1939 - Rider Pen Portraits


Above a page of rider signatures from 1939 and below rider profiles from the programme [thanks to eBay and]

1. Arie van VLIET

A Dutchman. Deprived Scherens of his world’s title last year. As an amateur he had a very brilliant career, winning the Olympic 1,000 metres time trial. Turning professional in 1937, he ran Scherens very close for the world’s professional sprint crown, and followed it up this year by dethroning the Belgian last year. A strong, hard-riding sprinter he is now competing in his second Six-Days, and will give a good account of himself in the “jams” and the sprints. He rode well in the Antwerp event and took most of the primes. Will wear red jersey encircled by World Champion Official Badge - an honour he alone is entitled to as World’ Professional Sprint Champion.


2. Cor WALS

Cor Wals was born at The Hague, February 26th, 1911. This fair-haired Dutchman is one of Europe’s outstanding Six-Day riders and usually partnered by Pijnenburg he has won innumerable Six-Day races. He has also won Six-Day races as a partner of Guimbretiere, Billiet, Van Kempen, Pellenaers and many others. To watch Wals ride will tell you more about bike riding than any written can do. Wals graduated through the road school as an amateur and is at home in a sprint in the best company. He is one of the great specialists on small, steeply banked tracks. Last year at Wembley he was riding with Van Kempen and these two were placed third in the final classification.


3. Arthur SERES

The Seres Brothers are the babies of the race, Arthur being 24 years of age and Georges 21. Sons of a very famous father, Georges Seres, motor-paced Champion of the world in 1920, they made their debut in the cycling world at an early age. Arthur has already distinguished himself as a pace follower and madison rider. In 1937 he was third in the Paris Six-Days race and sixth in the following year. Georges hade his debut on the road, where he performed with success. As a pursuit rider he has shown considerable promise.


4. Georges SERES

see above


5. Albert BUYSSE

Twenty-six years of age, Buysse of Belgium is considered the strongest individual rider in Six-Day races, and team races generally. Has many victories to his credir, having won Six-Day races in Berlin, Brussels, Marseilles, Rotterdam, Antwerp and elsewhere. Buysse partnered Jean Aerts in the first Six-Day race at Wembley, and was always noticeable for his strong riding in the jams and fast sprints. He and his partner took second place at the finish. Two years ago he won with Piet Van Kempen, and is expected to put up a records before his career end which might equal that of Van Kempen. Won the the 1938 Wembley “Six” with Billiet. The constant pairing of these two Alberts has developed a keen sense of understanding and the two are considered to possess the finest track technique of any team.


6. Albert BILLIET

Perhaps not so spectacular as Buysse but the real backbone of the team. First appearance at Wembley was last year. Albert Buysse, the ever-fast and spectacular, has an ideal partner in his smaller team-mate Albert Billiet. Billiet is an unobtrusive rider, but he is always ready and able to bring back a team which breaks away from the field. Billiet, at 29 years of age, has partnered many of the other competitors in the race and in March of last year he won the Paris Six-Day with Karel Kaers, after winning the 1936 event there with Cor Wals. Won the 1938 Wembley “Six” with Albert Buysse, the partner of most of his races since his Wembley vicory.


7. Bjorn STIELER

He was born in Copenhagen July 24th, 1912. In 1937 he won the Berlin Night race - a team race of 24 hours - with Billiet as a partner. Winner of innumerable team races, Stieler was tandem champion of Denmark, with Dissing, for four consecutive years. He was seen in action at Wembley last year with Christensen, when the two Danes eventually finished four laps behind the two “A.B.s”. Stieler has been riding very well recently. He and Christensen took second position in the Copenhagen “Six” early this year.



Has had a very successful career on the road, and as a madison and Six-Day rider he has met with a great deal of success. With Billiet as partner he won the Copenhagen “Six” in 1937


9. Joseph VROOMEN

Vroomen was born in Holland in 1908. After winning the Amateur Championship of Holland and many team races he turned professional and won the International team race, Holland v. Germany in 1931. Since then he has taken part in no less than 35 Six-Day races, and has partnered many famous riders. Vroomen is considered an ideal partner for a good sprinter. He partnered Cozens and finished three laps behind Van Kempen and Buysse in the 1937 “Six” in seventh position.


10. Charles HELPS

Charlie Helps is one of the strong, rugged types of riders, and for years he has “mixed in” on the various tracks in England. He won the Sprint Championship in 1937 and has many Herne Hill successes to his credit. By way of preparation for Wembley he has been training hard on the track at Wandre, Belgium, and from reports seems to have acquired quite a flair for board track work. During his training has secured engagements in a few Belgian Road races and has performed well enough to call approving mention in the Belgian papers. Teamed with a Belgian won an important middle distance race. Helps was formerly the British Amateur Sprint Champion and has turned professional specially to compete in the Wembley race.


