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1923 - The First of the Modern Era

From 16 to 21-July-1923

It was twenty years after the last Six that racing returned to London. The race was due to start 9-Jul-1923 but the track was unsuitable and the race was put back a week. Originally there were going to be 14 two-man teams but 12 teams made the start just after midnight Sunday so started 16-Jul-1923. [loss of two teams possibly due to the change of dates]

The riders that are thought to have started but then abandoned were Marcel BUYSSE, Theo WYNSDUA, Willy HANLEY, Harry HORAN, Alex McBEATH and Pierre RIELENS. But see the bottom of the page for more about this confusing story.

Update 29-Sep-2014 - Thanks to continued digitisation of newspapers some new searches have found more facts about this year’s six day race.

 

BL_0000321_19230630_026Particulars of Teams to Ride at Olympia

Particulars are now available of the arrangements for the great six days’ cycle race at Olympia, which will commence at 12.5 am on Monday, July 9th - five minutes after midnight...

France - Marcel Dupuy and Marcel Berthet
France - Marcel Godivier and Joseph Peyrode
France - Leon Georget and Paul Texier
France (Alsace) - Lucien Rietsch and Schoettel
Belgium - Pierre Vande Velde and Alois Persyn
Belgium - Alphonse Spiessens and Pierre Rielens
Belgium - Marcel Buysse and Theo Wynsdau
Italy - Francesco Verri and Franco Giorgeti
Italy - Armido Rizzetto and Alessio Stafani
USA - Murice [Maurice] Selbach (England) and W Hanley
England and Australia - W A Ormston and Alec MacBeath
Australia and Sweden - Jim Nagel and A Anderson
USA - Harry Horan and Willie Coburn
USA - David Lans [Lands] and Harry Kaiser
Holland - Gerard Bontekoe and Kees Erkelens

Note: This is not the actual start list - just the expected riders before the start date was put back by one week. Also the report states there will be 14 teams but then lists 15 sets of names!

BL_0000321_19230717_01517-Jul-1923

BL_0000577_19230718_05818-Jul-1923

BL_0000264_19230721_09321-Jul-1923

BL_0000577_19230723_12823-Jul-1923

The UK reports have been boosted by a range of Australian press cuttings ...

SIX-DAYS RACE
TWENTY-EIGHT COMPETITORS AT OLYMPIA
LONDON, July 8. A six-days' cycle race, starts at Olympia on Sunday at midnight. There will be 28 competitors, including MacBeath and Nagel. Speaking after a preliminary spin on Saturday night, MacBeath said the track was then unsuitable at the bends but he expected that the deficiencies I would be remedied during Sunday.” Mercury (Hobart, Tas) 9-Jul-1923

SIX DAYS' RACE. LONDON, July 8. The six days' cycling race at Olympia has been postponed for a week. Competitors and the public were present at the cycle race. but the judges decided that tho track was not safe. It had been constructed in sections which did not fit.” Examiner (Launceston, Tas) 10-Jul-1923

Cycling. London July 16. Twelve out of 24 riders in the six days' cycle race at the Olympia started at midnight. The track was in excellent condition. The Australians are MacBeath, whose partner is David Lands, of America, and Jim Nagel, whose partner is Anderson, of Sweden. The track, which is eight circuits to the mile, is banked steeply to allow of a speed of 100 miles an hour. Within the track are cots where the riders rest as they are relieved; and where they are ready to relieve each other at a moment's notice. In the first series of 10 sprints of two miles each, decided during the night, MacBeath secured a first and David Lands a first and three seconds, the couple thus scoring 24 points. Ten similar sprints will be decided three times daily. MacBeath had a nasty fall, but after 10 minutes' rest pluckily returned to the track. He was heartily cheered.” West Australian (Perth, WA) 17-Jul-1923

