Inside the Berlin Six Day 2017 – the Final Three Nights(Comments Off on Inside the Berlin Six Day 2017 – the Final Three Nights)
The wee small hours of Wednesday morning, heading north out of Berlin, en route Rostock, the ferry across the Baltic and Denmark for the Copenhagen Six Day. I wish I could say that Berlin had an epic finale – but I can’t, it was dire. Processional, flat, uninspired with no tension, no theatre, no drama.
Kris reckons it’s the worst Six Day he’s ever seen – he’s seen many, many more than me and I wouldn’t argue with his judgement. The root of the problem is that in the Madison Group Six Days the riders are on reduced contract fees with the rest of their earnings in prize money. ‘Fair enough’ I hear you say. Trouble is that it’s not – because the riders are all busy trying to hold their place in the standings it breeds very negative racing.Full Story»
Inside the Berlin Six Day 2017 – the First Three Nights(Comments Off)
You’ve got to get here first, right? Even by Ryanair punishment flight standards, it was a sore one. The lady in front of me, I’m sure was taking her kids to audition for; ‘Devil Spawn of Berlin, The Revenge’ – they’ll get the parts, no problem.
I felt like a native buying my S Bahn train ticket from the machine and riding into town with the rush hour commuters – damn cold though. It’s ‘all change’ at the velodrome, the pits have been moved into the centre of the track, divorcing us from the action and meaning we can’t push riders ‘in’ or offer them a hand to save them from kicking back on sore legs when they come in. The programme is different too with the big motors not coming out to play until after the last chase in the Six Day – happy days, so nice to walk out of the hall and leave the noise and exhaust fumes behind.
Historically cold, wet wintery nights meant just one thing in cycling, Six Day racing. In recent years that has really only meant the ‘Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent’ (Six Days of Flanders-Ghent). This great race has continued to be successful during years when many of the other ‘classic’ Six Day races of Europe left their buildings, literally, for the last time to drift into cycling history.
The Westfalenhallen in Dortmund, the Olympic Hall in Munich and the Hallenstadion in Zürich all said goodbye to Six Day racing in the naughties due to financial losses, lack of sponsorship etc, although Zürich did try to comeback with a short-lived four day. It seems they have no such problems in Gent as year after year close to 40,000 fans have come to the Citadel Park to watch their favourites fly around the steeped banked 166.6 metre inside track the legendary Het Kuipke.
Young Scots at the AVS Cup at the Gent Six Day 2016(Comments Off)
Sunday starts with the climax of the under 23 Six the AVS Cup.
Not long ago I would have struggled to believe that home grown Scottish talent would be riding Gent but with Mark Stewart in the elite event and Andy Brown and Grant Martin in the U23 this is a Scottish success story.
The Bikes of the Six Days 2016(Comments Off)
Hardware at the Six Days: it’s not nearly as exciting as it used to be when you mooch around the pits, with Dolans and Cervélo’s in abundance and Fuji creeping up; but it’s always nice to look at and talk about racing bikes – one of life’s simple pleasures.
When Michael Mørkøv hooked up with Dolan, it was the start of the Merseyside builder becoming one of the main names on the winter boards. I remember Iljo Keisse calling round to our cabin at the Copenhagen Six Day a few years back, measuring tape in hand to check out Michael’s machine – and if they’re good enough for Michael and Iljo…
Berlin Six Days 2016 – Photo WrapUp(Comments Off)
This year saw edition 105 of the Six Days of Berlin, VeloVeritas had the good fortune to be there helping soigneur Kris look after Messrs. Germain Burton (GB), Daniel Holloway (USA), Mathias Krigbaum (Denmark) and Mark Stewart (Scotland).
Here’s a selection of images from under the largest unsupported steel roof in Europe on the site of what used to be the Berlin STASI Headquarters.
