Saturday Afternoon

As The Immortal Bard once said; ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’

Copenhagen Six Day
Mads Christensen.
Copenhagen Six Day
Nolan Hoffman.

Sprint series, devils, Derny, boredom, short chase, then everyone goes for a sleep – except me.

Saturday Night

The inevitable sprint series starts the night, then a team devil and then – boxing.

Copenhagen Six Day
Boxing at a bike race!

No, it’s not a misprint, it worked pretty well, short and sharp with the pugilists really going at it.

I’m no boxing aficionado, but I do admire their commitment, the pros divide their day in two, rising early to do their road work – which includes running backwards for long spells – then eating and sleeping in the middle of the day before another training session in the gym in the afternoon/evening before an early bed.

Copenhagen Six Day
Luke Roberts watches the bout as he munches his rice.

I asked Luke if he fancied his chances in the ring; ‘they look about my weight, but I don’t think I could go the distance!

Cara Mia,’ signals the start of the chase and there’s great six day music; Whigfield, KC, Spagna but in front of a 60% full house – albeit the restaurant tables were all occupied.

Marc Hester isn’t in the best of moods, the defence of his title in tatters as Bartko struggles with that infection; ‘how are you feeling today, Robert?’ I ask.

The reply is succinct; ‘not good, bad!

I best not hassle him about that interview he’s been promising since Berlin, then.

Copenhagen Six Day
Big Bob Bartko.

At least he’s back in the race.

Copenhagen Six Day
Leif Lampater.

It’s a two team race now – a straight fight between Mørkøv/Norman and Lampater/Roberts.

Michael doesn’t look himself, there’s no Alex to have a laugh with and the pressure is on him to deliver a win with the Olympic champion.

Norman is bestially strong but is ‘tight’ on the boards, he doesn’t flow with the track, his arms are rigid; his movements don’t say ‘relaxed.’

Michael is relaxed but as vigilant as a hawk; his eyes never cease darting around the oval to assess what the situation is.

Lampater is as strong as I’ve seen him in a while and a real handful for the Danes when paired with Aussie strongman Roberts.

Copenhagen Six Day
Lander and Stöpler exchange.

In the last 10 laps of the chase a drunk drops a beer on the banking – and beats a hasty retreat.

The commissaire nearly wears his whistle out as he points to the brown stain on the track advertising.

More boxing, another Derny; they always play Johnny Wakelin’s ‘In Zaire’ for the little motorbikes very appropriate with all the punching and counter punching that’s going on in the arena, tonight.

Dave texts that Coquard has won another stage at the Tour of the Med – second in the Olympic Omnium, second in the Worlds U23 Road Race and second in the Four Days of Grenoble.

If that laddie can survive the inevitable big bucks offers from French teams, the fast cars and night clubs then he’s headed for the top.

Copenhagen Six Day
Michael gets a push at the start of the derny race.
Copenhagen Six Day
Zak gets his tyre checked and is told it’s OK.

Being a Six Day mechanic is a bit like being in a war, long periods of boredom then periods of intense action; like when the time trial comes right after the Derny and gears have to be changed – fast.

Or when Zak zooms in because he thinks he has a puncture, but the tyre ‘pings’ like a steel pipe.

Saturday is notorious at Copenhagen for sponsor visits; huge swarms of them get in the way and stress you even more.

Copenhagen Six Day
It’s not peaceful at the cabins!
Copenhagen Six Day
There are some perks on the job.

However, Guy is a born PR man and some of the visitors are rather nice, it has to be admitted.

Michael wins a Derny – that is one thing I miss, trotting round to the finish line with the rider’s hat, towel and a drink when they win . . .

But it’s easier on the feet, I guess.

More boxing; some of the riders come to watch, but not Michael, he’s too professional to waste precious energy like that.

Copenhagen Six Day
Tea time for our boys.

The evening drags; it’s around 01:00 with 27 minutes to go in the madison when Patrick Hernandez blasts out, ‘Born to be Alive’ – great chase sounds.

My mind drifts to the old days – two 100 kilometre chases every day – unthinkable these days.

Daddy Cool’ blares as the lap board switches from laps to minutes.

It’s time to get the wash basins ready, prepare the drinks for the boys and dream of cold Tuborg – and Sven won in Louisville, that was a lift.