SIX DAYS' CYCLE RACE. AUSTRALIAN FALLS (United Service Message) London. July 18.
The Australian cyclist McBeath fell in the six days' race at Olympia and retired. His partner, the American Lands, then paired with the Alsatian, Schoettel.” Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW) 19-Jul-1923

CYCLING. THE SIX DAYS' RACE. LONDON, July 18. Nagel, the surviving Australian in the six days' race at Olympla, had so bad a spill in the evening as to necessitate six stitches in the head and ear. After being treated by a doctor he pluckily returned to the track and is still continuing in the race.”  Examiner (Launceston, Tas) 20-Jul-1923

LONDON SIX DAYS' RACE. LONDON, July 22. The winners of the six days' cycle teams' race at Olympia, which concluded last night, were Alois Persyn and Vandervelle, Belgians, who lapped the field during the concluding hours. Godwin and G. Peyrode (France) were second, and Marcel Dupuy (France) and G. Olivieri (Italy) third. The Queenslander, J. Nagel, had another fall in the eighth of the 19 sprints to-night, but his Swedish partner, Anderson, continued, and finished with five other teams. Nagel for his team took three firsts, three seconds, and one third to-night, exhibiting extraordinary pluck in the face of an exceedingly bad accident. Probably the race will be on annual event. Over 5000 paid for admission to-night. Alick MacBeath, the Australian champion, declares that Olympia as a venue for such races beats anywhere he has ridden.” Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) 23-Jul-1923.

 

DeVolksstem_19230723De Volksstem
23 Jul 1923

Due to the differences between the contemporary reports these results are liable to change ...

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Distance

Points

1. Alois PERSYN

-

Pierre VANDEVELDE

1,787 miles

667

2. Marcel GODIVIER

-

Joseph PEYRODE

 at 1 lap

987

3. Marcel DUPUY

-

Giuseppe OLIVERI

 

345

4. Joseph SCHOETTEL

-

Paul TEXIER

 at 2 laps

598

5. A ANDERSON

-

Jim NAGEL

 

291

6. Maurice SELBACH

-

Alessandro TONANI

 

76

7. Willy COBURN

-

Dave LANDS

 at 3 laps

???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rider Pen Portraits

Name

Notes

Results - Six Day Races

A ANDERSON

Some researchers name this rider as Henry BRASK ANDERSEN of Denmark but in the contemporary reports he is listed as simply A and Swedish.

 

Marcel BUYSSE

b: 11-Nov-1889 Wortegem, East Flanders, Belgium
d: 03-Oct-1939 Gent
Father of Albert, winner of
1937 and 1938 London Sixes, and brother of Lucien (1892-1980) winner of the 1926 Tour de France.

1st 6 stages Tour de France 1913
1st Ronde van Vlaanderen 1914
1st Brussel 1920
1st Gent 1922
1st New York 1924

Willy COBURN

b: USA

1st New York 1920
1st Montreal 1929
2nd New York 1921-1
2nd New York 1921-2
2nd New York 1922-2
4th New York 1919
5th New York 1918
5th New York 1925-2

Marcel DUPUY

b: 15-Dec-1888 Brive-la-Gaillarde, France
d: 19-May-1960 Achere-la-Foret, France

1st New York 1916
3rd Paris 1921
5th Boston 1915
9th Paris 1924

Marcel GODIVIER

Godivier1912b: 17-Jan-1887 Versailles, France
d: 09-Feb-1963 Dreux, France

1st 2 stages Tour de France 1911
3rd Giro di Lombardia 1913

Willy HANLEY

b: USA

3rd New York 1917
3rd New York 1920-1
4th New York 1918
5th New York 1923-2
6th New York 1919
6th New York 1923-1

Harry HORAN

b: 1898 New Jersey, USA?
d: 1980

Crashed during 1933 Cleveland Six Day and was unable to race again.

