1937 - Victory for Buysse-Van Kempen in the Coronation Six


Douglas and William “Torchy” PEDEN (Canada). Torchy set the record of 10 Six Day wins in one season in 1932.

From 17 to 22-May-1937

Comments about the 1937 race made in the 1951 race programme - “Albert Buysse's turn for victory came the following year, 1937, when partnered by the famous Dutchman, Piet Van Kempen. The latter was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all "six-day" riders. His record is too long to print, but of his 165 "sixes" he won 35 and finished in the first three in many of the others. Nowadays, he runs a restaurant in Brussels.”

GREAT SIX-DAY RIDER Van Kempen Scores Again
Piet Van Kempen, who, with Albert Buysse, won the Coronation Six-day Race, concluded In London on Saturday night, is perhaps the greatest six-day race rider the world has known. Born in Holland In 1898, Van Kempen has won 34 six-day races and innumerable eight-hour and 24-hour races. He has competed In 162 six-day races in all parts of the world. He combines all the qualities necessary for a successful athlete, is strong, fast, trains seriously, has a quick brain, and heaps of courage. He knows every move on the board; in fact, some of his opponents credit him with eyes at the back of his head. Van Kempen competed In the six-day race at Wembley last year, and will long be remembered for his terrific sprinting. Shortly after the Wembley event, he rode in the Rotterdam 'six,' but had a bad fall and dislocated his neck and shoulder. He was almost given up for dead, but by the remarkable work of the trainers and the doctors was back riding on the track, 12 hours later, to win the last sprint of the race by a considerable margin. Apart from six-day races Van Kempen, is one of the world's fastest sprinters, having been amateur champion of Holland at 16, and professional champion three times.
Albert Buysse, a 25-year-old Belgian, is considered the strongest individual rider in six day races. He has many victories to his credit, having won six-day races in Berlin, Brussels, Marseilles, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and elsewhere. He has won team races in all parts of Europe. He partnered Jean Aerts in the six-day race at Wembley last year and was always noticeable for his strong riding In the 'jams' and fast sprints. He and his partner took second place at the finish.” Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld) 24-May-1937



Emile Ignat’s 1937 commemorative medal

Win for Van Kempen and Buysse
LONDON, May 22 --- Piet Van Kempen, the Dutchman, and his Belgian partner, Albert Buysse, won the Coronation International six-day race which concluded at the Wembley Stadium tonight. They aggregated a total of 1,286 points, second place being filled by the French pair, Emile Ignat and Emile Diot, with 704 points, while the American team, J. Walthour and Al Crossley, were third with 302 points. Hubert Opperman, the Australian rider, was left without a partner when L. Rogers retired on Friday through an injured knee. He continued until midnight in the hope of securing another partner, but then withdrew when he realised that his chances were hopeless. At that stage, Van Kempen and Buysse were leading by a lap from Ignat and Diot, with Walthour and Crossley third, the order in which they eventually finished. [The superiority of the Continental riders was generally anticipated. Before his departure from Australia, Opperman expressed the opinion that Gustav Killian and Heinz Vopel, the Germans, would be one of the strongest teams, while he also had great respect for Van Kempen and Buysse, whom he did not know would be teamed, however. The German riders did not start. Van Kempen, who is 36 years of age, is considered by many to be the greatest all-round cyclist ever known, and holds the world's record of 33 victories in six-day races. He also won the amateur and professional championships of Holland in successive years. His partner, Buysse, who is 10 years younger, Is a son of the famous Marcel Buysse, and has many championships and wins in six-day races to his credit. Diot is 23 years of age and Ignat 24. The two French riders have won many six-day races as a pair. their successes having earned for them the title of the "Red Devils." They won two Chicago six-day races in 1936-37 and have also been successful in a number of events in Paris and other European capitals. Ignat is one of the most spectacular riders on the Continent.]” West Australian (Perth, WA) 24-May-1937

Holland Wins £8,000 Cycling Race
The Coronation six-days' cycling race for the richest prize in the world (£8,000) and the worlds championship title ended at 12 midnight on Saturday with a win for a Dutch and Belgian combination, Piet van Kempen and Albert Buysse with representatives of France and America second and third.
The race was held at the Wembley Stadium (London) on what is considered, the fastest board track in the world. It is ten laps to the mile. Gracie Fields started the race at midnight on May 16, when 9,000 spectators were present. Fifteen teams represented 11 nationalities, being introduced by a band which played the national anthems of the countries to which they belonged. The Australians, Opperman and Rogers, set the terrific speed of over 40 miles an hour from the start. They led for a short period, but dropped back later. In the first ten minutes six riders crashed, including Rogers, who was not hurt. He remounted and continued in the race. During the day several minor crashes occurred, one of which caused Buckley’s retirement for a period. Opperman had two falls. Later Rogers fell and badly injured a knee which compelled him to retire. Opperman continued by himself in the hope that he would get another team-mate continued by himself until the last day, when seeing no chance of getting a partner to take Rogers place, he voluntarily retired. Shortly after his retirement, however, Vroomen (representing England with Grant) was forced to retire, leaving Grant to continue by himself. Had this happened a few hours earlier Grant could have teamed with Opperman.” Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) 25-May-1937

Wembley1937-Ticket2wFrom the story of Charles Holland (2-Sep-1908 - Dec-1989) - “Holland turned professional in April 1937, 10 years after his first race. His first event was an 'Empire versus Foreigners' meeting at Herne Hill in south London. There should have been numerous races but Holland rode only two, a sprint which he lost and a team pursuit in which so many riders punctured that both teams had only one rider left in the race. Rain then ended the day.
Holland's objective was to ride the six-day race to be held on a velodrome constructed inside the Empire Pool, Wembley, in north London. He went to Belgium to train on the track at Liège. He was paired in the six-day with the Belgian, Roger Deneef, and what Holland described as a misunderstanding on how each should relay the other into the race led to Holland crashing several times in the first hours. On the second day, he crashed again, broke a collar bone and dropped out. A curiosity of the race was that the leading German rider, Toni Merkens, competed in a jersey bearing a large swastika, a hint at the future that went unnoticed at the time." [Even more of a warning was the jersey of Cohen and Rodman - which was described in the programme as “Stars and Stripes with Jewish emblem” - Ed]


Toni MERKENS riding a “curly stays” frame at Wembley in 1937













1. Albert BUYSSE


Piet van KEMPEN



2. Emile DIOT





3. Alfred CROSSLEY





4. Douglas PEDEN


William PEDEN

at 1 lap







6. Adolphe CHARLIER


Maurice DEPAUW

at 2 laps





at 3 laps


8. Gottfried HUERTGEN



at 4 laps


9. Ernst BUEHLER





10. Louis COHEN



at 7 laps














Retirements - Hubert OPPERMAN, Lennie ROGERS, Charles HOLLAND, Rudi ALT, Joe BUCKLEY, Eddie SMITH, Harry GRANT, Jan van KEMPEN, Frank SOUTHALL and Bill BURL


Prog1937_280Facts about these races are lacking - and even the limited info is sometimes contradictory. In this case two reports give the Peden brothers as finishing on the same lap as the winners but their points total means that they must have been 1 lap behind.

1937 Jerseys... | 1937 Teams...

Does anyone have any original records or press reports?

1923-1980 British Riders and Race Programmes