“Aint go bump no mo’ with no big fat woman!” Seventies disco and Six Day racing – Hot Chocolate, Van McCoy, Cool and the Gang and Joe Tex; the biz! It’s 19.35 and the theme from Chariots of Fire is blasting-out, it’s the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 and we’re off!
A sprint series to start, then a team devil, which Bruno and Franco win – they want those points – 15 for a win.
Next-up it’s the three lap time trial, they win that too, by one hundredth, beating Alexander Aeschbach and Dimitri De Fauw. What ever else De Fauw may be, he’s rapid; Franco gives us a little dance to celebrate the win.
Derny time but the crowd is still thin; the venue’s location, in an industrial estate on the fringes of town doesn’t help. Franco tells me; ‘I hate the Dernys man!’ Keisse wins, now isn’t that a surprise?
One of the security guys comes to see me; “Guys to see you, from Schkotlant.” It’s Stuart Anthony and John Young from Edinburgh, beers in hand and there to worship their god – Bruno; nice to see them. Kris doesn’t believe I didn’t have a beer with them.
Talking of beer, the mechanics are banging it down tonight and one masseur is even sniffing the contact tyre adhesive – maybe that’s how you go if you do too many sixes?
Matt Gilmore comes to visit, the other riders seem completely under-whelmed, but Matt doesn’t appear to notice, or care. It’s a hard question; “what do you do if you are a six day rider, but can’t ride them?”
One lap time trial next; Bruno does the three lap wind-up and Franco gives it the gas for the timing beam, but just as Bruno reaches back to give Franco the hand-sling, Franco’s tyre catches a bump on the boards and he has to grab the bars to avoid crashing.
Bruno aint happy, but they get another chance. “Kris,” I say, “am I right in assuming that if that was any other rider than Bruno, they wouldn’t get another kick at the ball?” Kris just smiles.
Second time round they are quick, but not as quick as big-diesel wind-up man Aeschbach and the flying De Fauw who win by a street. The chase is last event tonight, 50 minutes plus ten laps. There’s a gentlemen’s agreement for the first few laps just to ride the legs in before the big guns fire.
It’s not as good a race as last night, Franco and Bruno are flying; Villa is his usual rock-solid self and Keisse is eager to impress, word is that he sat-out Stuttgart as part of his preparation for this race.
Slippens isn’t back to his best yet, that look on his face when he’s “resting” tells its own story, he and Stam look like third place to me.
Aeschbach is strong and reliable but De Fauw hasn’t got it when the chases are hard – if he did, then he wouldn’t have all that speed too.
Villa and Keisse top the board at the end of the night – Iljo’s dad will be chuffed at least. By the time I leave the track centre, most of the mecanics are well drunk.
Talking of which, we had ONE beer with John and Stuart after the race, a good bar too – disco, Johny Cash and 50’s stuff. It’s just a pity it was 02.30 am, that didn’t bother the derny drivers who were there for a full sesh by the looks of things. The fat guy scooping like an expert was Michel Vaarten, former Olympic kilometre medallist and six day man; fame – it’s a fleeting thing.
Talk to you tomorrow, we’ll be half way by then.