The Big Six-Day Track Racing Event

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The six or six-day is a track cycling events that started in Britain before spanning into the rest of the world. However, the event is now mainly seen in Europe. In the old format, the riders would compete individually and the rider who accomplished the maximum number of laps would be the winner.

A change in the format gave an allowance for two rider teams, this way one of the riders could take a rest while the other competed. A relaxation on the duration has also been introduced, now most of the six-day races involve racing six nights on indoor velodromes generally between the duration of six pm to two am. The team with the maximum number of completed laps is the ultimate winner. If there is a tie between the highest scoring teams, then points won in intermediated competitions are taken into consideration. A typical six-day event will have a series of intermediate events lined up for the riders.

The first six-day event took place in 1878 in Islington; London at a place called the Agricultural Hall and was the result of a bet by a rider David Stanton who vouched that he could ride a thousand miles in six consecutive days with 18 hours a day riding. A ?100 stake was put up by Davis, a newspaper called sporting life held the stake. On 6 am of the 25th of February, Stanton started and won the bet too. He took 73 hours, rode on a machine that was high wheeled and was riding at an average speed of 13.5mph. Team six day events were seen in the 19th century and were born out of the enthusiasm for novelty competitions like endurance. In the April of 1877 the Agricultural Hall organized a six day walking contest.

The event gained popularity in 1891 with the commencement of six day races in Madison Square Garden, New York City. Initially, these races only tested endurance; a single rider had to complete as many laps as possible. The races were not full day events; riders could get sleep at night and then join in at their chosen time in the mornings. Riders who had a doubt on their speed would start up early morning whereas well practiced expert riders could risk starting later.

Then, the events became full day businesses, the only limitation being the disability to resist sleep. Many methods or ‘seconds’ were used to keep the players awake rumour has it that these methods included doping. The issue of sleep resistance led to two alternatives that could be applied to the games, either the duration be cut to twelve hours, or the participation of two people teams be allowed in which only one rider would be required on the track at time, giving each a rest of twelve hours. The Madison allows both riders to be on the track at the same time by taking turns to race using hand slinging to get each other into action. It is a very advanced skill that is allowed to only expert professional riders in most of the countries.

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