Six-day style race on tap at StubHub Center

Local promoter hopes to revive track cycling in America.

Jack Simes is known as an avid cycling fan and promoter. The Breinigsville resident is the original co-director of what is now the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, and one of the co-founders of the pro championship cycling road race every June in Philadelphia .

Simes is also a multi-time U.S. Olympian , U.S. Olympic coach and a member of the Bicycling Hall of Fame.

He is hoping to put his promoter's hat on one more time in hopes of kick-starting Six-Day style racing in the United States. He and business partner Josh Rechnitz of New York are in the final stages of signing contracts for the inaugural Hollywood Championship Cycling event set for Oct. 11-13 at the StubHub Center (formerly the Home Depot Center) in Carson, Calif.

Simes had hoped to restart Six-Day races several years ago during the annual Interbike Show in Las Vegas, but the time frame was around 2007-08, the start of the Great Recession.

"I'm excited about this opportunity, really excited," Simes said. "It's the return to this type of pro cycling to the U.S. for the first time in around 40 years."

The European Six-Day circuit is built around the Madison, a tag-team cycling race that originated indoors at Madison Square Garden back in the 1890s. The teams also compete in elimination races, scratch races, a flying lap and team time trials. Simes said the idea is to have a corporate sponsor for each race during the Hollywood Championship Cycling.

"Every night we'll have about a half dozen different races going on," he said. "It will be fast paced and we'll probably have a preliminary race card like an Open Madison that will include Masters racers and anyone else, and maybe even a women's omnium. The core event, of course, is the Madison, with the same guys doing the events each night."

Simes is very proud that the event will have a strong Lehigh Valley flavor. Bobby Lea of Topton, the two-time U.S. Olympian and multi-time national champion, will be racing with Simes' son, Jackie. Shane Kline of Bally, and Barry Miller, a T-town regular at the VPCC, have also said they will race.

Brian Drebber, who was one of the original announcers at the velodrome in Trexlertown, will be the voice of the Hollywood Championship Classic for the crowd and on air via webcast. Drebber has announced Olympic Games, Goodwill Games and 28 sports, including boat and auto racing.

The webcast is being produced by Kent Gordis, an eight-time Emmy winner who has produced six Tour de Frances, eight Olympic Games, the Biathlon World Cup and the "Dick Clark Rockin' New Year's Eve" with Ryan Seacrest.

Adam Duvendeck, a former U.S. cycling sprinter and two-time Olympian who raced at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, is the director of the Velo Sports Center at the StubHub Center where the HCC will take place.

What makes Simes most enthused about the event is the potential audience because of the webcast. Track cycling races, other than time trials, are practically made-for-TV events, yet there has been very little effort to televise them on a national basis.

"This will be an historical moment in American cycling," Simes said. "I think that over the next couple of years, this type of racing will change the landscape of American cycling viewership. It will broaden the viewership. The indoor track with the steep banking makes everything fast paced."

Simes said Hollywood Championship Cycling is basically a pilot program for other races. He and Rechnitz plan to build a portable indoor velodrome and take it to different indoor venues across the country — perhaps even here at the new downtown arena in Allentown — to stage similar events.

"We want to expand it to the full Six-Day racing," Simes said. "We can go to Las Vegas and do one during Interbike."

Donut Derby on Labor Day: It will truly be a sweet labor of love at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 3, Labor Day. The 2013 Donut Derby will begin and end at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center.

The Donut Derby follows the same 36-mile route professional and area cyclists ride along the back roads of Lehigh and Berks counties that they've affectionately named "the Derby."

The big difference with the Donut Derby is that there are doughnut stops at miles 12 and 24, and time is taken off your finish time based on how many doughnuts you have eaten. A lunch and awards ceremony will follow the ride. Register by going on http://www.active.com and entering Donut Derby in the search box. There are no day-of-event registrations.

Ski for the Cure: Winter is a long way off (and we really don't want to be thinking about the cold weather after these last few absolutely gorgeous days), but Bernie Oldroyd, founder and organizer of the Ski for the Cure at Jack Frost Mountain, passed along information about a fundraiser dinner that will be held at 8 p.m. Aug. 8.

The Comedy Dinner Show at Boulder View Tavern in Lake Harmony, featuring Corey Alexander, Geno Bisconte and Father Paul, will donate portions of the proceeds to the JFBB Ski for the Cure, which has raised more than $128,000 for Komen for the Cure the past six years. For reservations and details, contact Boulder View Tavern at 570-722-9696, or go online to http://www.boulderviewtavern.com.

The seventh annual Ski for the Cure will be held Feb. 22 at Jack Frost.

gary.blockus@mcall.com

610-820-6782

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