The 101st Berliner Sechstage Rennen (Berlin Six Day) started on Thursday and according to reports the crowds have been down a little on last night.

On the track big gaps have already appeared as the top five teams have started the fight that will conclude in the final hour long Madison on Tuesday night.

In his last German Six Danny Stam is out of the running as his partner Peter Schep fell breaking his collarbone on the opening night.

That’s a shame for Schep of course but also for the race as he and Stam would have expected to be among the leaders.

Berlin Six Day
Tim Mertens.

As expected the Australian World Madison Champions Meyer and Howard are going well as are the Belgians Iljo Keisse and Kenny de Ketele, looking for their first Six-day win together, local favourites Kluge – Lampater and fellow Germans Kalz — Bengsch.

Berlin Six Day
Iljo fires Kenny into action.

The dark horses may well be Franco Marvulli and his talented 21year old Swiss partner Silvan Dillier.

Goldene Nacht — Saturday 28th January

To confirm first hand, the crowds are indeed down again but they are still out in force and when it matters, and they are still making themselves heard!

After the traditional leg stretching points race the riders went straight into a 30 minute Madison which was the first of two chases tonight.

To the delight of the home crowd the winners were the German champions, Marcel Kalz and Robert Bengsch.

The win took them to the top of the standings a few points ahead of Keisse / de Ketele and a full lap clear of more favoured teams, Lampater / Kluge and Howard / Meyer.

After showing well in the first two or three days in 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Berlin pair have faded towards the end of the six days. This year they’ll be looking to stay competitive and go for the victory on Tuesday night.

The Derny racing is not as popular here as it is at my other Six in Ghent, but it remains very much part of any Six Day race. Tonight they kicked off with a popular win for Roger Kluge.

Berlin Six Day
Kluge.

The Team Elimination race, (or Devil as its known in English speaking in cycling circles) saw the young Germans Ralf Matzka and Theo Reinhardt take a morale-boosting win in front of their capital city fans.

The big chase of the night was a 45 minute Madison. The closing laps brought the volume of the crowd to a peak as Kluge — Lampater took a double lap with around 10 minutes to race.

Berlin Six Day
Marvellous Marvulli.

Within the closing laps, Howard – Meyer and Marvulli — Dillier tried desperately to get that lap back. The Aussies conceded with about a lap to go, but Dillier kept trying all the way to the finish and failed to make the junction, missing out by a few metres.

The win took the local matadors Kluge and Lampater back to the top of the leader board as Saturday night entered Sunday morning.

Have a look at Steve’s site, 6dayracing.ca