day Bike Race was dated as in 1881 and between then and the end of the 1800s, to my knowledge there were six marathon events. Jack Rolfe (Sydney x 2, Melbourne and Adelaide) celebrated four wins, the other two were won by W.J Press (Melbourne) and Sam Clark (Melbourne).

From the Australian Sketcher depicting Australia's first Six Day Cycling Marathon

Australia's first Six Day Marathon Bike Race
You might notice that contrary to Six Day events after the 1800s these marathons were ridden by individuals, not two man teams and the first few were ridden on High Wheelers - Penny Farthings.
The beginning of these cruel one man rider Six Day cycling marathon's seems to have originated in 1875 when George Waller won the London event. The USA were not far behind having their first marathon events in 1879. Chicago and Boston were there chosen venues with Charles Terront winning two of these American events and going on to add a further four wins to his Palmares.
The name Charles Terront appears in our early Australian Six Day Marathons - not as a rider, but a promoter.

Charles Terront - French Six Day Marathon Champion

George Waller - English and Champion of the World.
Another contact with Australian cycling history, Plugger Bill Martin who won an Austral Wheel Race in 1901 also raced in these one man marathons. He added five wins throughout the USA before making his way to Australia to win his controversial Austral. Martin settled in Australia and finished his life in Perth, Western Australia.
"Plugger"Bill Martin - winner of 5 Six Day Marathons in the USA and the Austral Wheel Race at the MCG in 1901.
This manuscript will be broken into several parts beginning with the late 1800s through to the Bill Long era of the Milk Six's in the 60/70s era.

In the interim, I will be posting on this blog, my progress on a weekly basis. 
 I invite you to enjoy the "Ride" and please, offer input.

4 comments:

victor smith said...

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Leon Sims said...

hah

Grant Lobb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grant Lobb said...

Hi Leon, I have an article from the Australasian Post on the Melbourne 6 from around 1981 somewhere. I can dig it out and scan it if you like. I think you are in some of the photos.

Cheers