BOSN talks to... James Durbin

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

James runs the Madison Sports Group, headquartered in London. Next month him and his team will be bringing the PRURide Six Day Cycling event to Hong Kong’s Velodrome.

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Tell us a bit about the Six Day event, how does the format differ from other cycling events?

The PRURide Six Day Hong Kong is a new elite cycling event where the world’s best track riders compete against home-grown talent in an action-packed three-day event. Blending sport and entertainment, Six Day Cycling combines the very best in track cycling with an incredible party atmosphere. Event goers can expect the action to come thick and fast as the track centre DJ keeps the party going. With top quality entertainment, rider presentations and interviews on stage, we aim to make the atmosphere within the velodrome like no other track race in the world.

With an Olympic-style event schedule, the programme includes the Madison, Elimination, Derry, Women’s Omnium, 200m Time Trial, and the Keirin. The Hong Kong event will also be complemented by two other new elements: a 24-Hr Charity Challenge and Festival of Cycling.

You’ve run this in several other markets, including London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Australia, but why bring it to Hong Kong now?

The series has become synonymous with sport, entertainment and the stars of the future. With its reputation as one of the world’s most vibrant and energetic cities, Hong Kong is brilliantly suited to staging a Six Day event. Furthermore Hong Kong has the infrastructure at its velodrome and has enjoyed some notable successes on the international stage in recent years so it makes sense from a number of perspectives.

Prudential are this year’s title sponsor, how are you aligning their sponsorship objectives with the event?

The Six Day Series aligns with Prudential’s commitment to inspiring and encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle in Hong Kong. PRURide Six Day Hong Kong is a new and exciting international event that will bring sports enthusiasts and families together through a spectacular showcase of sporting excellence by the best track cyclists in the world. Prudential also has experience in cycling, having invested in a number of other major cycling events around the world.

Cycling is already popular in Asia but as a spectator sport what initiatives are you starting, in order to attract new audiences?

As well as exciting on-track action within the velodrome the Hong Kong stopover will be complemented by two other key elements which we hope will appeal to the general public and cycling enthusiasts alike.

  1. 24-Hr Charity Challenge – Held in the dockyard at the Kerry Hotel, the 24-Hour Charity Challenge is designed to be the largest charity challenge of its kind in Asia. Welcoming a total of 20 teams with 20 bikes, with each team committed to raising funds for charity, spinners are given 24 hours on their bikes to rack up as much distance and raise as much money as they can. This is a great opportunity to work with friends / colleagues and see what you can achieve through teamwork and resilience and see how hard work can bring joy to others in need.

  2. Family Fun Ride – Held on the open grass area in the middle of the park surrounding the velodrome, the Festival Area will provide a carnival-like atmosphere with plenty of fun activations to take part in, including a strider course, virtual cycling experience, bouncy castles, and carnival performers. It is the perfect opportunity to spend the weekend with family and friends and reconnect with the joys of cycling. The event is aimed to promote a healthy lifestyle where people can spend the weekend outdoors in a safe and friendly environment and enjoy the freedom of an open venue, as well as allowing the community to interact with some of the world’s best professional cyclists throughout the weekend.

Will Hong Kong’s cyclists be competing and how do you think they’ll fair against international riders?

There will be five Hong Kong risers competing alongside 55 other international cyclists. Lead by Olympic and world championship medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze and Asian Games Champions Leung Chun-wing and Cheung King-lok, Hong Kong’s track cyclists have enjoyed notable success on the international stage in recent years and will relish the opportunity to test themselves against the world’s elite.

Sarah Lee has recently won three legs of the world cup series and is in a very strong position to do well at PRURide Six Day Hong Kong.

How do you see the sport progressing in Asia Pacific?

Hong Kong will be the marquee event in Asia-Pacific as the event capital of Asia, but we have plans to grow the event’s footprint elsewhere in the region.