11. Luciano MONTERO

Has a particularly good reputation as a Madison and road performer. In 1935 was second to Aerts in the World's Professional Road Championship. In the Grand Prix Des Nations, the Classic Time Trial limited to the eighteen best road riders in the world, he was placed third in 1935 and again in 1936. Last year when in a strong position in the World's Professional Road Championship, he was responsible for a sensation when he was disqualified by certain officials. It is customary for the riders in this event to wear the official jersey. Montero, who had come out of Spain during the hostilities only with difficulty and with practically no equipment, rode in an ordinary racing jersey until the attention of certain officials was drawn to this breach of the rules. Many of the officials were, owing to the hardship of this particular case, willing to allow Montero to continue and it was with public sympathy that he finally withdrew from the race.



The Irishman has been training at Wandre, Belgium, and although a bad crash has set him back, he managed to get fit again before the start at Wembley. He has a good reputation as a strong all-round rider. Secured engagements in local Belgian races and acquitted himself well. Is regarded by some of the Continental riders, with whom he has been taking his training rides, as a rider needing only experience to take him to the top class.



Is partnered with Marcel Guimbretiere. Here is a re-union of an old partnership for they have been separated for some time and have been brought together only by the diplomacy of the Wembley Management. Considered the best French team of the past ten years. Have many Six-Day successes together including several in America. Letourneur has rarely been seen in Europe during the last few years, having ridden mostly in America, of which country he held the motor-paced record and Championships for many years. He is probably the only rider in Six-Day races who insists on wearing No. 13, this in spite of being involved in many serious crashes of which the worst was, perhaps, the crash in the Buffalo race in America early this year. Riding with Debruyckere he won the Chicago and Buffalo "Sixes". He has already won 23 Six-Day races in Europe and U.S.A.



Marcel Guimbretiere (whose tongue-twisting name is pronounced Gam-bretty-air) was born in Brittany, December 4th, 1909. He is known as the Flying Sailor, for he learned to ride a bicycle on a battleship whilst carrying out his compulsory service. After winning everything before him as an amateur, Guimbretiere joined the professional ranks and has become one of France's most experienced and successful team race and Six-Day riders. He has already won ten of the world's great Six-Day races, including Chicago, Paris, and Berlin and he is always outstanding for his colourful riding. He is remarkable for his perfect position, great stamina and quick brain. No stranger to this country. He finished seventh in last year's Wembley " Six " with Michel Pecqueux, three laps behind Buysse and Billiet. In the recent Paris Six-Days, partnered with Diot, the two Frenchmen finishing in sixth position, four laps behind the winners.


15. Syd COZENS

Sydney Turner Cozens, the English rider, who will be watched with great interest, was born in Manchester, July 17th, 1908. He is one of the most experienced of native riders. He had a brilliant career as an amateur, which included the winning of the Manchester Quarter-Mile Centre Championships in 1927 and 1928. In the latter year he also represented England at the Olympic Games at Amsterdam. The year 1930 was another signally successful period with the 1,000 yards English Championships, the Grand Prix of Paris and similar victories in Oslo, London, Paris, Naples, Warsaw and Colgne. Both in 1929 and 1930 he finished second in the World’s Amateur Sprint Championship. This will be his third appearance at Wembley, for in 1937 he rode there teamed with Joseph Vroomen, and finished three laps behind the winners, Van Kempen and Buysse, while in 1936, partnering Harry Grant, he crashed and retired. Has been riding in Australia during the winter months of 1937-38 and paired with Benny Clare was placed fourth in the sensational Sydney “Six”.


16. Benny CLARE

An Englishman who made his “Six” debut in Australia, where he teamed up with Cozens, the combination being very successful. He sits on a bicycle well, and being supple and adroit is just the type of rider to give the Wembley fans many a thrill.

[Listed as English but also reported as born 25-Dec-1915, Perth, Western Australia. Thought to be the same Benny Clare as the one who came 5th in the Sydney Six Day of 1941 - then listed as Australian]


17. Piet van KEMPEN

Piet was born in Holland in 1898. He started riding at 14 years of age, and is the most successful Six-Day rider in the history of cycling. He has won over iŁ100,000 in prizes and has kept most of it! Piet's record is too long to print in full, but it includes 35 wins out of 165 starts, and he has rarely taken part in a race without finishing among the first three. Fast as lightning and strong as they are made, with a head full of brains and the courage of a lion, Piet has been the dominating personality of the bike game for 20 years. He has won all classes of races. Evergreen as he is, it is rumoured that this is his last Six-Day, and you will all certainly wish him good luck in it. Won the 1937 Wembley Six-Day with Albert Buysse, with whose father he won many similar races.



