I’d forgotten the raw horror of a Frank Zander gig; ‘If I Had a Hammer’ was blasting out at around 11:00 pm and it occurred to me that if you’re a bad musician then Germany is the place to be.
Frank sounds like a guy with a really bad throat infection singing the ‘Worst Europop Album in the World, Ever’ on a karaoke night at the Lochore Miners Welfare — but the crowd love the man, so who am I to criticise?
But Rod Stewart’s mutilation of Graham Sutherland’s ‘Sailing’ is positively excellent compared to Frank’s version.
I was going to say, ‘I digress’ but I don’t really; the live acts, the celebrity visits, the cheer-leaders, the bars and food are all as much a part of a Six Day as the racing.
It’s as much a social event as a sporting spectacle, even ‘the girls’ on their Friday night bash come along to the Six; hoping to meet Franco or Leif — and if that doesn’t happen then just have a right good drink and dance to Frank Zander.
We discovered who the big dude was who started the race on Thursday night: Robert Harting, the World Discuss Champion — he made a real effort, wearing a woolie jumper with his T-shirt and jeans.
We also discovered that Peter Schep is out of the race, unbeknown to us he crashed during his change with Danny Stam during the 1,000 metres time trial which our Americans won, last night.
It’s easy to be ‘told you so’ when you’re writing, but I said yesterday that it was apparent that Danny and Peter weren’t 100% serious about this race.
The focus and concentration slip and negative things happen — like crashing badly when you’re the only two riders on the track.
The opening presentation wasn’t as big a deal tonight but they still made a fuss of the champions and then we did the ‘rolling presentation’ thing which gives the riders a good warm up.
We hit the ground running with Franco and Silvan winning the Devil — early flowers for the cabin.
And then it was sprinter time, those boys do have egos to go with their thighs.
It’s meant to be the mechanic’s job to organise the ‘pushers-off’ for the Derny, but someone forgot to sort one out for Franco so I had to jog along to hold him up — organisers don’t like disorganised stuff like that and it’s always handy to have a runner to blame.
The language barrier is a problem; ‘it’s no’ my fault neebz, it’s thon mechanics!’ isn’t yet in my German repertoire.
It was a long, long night — I thought back to the days when I used to go to the Sixes and wish I could be on the other side of the fence; and here I am now thinking that it would be nice to sit and watch a madison properly, or have a beer and a blether with the boys.
‘To punish us, the Gods give us what we want,’ is the expression, I think.
At all of the Six Days they have a guy who chases the riders up on to the track for the madisons, the old boy here at Berlin doesn’t mess — he doesn’t care how many glossy cycling mag covers you’ve graced, he just wants you up on those boards.
It’s a bit like the gym master urging his charges out of the dressing room for cross country on a wet February afternoon.
Marcel Barth is the leader of the La Ola sprint — known elsewhere as the ‘balustrade sprint’ where he dons a cowboy hat or some such and leads the field around the fence, zooming down the bankings hands off.
This is bike racing for those who don’t get out much, and the trouble I have with it is that after seeing Daniel Holloway leading the string at Copenhagen a year or two ago whilst wearing a full yellow, feathered chicken suit, anything less isn’t really making the effort.
The chases haven’t been looking too brutal here, and as if to confirm that thought, Franco flashes a huge smile from atop the banking.
Iljo Keisse won’t win here, that’ll be a German team, Kluge/Lampater or Kalz/Bengsch, or maybe the Aussies, but there’s no doubt that the Belgian is the best rider on the boards at the moment; he’s fast, aggressive, and spectacular — a real Six Day man.
On the subject of Kluge, he spends too much time on his feet, ‘mingling’ in the crowd for my liking — but he’s the tall, blonde, hair streaked star and I’m the fat runner, so he probably knows what he’s about.
I remember I said similar things about Cav at the Gent Six one year.
The 1,000 metres time trial and big boys Kalz/Bengsch win with a 56 — Bengsch/Bartko won Bremen last year due to their prowess in the time trials.
There were three tests each night and the team with best aggregate time across the three events was awarded a ‘bonus’ lap; they had the best times every night, picking up six laps — that’s a handy buffer in the chases.
And Kalz was excellent in Bremen this year with Franco; the pair dominated the time trials.
The ‘big’ chase only sparked on and off, but it’s a deceptive track to watch a chase on — 250 metres is a long way round.
When you look at the programme and see 16 teams, you think; ‘that’s a big field!’ but it’s not on this track — there could be 20 or even 24 teams up there.
The 16 team field gets ‘lost’ on the broad acres of pine and it seems to take an age for the string to come back into view after being used to Bremen and it’s tiny 160 metre oval.
And this isn’t renowned as a fast track, ‘heavy’ is the word you hear a lot.
The programme overran by a mile and our boys were in the late Derny, just to add insult to injury.
Tidy up, empty the pails, washing, shower, one beer, bed — and we’ll talk about Didi Thurau tomorrow.
