Kris heads straight for breakfast from the camper but I’m not man enough for that, I need the shower to bring me to life before I can face Rotterdam Six Day 2019, Day Four.

* * *

Day Four

Sunday is an ‘afternoon only’ day with a 1:00pm start and 5:00pm finish but we didn’t get to bed ‘til gone 2:00am so when the alarm blasts on Sunday morning, it’s painful.

Duly showered and first coffee downed things start to look better though.

Whilst it’s no walk in the park, the Sunday racing is never quite as savage as the other days.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Steels and Van Schip. Photo©Ed Hood

Steels and Van Schip carry on where they left off on Saturday night and win the first chase of the day.

Sprinters next and Theo Bos is back to his roots and dicing with the body builders in the sprints – Bos was pretty successful on the road with stage wins in the likes of Castilla y Leon, Oman, Poland, Denmark and Turkey plus single day success in Drenthe, Tour of North Holland and Ronde van Zeeland Seaports but never really broke through to take the Grand Tour stage wins he had hoped for.

Bos took bronze in the Kilometre Worlds last year but sprinting against the team sprinters here he has little chance – but he’s a ‘name’ and the crowds like him.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Wim Stroetinga. Photo©Ed Hood

Wim Stroetinga wins the Devil and Moreno De Pauw the Derny.

Moreno and Kenny De Ketele were an item on the boards until earlier this year when Moreno’s form took a downturn so the federation paired Kenny with young Rob Ghys.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Kenny De Ketele and Robbie Ghys. Photo©Ed Hood

The duo duly went out and won the European Madison Championships – fait accompli and Moreno must now ride with others.

Tempo race – let’s gloss over that one…

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga. Photo©Ed Hood

More Dernys then the big chase which isn’t too savage, it’s Sunday after all – Yoeri & Wim please the crowd.

I’m on holding-up duties in the team sprint – which the home squad of world champions win for the fourth night straight.

How can three guys from three different nations hope to defeat the finely tuned world champ machine?

There’s simply no chance – so why not give the ‘European’ boys a head start? Handicap it and make for closer racing – but I’m just the runner…

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
‘Danish Dynamite’. Photo©Ed Hood

Danish Dynamite’ – aarrrgggghhhh! – win the Points Race then it’s time for the u23 Elimination.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Rory McKay. Photo©Ed Hood
Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Louis Bilyard. Photo©Ed Hood

GB boys Rory McKay and Louis Bilyard are here under their own steam but having a bit of a torrid time against top opposition; riders like Austrian Moritz Augenstein, a seasoned campaigner on the winter boards.

I trotted over to get some snaps before Louis was out early in the Devil.

To close we had the ‘Super Sprint’, a Points Race / Devil mongrel – I can’t remember who won, sorry.

After that it was a mad rush to get changed for the meal at the hotel that’s a Sunday night tradition.

But not for us – toasties – there are pictures to edit and a keyboard to tap.

* * *

Day Five

With just four minutes to go in the big chase it looked like De Ketele and Ghys were going to win the Madison and take the lead overall – until Lady Luck dealt them an ace of spades and Kenny – the most capable and experienced man on the boards – came down hard.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Kenny and Rob looked very comfortable, until… Photo©Ed Hood

Verdict: broken collarbone.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Kenny De Ketele nurses his injury. Photo©Ed Hood

Rob Ghys then partnered with our man, Wojciech to make a new team – but Six Day Madison new rules puts them five laps back, a podium is unlikely.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
A new team; Rob and Wojciech. Photo©Ed Hood

Wojciech’s partner, our other rider Daniel, is currently out of the race too with a badly inflamed gum; last time we saw him he was headed for the hospital.

Six Days are bitches – and then you crash…

On the ‘up’ side, coffee is free for us in the track centre and it’s not bad at all – a trip out to the bar lets you savour the v.i.p. ladies’ perfumes – a lovely contrast from ‘eau de coureur’ over in the cabins.

And at the bar you’re sure to find ‘Boogie,’ Roompot DS and former Amstel winner, Michael Boogerd.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Thomas Boudat slings Niki Terpstra. Photo©Ed Hood

The first chase goes to Messrs. Terpstra & Boudat with the little Frenchman not looking nearly as strong as the big Dutchman.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Theo Bos. Photo©Ed Hood

Theo Bos is up on the boards again tonight but must have ‘had a word’ with the organisation, he gets two wins and brings the crowd to life.