This rider began his cycling career as a helper boy at Six-Day races. Cees Pellenaers was born at The Hague, Holland, May 10th, 1913. As an amateur the first race he won was the Road Championship of the World in Leipsic, 1934 — an astonishing start. As a professional Pellenaers has won Six-Day races and team races all over the Continent. Is one of the most formidable riders in the game. Usually teamed with Slaats, these two are great rivals of Buysse-Billiet. They came third in this year's Copenhagen "Six". Pellenaers finished in second place with Bouchard in the Paris " Six " and had many madison victories to his credit.


19. Joseph BUCKLEY

Joe Buckley, at 25 years of age, is fast proving himself one of the best riders Australia has sent us. Joe is one of the only men in the world to ride in the World’s Road Championship and World’s Sprint Championship in the same week, as he did at Copenhagen last August, and he acquitted himself well in both events. In Australia he holds many records and Championships. Two years after riding the Wembley Six-Day, Joe went to South America with Bill Burl as partner and finished sixth in the Buenos Aires Six-Day, as well as winning the Buenos Aires Grand Prix sprint race. This young Australian rider has undergone three months “hard” training with the tough Belgian road schol. In the last Wembley “Six” his partner, Depauw, retired on the last day. Teamed with Kaers, whose partner Georges Ronsse had also retired, Buckley finished fifth. Since then he has ridden many road races on the Continent and has earned for himself the admiration of the Continental riders.


20. Emile IGNAT

Emile Ignat, brilliant Parisian rider, is looked upon as the outstanding young French cyclist in competition to-day. He was born in Paris, rode amateur for three years and turned professional three years ago. He and Diot finished fifth in the Paris Six-Day race in March, 1937, after leading the race for five days. Finished one lap behind the winners at Wembley in 1938 after putting up a grand performance with countryman Diot. In the recent Paris Six Days he only dropped three laps to BuysseBilliet. Has won both Chicago and New York " Sixes".


21. Karel KAERS

Karel Kaers is the phenomenon of the bike game, from the home of the world's hardest school of riding - Belgium. He is the greatest all-round cyclist in the world to-day. Twenty-four years of age, weighs 15 stone and is 6 ft. 2 in. in height. He can ride sprint and road race in the same week - and beat the champions in both. Kaers is considered by his professional colleagues to be the "Perfect Bike Rider." Next to the world's champion sprinters, easily the "big name" in the Wembley field. His sensational riding last year, when he rode a mile in 1 min. 50 2/5 sec. will not be forgotten - unless he eclipses it with something even more spectacular this year. Last year he started the race with Ronsse as partner, but Ronsse retired, and he finished up riding with Joe Buckley. Kaers has been teamed up well with Debruycker this year. They won the Copenhagen event and took a third in the Antwerp "Six". Has just won the Pursuit Championship of Belgium.


22. Omer de BRUYCKER

A very successful madison and Six-Day rider. With Jean Aerts he won the Brussels and New York "Sixes" in 1937, and the Buffalo and Chicago Six-Days with Letourneur. During the 1938-39 season he and Kaers have proved to be one of the most renowned teams, and have been going from success to success. Debruycker will be a force in the Wembley race, and paired with Kaers there will be some "jamming" in prospect for the fans.



Another of the dogged Belgian riders who has made a name for himself in madison and Six-Day events. In 1936, partnered with Billiet, he won the Ghent "Six." He paired up with Deneef the following year, and defeated in turn all the leading crack teams of the day on the Antwerp track. This will be his first visit to Wembley, and with such a famous partner as Jeff Scherens he can be relied upon to give of his best, a best that will bring many a thrill into the race.



Six consecutive times winner of the world’s professional sprint Championship. Is making his debut as a Six-Day rider. Although a remarkable sprinter, this little Belgian won over fifty road races before turning his attention to sprinting. The hard riding of his early days has played no small part in his success as a sprinter, and wil stand him in good stead for Six-Day grinds. In the sprint field his superiority allowed him to play with other riders like a cat with a mouse; hence the nickname of “Poske” (Puss). His record is too long to print. Has won all the great track races inEurope and holds the record for practically every track.



The 1939 programme provides the full start list and background. It is online at

All we need now are reports of the actual racing. Do you have a copies you can share?