The Legend that is Danny Clark(Comments Off)
With all this Six Day chat we thought it might be nice to re-run this interview we did with Danny Clark some six years ago – jingz! where does time go? We hope you enjoy it…
My buddy, John Hardie is a 65 time Scottish grass track champion; his hero ‘back in the day’ was Danny Clark. When he heard that ‘Six Day King’ Danny Clark and me were breakfasting together at Copenhagen, it wasn’t long before the email arrived with the questions he wanted me to ask the great man.
Ace photographer John Pierce, not content with sending us those cracking shots of 70’s/early 80’s Six Day men, has sent us another batch of track images which bring us right up to the present day.
Again, we thought you’d like to see them…
He’s been making the headlines again, that Mark Stewart laddie.
We last spoke to him after his wins in the British scratch and team pursuit championships – not forgetting his silver in the points race.
This time it was success in the second round of the UCI World Cup in New Zealand where he won the scratch race.
It’s not every day that you receive pictures from one of the world’s best cycling photographers – they’re way too good to keep to ourselves so with Mr. John Pierce’s permission allow us to share his memories of some of his favourite Six Day riders of the 70’s and 80’s.
John attended the last London Six in 1980 and these first images are from that race.
Scrapbook: the Gent Six Day and Hasselt ‘Cross, 2015(Comments Off)
Ed and pals spent a few days at the Gent Six Day, catching up with the racing and old friends, and taking in the world cup cycle-cross race at Hasselt as well – but before we consider the racing at the track we have to think about the entertainment; whilst Belgium is a modern country and advance technologically we still marvel at the track-side entertainment; it’s like stepping back to a miners’ welfare in the 70’s – but the crowd loves it – and so do we…
Behind the Scenes at the Six Day London 2015(Comments Off)
Second place finishers and race revelations Chris Latham and Ollie Woods are both products of the British Cycling ‘system’. There were a number of factors which contributed to their result – they’re familiar with the venue and the track is big, fast and non technical unlike Gent and Bremen which take a bit of getting used to.
The five, not six day format, short chases and big track mean that bigger gears can be ridden – right up the street of team pursuiters who rarely drop below 104” these days. All that said, Keisse, De Ketele, Van Hoecke and Co. all take bit of handling whatever the venue and gear ratio…
I remember once, after the last chase in a Six Day I asked Dirk, our Belgian mechanic; ‘was that finale ‘straight’ Dirk?’ He fixed me with a patient stare, much as a good parent would do after their child has said something silly, ‘have you ever seen a ‘straight’ Six Day, Ed?’
I took his point, they’re all pretty much choreographed – but like I keep saying, you have to be able to take laps out of a string riding at 52-53 kph to win. But I reckon that on Sunday evening I did see a straight finale – and our cycling sage and mentor, Vik shares my opinion having watched the finale on the computer; probably getting a better view and appreciation of the racing than I did.
The last 20 minutes or so were savage; up close you could see the pain on the faces with De Ketele and De Buyst looking increasingly determined and Cav and Iljo looking increasingly desperate.
Two decades, twenty years, it’s a long time – especially to ride a bike at world level. But it was 1994 when Australia’s Luke Roberts won his first world title in the junior team pursuit. The following year he twinned another victory in the team event with the world junior individual championship for good measure.
Two Commonwealth, three world and an Olympic team pursuit title followed. He’s ridden Pro Tour with CSC, Milram, Saxo, the Grand Tours, Classics and just about everything there is to ride – including the Six Days. We caught up with him in Amsterdam as he rides his last Sixes and prepares for a new chapter in his life – Director Sportiv with new Danish/Luxembourg Pro Continental squad, Cult Energy Pro Cycling.
Kris maybe summed it up best; ‘it felt like a Monday night at any another Six Day.’ There was none of the tension or expectation which usually precedes the final chase in a Six.
Granted, we weren’t looking after riders who were in the mix for the win but it was indeed, ‘just another chase.’ Maybe it was because it was clear from the start that Terpstra was the strongest man on the track and there was only going to be one winner.