Berlin Six Day - Results from Day Two
2. Nr. 1 HOWARD / MEYER 7 Pkt.
3. Nr. 14 MATZKA / REINHARDT 6 Pkt.
3. Nr. 15 RATAJCZYK / AESCHBACH 6 Pkt.
5. Nr. 4 KEISSE / DE KETELE 5 Pkt.
5. Nr. 8 BARTH / MOHS 5 Pkt.
7. Nr. 3 MARVULLI / DILLIER 3 Pkt.
7. Nr. 6 SCHRöDER / THöMEL 3 Pkt.
7. Nr. 10 GRAF / MüLLER 3 Pkt.
7. Nr. 11 BLAHA / HOCHMANN 3 Pkt.
11. Nr. 2 LAMPATER / KLUGE 2 Pkt.
11. Nr. 16 KAIKOW / KRASNOW 2 Pkt.
13. Nr. 9 BENGSCH / KALZ 1 Pkt.
13. Nr. 13 HUFF / SIMES 1 Pkt.
15. Nr. 7 STAM / SCHEP
15. Nr. 12 MASOTTI / CICCONE
2. Nr. 9 BENGSCH / KALZ 12 Pkt.
3. Nr. 1 HOWARD / MEYER 10 Pkt.
4. Nr. 14 MATZKA / REINHARDT 8 Pkt.
5. Nr. 5 BOMMEL / MERTENS 6 Pkt.
6. Nr. 8 BARTH / MOHS 4 Pkt.
7. Nr. 2 LAMPATER / KLUGE
8. Nr. 4 KEISSE / DE KETELE
9. Nr. 6 SCHRöDER / THöMEL
10. Nr. 15 RATAJCZYK / AESCHBACH
11. Nr. 16 KAIKOW / KRASNOW
12. Nr. 10 GRAF / MüLLER
13. Nr. 13 HUFF / SIMES
14. Nr. 12 MASOTTI / CICCONE
15. Nr. 11 BLAHA / HOCHMANN
2. Nr. 3 MARVULLI / DILLIER 56.962 12 Pkt.
3. Nr. 15 RATAJCZYK / AESCHBACH 57.442 10 Pkt.
4. Nr. 13 HUFF / SIMES 57.520 8 Pkt.
5. Nr. 4 KEISSE / DE KETELE 57.847 6 Pkt.
6. Nr. 14 MATZKA / REINHARDT 57.876 4 Pkt.
7. Nr. 2 LAMPATER / KLUGE 58.368
8. Nr. 8 BARTH / MOHS 58.414
9. Nr. 12 MASOTTI / CICCONE 59.724
10. Nr. 6 SCHRöDER / THöMEL 59.85
11. Nr. 5 BOMMEL / MERTENS 59.89
12. Nr. 1 HOWARD / MEYER 1:00.125
13. Nr. 10 GRAF / MüLLER 1:00.177
14. Nr. 11 BLAHA / HOCHMANN 1:00.221
15. Nr. 16 KAIKOW / KRASNOW 1:00.304
16. Nr. 7 STAM / SCHEP 1:15.371
2. Nr. 2 LAMPATER / KLUGE 8 Pkt.
3. Nr. 4 KEISSE / DE KETELE 6 Pkt.
4. Nr. 3 MARVULLI / DILLIER 4 Pkt.
5. Nr. 9 BENGSCH / KALZ 2 Pkt.
6. Nr. 10 GRAF / MüLLER
7. Nr. 14 MATZKA / REINHARDT
8. Nr. 8 BARTH / MOHS
2. Nr. 12 MASOTTI / CICCONE 8 Pkt.
3. Nr. 5 BOMMEL / MERTENS 6 Pkt.
4. Nr. 15 RATAJCZYK / AESCHBACH 4 Pkt.
5. Nr. 11 BLAHA / HOCHMANN 2 Pkt.
6. Nr. 13 HUFF / SIMES
7. Nr. 16 KAIKOW / KRASNOW
8. Nr. 7 STAM / SCHEP
@ 1 Lap
2. Nr. 1 HOWARD / MEYER 57 Pkt.
3. Nr. 3 MARVULLI / DILLIER 55 Pkt.
4. Nr. 9 BENGSCH / KALZ 47 Pkt.
5. Nr. 2 LAMPATER / KLUGE 34 Pkt.
@ 2 Laps
6. Nr. 8 BARTH / MOHS 13 Pkt.
@ 3 Laps
7. Nr. 5 BOMMEL / MERTENS 24 Pkt.
8. Nr. 10 GRAF / MüLLER 3 Pkt.
@ 4 Laps
9. Nr. 15 RATAJCZYK / AESCHBACH 20 Pkt.
10. Nr. 14 MATZKA / REINHARDT 18 Pkt.
11. Nr. 11 BLAHA / HOCHMANN 5 Pkt.
@ 5 Laps
12. Nr. 6 SCHRöDER / THöMEL 13 Pkt.
13. Nr. 13 HUFF / SIMES 9 Pkt
14. Nr. 12 MASOTTI / CICCONE 8 Pkt
@ 6 Laps
15. Nr. 16 KAIKOW / KRASNOW 2 Pkt.
@ 7 Laps
16. Nr. 7 STAM / SCHEP