Monday, July 15, 2024

Young Scots at the AVS Cup at the Gent Six Day 2016


HomeRaceSix DaysYoung Scots at the AVS Cup at the Gent Six Day 2016

Sunday starts with the climax of the under 23 Six the AVS Cup.

Not long ago I would have struggled to believe that home grown Scottish talent would be riding Gent but with Mark Stewart in the elite event and Andy Brown and Grant Martin in the U23 this is a Scottish success story.

Gent Six Day 2016
Grant Martin slings in Andy Brown. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Dave and I forgo a leisurely late breakfast to get to the Kuipke early to have a word with the guys and find out how their baptism at Gent has gone.

They are here as winners of the under twenty one 1878 Cup at the London Six.

This netted them a ride at Gent. Craig Grieve, the ever enthusiastic owner of Spokes bike shops and nurturing team owner loaded up the van, the boys and here they are.

A nice change from a Scottish winter.

Grant’s Dad is here also, flying over to help out with the driving on the long haul home. A first experience of the Kuipke has Stewart hooked and he’s planning the next trip already.

Gent Six Day 2016
The Brits warm up. Photo©Callum MacGregor

We catch up with Andy Brown as he warms up for the final Chase of 240 laps.

He tells us he has been doing two and a half hours on the road before each days racing!

Treating the race as a great learning experience and a way to avoid the Scottish winter. He is a man with a plan but he’s not telling me!

A new team for next year?

We will see.

He does tell me he is riding Amsterdam and Rotterdam, partnering Joe Nally and hopefully Grant again.

Qualification for the Commonwealth Games and UCI points are priorities for Andy, we wish him well and let him get ready for the Chase.

Gent Six Day 2016
It’s time for the Flying Madison TT. Photo©Callum MacGregor

The track is small, tight and fast and the guys have taken a little time to adjust, with Andy taking slightly longer.

Now they have figured it out they are up for the last race and looking to finish on a high.

The Chase begins and they start well, taking their first lap gain of the week early on. It’s not easy however and they soon find themselves surrendering it once the pressure increases.

Gent Six Day 2016
Jules Hesters and Gerben Thijssen. Photo©Callum MacGregor

A nasty crash sees leaders, Jules Hesters and Gerben Thijssen hit the deck hard, making a mess of a change.

Dusting themselves down they are back in the action and back at the front, tough guys!

The Scot’s duo go from struggling to trying for a lap gain! The enthusiasm is clear to see.

The legs however are reminding them six days is a long time and it’s maybe time for a rest, but not yet, racing to be done.

A lap lost with only four to go drops them three places on the overall, disappointing but not really significant.

Finally though, it’s over and the guys get ready for the dash for the ferry.

Gent Six Day 2016
The final rankings. Photo©Callum MacGregor

Grant tells me it’s been brutal learning! Invaluable but brutal.

There has been some fun too, Craig knows some of the riders and a warm welcome from Kenny De Ketele helped the guys relax.

Job done, bags packed they’re off, we wish them safe home.

Time for Grant to get some sleep before that exam tomorrow morning!

The Gent Six might not be the perfect preparation but there’s been learning that you won’t find in any book that will last a lifetime.