1st Chicago 1924
1st Berlin 1926
1st Paris 1930
2nd Chicago 1921
2nd Chicago 1925
2nd New York 1925-1
2nd Philadelphia 1932
3rd Chicago 1923
3rd New York 1923-2
3rd New York 1924-1
3rd Chicago 1925
3rd Chicago 1927
3rd New York 1930-1
3rd Chicago 1932
3rd Toronto 1932
3rd Minneapolis 1933
4th New York 1923-1
4th New York 1925-2
4th New York 1928-1
5th New York 1929-2
6th New York 1922-2
6th New York 1927-1

Dave LANDS

b: 1898 or 1904? Irvington, NJ, USA?
d: 1966

“Dave who flashed to victory in last year’s Boston Classic [Six] hails from Irvington, NJ. He has been on the winning team in four continuous six day races. Lands has competed in six day races in Chicago; New York; London, England; Dortmund, Germany; Brussels and Paris and is an internationally known star. Lands is considered as one of the strongest bicycle riders in the world today. Lands is twenty-nine years old and has been racing for fourteen years. Dave won in Chicago twice once with Coburn and again with Otto Petri. He is one of the most consistent riders in the game. Last year teamed with Bill Grimm he won in New York. Dave finished fourth with Bobby Thomas in New York in 1932 and third with Winter in Cleveland, January 1933” Boston Six Day programme 1933

1st Chicago 1922
1st Chicago 1926
1st New York 1929-1
1st Boston 1932
1st New York 1932
1st Boston 1933
1st Buffalo 1935
2nd New York 1923
2nd Minneapolis 1932
3rd Boston 1926
3rd Chicago 1928
3rd Montreal 1932
3rd Boston 1933
3rd Cleveland 1933
3rd Chicago 1934
4th New York 1933-2
5th New York 1926-2
5th New York 1930-1
6th New York 1927-2
6th New York 1934-1

Albert (Alex / Alick) McBEATH

b: 1894 Australia

1st Boston 1926

James George
Charles HANNAM
(aka Jim NAGEL)

b: 26-Oct-1895 Balmain, New South Wales
d: 9-Apr-1979 Melbourne, Victoria
Listed in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

 

Giuseppe OLIVERI

b: 28-Feb-1889 Campo Ligure, Italy
d: 22-May-1973 Varazze, Italy

1st 1 stage Giro d’Italia 1920
2nd Berlin 1924
2nd Breslau 1924

William Anthony ORMSTON

Listed as English but not found in birth records for England and Wales. Possibly born 1895. In 1914 he won three national track championships riding for the Polytechnic CC. In 1916 a Private W A Ormston .. who won the amateur championship honours before the war.. joined the 6th Royal Surrey Regiment. He rode for GB in 1920 Olympics - in tandem with Henry Lee. He was 3rd in 1922 world amateur sprint championship. In 1923 he turned professional - along with Maurice Selbach. Possibly died in 1950 at Lambeth, London.

Press clipping -4-Jul-1914
BL_0000321_19140704_066

 

Alois PERSYN

b: 08-Mar-1888 Nazareth, East Flanders, Belgium
d: 26-May-1972

1st Gent 1924
1st Berlin 1925

Joseph PEYRODE

b: 25-Apr-1895 St Denis les Martel dans le Lot, France
d: 01-Jul-1962 Montreuil Seine St Denis, France
Confusion over name and race results - some sources say Georges but most say Joseph

1st St Etienne 1929 ??
4th St Etienne 1928
8th Brussels 1921

Pierre RIELENS

b: 11-Feb-1892 Jette, Belgium
d: 23-Feb-1984 Jette, Belgium

1st Brussels 1924
1st Brussels 1927

Joseph SCHOETTEL

b: 25-Feb-1894 Strasbourg, France
d: 20-Jul-1946 Strasbourg, France

 

Maurice SELBACH

Listed as English but Maurice Gaetan Selbach was born in Paris in 1890 to American parents. He was living in London by 1901. Maurice was also a bike frame maker more. He became a British citizen in 1927. He was married twice and died in a road accident in London on 26-Sep-1935.

