Ghent Six

Dernys at Ghent by Graham Watson

The Ghent Six is an annual track cycling event held in the Belgian town of Ghent.

It’s called a Six because the races last for six days. Six-Day racing first gained popularity in the late 19th Century at New York’s Madison Square Garden – hence the Madison – and for many years the racing really was 24-hour a day stuff. Teams of two raced round the clock for six days and nights, with one member of the team racing on the track at any one time, the other resting.

The Kuipke velodrome has an aura no other velodrome in Europe possesses. For a start the short 166-metre track makes it a tight, intimate venue, and its tumbledown, slightly worn-around-the-edges feel only adds to the charm.

The first Ghent Six was held in 1922 and was won by Marcel Buysse and the man with the greatest name ever, Oscar Egg. Great rider, but he didn’t half cause a mess when he fell off.

The legends of Ghent are Patrick Sercu (who won it 11 times), Aussie Danny Clark (six wins) and the more recent hero Bruno Risi.

In 2015, Etixx-Quick Step’s Iljo Keisse joined forces with Michael Morkov to claim his sixth win at the Ghent Six.