Track Visionaries Weighing Portable Velodrome and Vegas

After a successful dry run of the rebirth of American six-day style bicycle racing in California last month, the promoters want to take the show on the road.

Josh Rechnitz (left) and Jack Simes (right) two visionaries are hoping to go to Las Vegas next year with a portable velodrome. And they’re looking for sponsors.

“The event, Hollywood Championship Cycling, was our pilot,” said Jack Simes of the National Cycling Association, the umbrella organization producing the events. “There were some things that were very, very successful and some things that need work. We know what those are.”

Though Simes and his financial partner Josh Rechnitz said they would like return to the Carson-based StubHub Velo Sports Center, for now they’re readying for the next stage that could include a portable indoor velodrome, and a stop in Las Vegas next year.

Las Vegas is the duo’s first choice for their next race, where gamesmanship, showcasing, and cycling could all come together at the 2014 Interbike trade show.

“This type of exciting track racing belongs in Vegas,” said Rechnitz.

“It is glitzy sports entertainment featuring some of the world’s best, most professional and exciting track riders.” Not to mention, 23,000 Interbike participants who are interested in watching the racing.

Photo: Chris Seufert, The Americans, being pursued by German racer last month at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

At the HCC event last month, the organizers attracted accomplished six-day riders like Lief Lampater, Christian Grasmann, Franco “Marvelous” Marvulli, Walter Perez, and 22 Americans headed by USA track champions Bobby Lea and Jackie Simes.

Many of the same cyclists are expected to come back next year.  “They’re all excited about our future possibilities here in the USA, and we’ve already demonstrated we’ve got a great product and the right team to make it happen on the pro level,” said Simes.

Simes and his partner are visionaries who believe pro six-day style velodrome racing will help bridge the sport into mainstream America with an eventual city-based league of track cycling. “That’s the future,” said Simes, who is a four-time Olympian, pioneer USA pro cyclist and previously spent sixteen years on the UCI Pro Board.

Walter Perez (front) and Seba Donadio raced against one another in the final Miss N Out at the Hollywood Championship event last month. Perez won.

“For now I’m talking six-day as an ideal showcase for the sport,” said Simes of the format that he says is similar to the All-Star games which showcase the best basketball, football, and baseball pro players of their league. “It has the right ingredients–you buy a ticket, you go into the arena, it’s fast, it’s thrilling, a live sport,” he said.

“There’s entertainment, wining and dining on the infield, side attractions like music and gorgeous podium girls – who actually know cycling and ride themselves, said Simes. “It’s a very American thing; it was invented here for God’s sake.”

To take the show on the road, Rechnitz says they’ll develop a high quality portable velodrome that could be used in Las Vegas and other major markets that have hockey and basketball-style arenas.  A passionate masters competitive cyclist, Rechnitz famously promised New York City $50 M to erect a velodrome in the Big Apple, but the deal fell through when the building they had chosen wasn’t able to accommodate the architectural and engineering changes needed.

“At the moment we’re also looking for a place to build and house it, a home base,” said Rechnitz.  “That could be anywhere in the country where there’s a suitable building and strong potential to create comprehensive track activity featuring from youth cycling to pros.”

NCA was formed in 1898, incorporated in 1899 and was one of the five founding members of the International Cycling Union (UCI) the world governing body for cycling.

The NCA reined as the USA franchising organization of professional track cycling for seven decades until it disbanded during the lean years of American cycling at which time NCA Chaiman, Frank Sempser turned over the remaining NCA records to Jack Simes.

In 2011 NCA was reactivated and reincorporated for the purpose of revitalizing American track cycling. NCA produced Hollywood Championship Cycling (HCC) on October 11-13, 2013 at the AEG Facilities owned and operated by Velo Sports Center located at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.  The event marked the US return of one of cycling’s oldest and most exciting styles of racing.

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