Press clipping 30-Jun-1923
BL_0000325_19230630_021

Long distance time trialist
and road record holder

Paul TEXIER

b: Paris

French Amateur Sprint 1910
5th Paris 1928
6th St Etienne 1928
8th Paris 1925
9th Paris 1924
11th Paris 1926

Alessandro TONANI

b: 8-May-1898 Lodi Veccio, Italy
d: 2-Jun-1938 Ponte di Vedano, Varese, Italy

There are other sources that give this rider as Adrien Toussaint (France) but the latest newspaper searches make this claim unlikely. Tonani is also supported by the later results sheet in Sporting Cyclist magazine (Page 35 - October 1967)

Winner of the Paris, Berlin and Dortmund Sixes

Pierre VANDEVELDE

b: 15-May-1889 Lovendegem, Belgium
d: 16-Dec-1977 Knokke, Belgium

 

Theodore  WYNSDUA / WYNSDAU

b: 08-Jan-1895 Sint Gillis, Brabant, Belgium
d: 01-Sept-1951

1st Paris-Longway 1924
3rd Gent 1922
3rd Brussel 1922

 

Facts about these early races are hard to come by - and even the limited info is sometimes contradictory. And this case the situation is much worse than normal. The organisation of the event seems to have has little regard for accuracy. However the results above agree with those in the 1967 article about London Sixes 1923-52 in Sporting Cyclist. But press reports found by other researchers add confusion. The “memoire-du-cyclisme” forum contains discussions about who the entrants and actual competitors were.

This is just one proposal and as you can see it has different points totals as well as names -

Olympia (Lap 220 yards), 2,875 km
Result
1. VAN DE VELDE Pierre (B); PERSIJN Aloïs (B) 661 P
2. GODIVIER Marcel (F); PEYRODE Georges (F) 1 R, 973 P
3. DUPUY Marcel (F); OLIVERI Giuseppe (I) 329 P
4. TEXIER Paul (F); SCHOETTEL Joseph (F) 298 P
5. BRASK ANDERSEN Henry (DK); HANNAM James "Jim Nagel" (AUS) 292 P
6. SELLBACH Maurice (GB); TOUSSAINT Adrien (F) 92 P
Started 12 teams, classified 6

Startlist
X LANG Gus (AUS) - then LANDS Dave (USA)
MAC BEATH Alic (AUS)
X ORMSTON William Anthony (GB)
SELLBACH Maurice (GB)
X HANNAM James "Jim Nagel" (AUS)
BRASK ANDERSEN Henry (DK)
X HORAN Harry (USA)
COBURN Willy (USA)
X GODIVIER Marcel (F)
PEYRODE Georges (F)
X GEORGET Léon (F)
TEXIER Paul (F)
X DUPUY Marcel (F)
OLIVERI Giuseppe (I)
X RIETSCH (F)
SCHOETTEL Joseph (F)
X BUYSSE Marcel (B)
WYNSDAU (B)
X VAN DE VELDE Pierre (B)
PERSIJN Aloïs (B)
X SPIESSENS Alfons (B)
RIELENS Pierre (B)
X ERKELENS Cees (NL)
BONTEKOE Gerrit (NL)
? TOUSSAINT Adrien (F)
?
Events during the race
ab Spiessens (Rielens ct R)
ab Ormston (Sellbach ct Toussaint)
ab Mac Beath (Lands ct Schoettel)
ab Rietsch (Schoettel ct Lands)
ab Horan (Coburn ct Lands)
ab Schoettel (Lands ct Coburn)
ab Georget (Texier ct Schoettel reinstated)
ab Wynsdau (Buysse ct R)
ab Buysse [/] R
ab Coburn / Lands
? Erkelens / Bontekoe ?

Does anyone have any original records or press reports that might help?

1923-1980 British Riders and Race Programmes

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