Derny one to Niki and Lavreysen qualifies fastest for the Sprint – 10.2 on this tight track, pretty impressive.

Roy Pieters, son of former Dutch National Pro Champion and Paris-Tours winner, Peter, takes the Tempo Race.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood

Derny two, I take pictures of all the riders – except the guy who wins – Theo Reinhardt.

More sprinters then it’s big chase time.

Ironically, an upset Rob Ghys takes the laurels as winner whilst poor Ken get carted off to hospital – the race effectively ended when Kenny crashed.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Hennie Kuiper. Photo©Ed Hood

And in the ‘old guys who only saddos like Ed remember’ file, we had a visit from Dutch cycling royalty, Hennie Kuiper – Olympic and World Champion; Primavera, Flanders, Roubaix and Lombardy winner.

Respect.

One more day to go, last washing tonight so ‘mustn’t grumble.’

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood

And, oh yeah, them Kattegat Kids still lead…

* * *

Day Six

The Danska Duo still lead, Wojciech is still with Rob Ghys, it’s a big house, the tunes are good, the scene is set.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
We got some flowers tonight. Photo©Ed Hood

Team Points Race – we win, with Scotland’s very own Fratellis the backing track.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Thomas Babek brings more spoils to the cabin. Photo©Ed Hood

Keirin – Thomas comes over everyone to win; he’s a cool guy, former European Champion in the discipline and has raced the Keirins out in Japan.

He may go back this year but isn’t sure – all that building up and stripping down of your bikes ‘by the numbers’ he finds a little, ‘beaurocratic.’

And whilst the prize money is high, so are costs, like 200 Euros/day for a translator – no one speaks anything except Japanese.

Not a bad start to the evening for us though.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Wim Stroetinga. Photo©Ed Hood

Havik & Stroetinga take the flying start one lapper – Wim’s looking sharper tonight.

Body builder time again and Lavreysen breaks the track record: 9.906 – wow!

Trouble is that this is a temporary track, it’ll be in containers by tomorrow morning, so you only get a shot at that record for Six Days each year.

Ah! Ho! Ho! Ho!” chortles the speaker as young Zijlaard takes the last sprint in the Team Devil – tonight is all about the big chase so no harm in a young local lad grabbing some glory.

Team Sprint time and I’m allowed out of my hutch to hold up big Thomas in the back straight.

The World Champs in the home straight win again – that’ll be six to nil then.

Round in the back straight you get a proper impression of the crowd; it’s a good house for sure.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood

Derny two but I didn’t jot down who won; they were playing The Mavericks, ‘Dance the Night Away‘ – I’ve never considered line dancing before but with the mega bass of the PA, the noise of the Dernys and that two stroke aroma, well…

Young Zijlaard takes the Derny too – Ho! Ho! Ho!

Then young Hesters (that’s the young Belgian one, with an ‘s’ on the end) takes the “Super Sprint” – a kind of Points Race/Devil mongrel.

Final pees, schuck a gel, maybe a loosener on the rollers?

Show time.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Lasse Norman and Mark Hester seem off the boil tonight. Photo©Ed Hood

The Danes are strangely subdued, Wim & Yoeri make a fist of it but it’s Niki’s night.

Boudat is clearly suffering but will no doubt prefer that to the ‘wrath of Terpstra.’

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Niki is caught for a bike change. ©Ed Hood
Rotterdam Six Day 2019
No drama. Photo©Ed Hood

Despite a late bike change the big Dutchman and his little French partner take the laurels.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood
Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood

And if there’s any doubt about the legitimacy of that result then I’d refer you to a big attack the Spaniards and Havik/Stroetinga make.

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Niki Terpstra is on great form. Photo©Ed Hood

They have a half lap; Niki goes to the front, dumps the nitro and in less time than it takes to type, the gap is gone – so impressive.

The Kattegat Kidz are second, Wim/Yoeri third and Wojciech and Rob Ghys fourth – not a bad one for our boy’s palmarès.

We lost Daniel with that swollen gum but still got fourth, with Thomas third overall in the sprinters standing – and I never dropped him once.

Mayhem time…

Rotterdam Six Day 2019
Photo©Ed Hood

Bikes get stripped, vehicles get loaded; “see you in Bremen,” and “catch you at Kuurne‘ are the phrases of the night as we head off to pick up the Rotterdam ring road and those long, straight flat roads north to Bremen.