It’s another big madison tonight; 75 kilometres/300 laps, but with a ‘twist’-it’s a handicap. Bartko/Lampater, Stam/Stroetinga and Alex/Michael give away six laps to Jackie/Schröder-with the rest of the field somewhere in between.
The final laps count for the overall so there’s no messing; if a big team doesn’t pull the laps back then they’re lost. Really, all that goes before the handicap is just to whet the appetite-there are a lot of nervous cyclists in the cabins.
Sprints to start and Hazel Dean thumps out, quality high energy from the 80′s ‘Searchin’-quality. Followed by ‘Livin in America’ from the late, great James Brown-we’re in luck, tonight. And then ‘Cara Mia’ to start the 75 lap chase-I never get tired of that tune.
The two chases weren’t bad at all-for a Sunday, that is.
Danny Clark; in a world where the word ‘legend’ is used too often, it’s wholly appropriate in the case of the Australian.
He holds the record for the number of six day starts at 236 and he’s second in the all time winner ranks with 74-unsurprisingly he’s ‘double Recordman’ here at Copenhagen with eight wins off 21 starts. He’s here driving the Derny (and singing!) but clocks up an hour plus on the track every day-he looks better now than he did 20 years ago.
‘Rivers of Babylon’ by the Melodians, now there’s a tune to fold jerseys by-until the guy in the cabin next door hops on his rollers, that is. And there was me looking for some peace on a Saturday morning-a split day today with afternoon and evening sessions.
We don’t like double sessions, neither do the riders, but like the song says; ‘That’s just the way it is.’ Last night wasn’t a bad one . . .
The gun fires, the bongos rattle, ‘Cara Mia’ blasts, the rattle of chains and rumble of rubber on wood builds and the chase which kicks off the 50th Six Days of Copenhagen is up and running. But it’s not any old chase, since I first walked up the steps from the tunnel when we arrived here on Wednesday afternoon the lap board has been displaying a short but grim message-400.
That’s 400 laps at 250 metres for each lap; I’ll help with the arithmetic-100 kilometres.
Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce are regulars on the Six Day scene; US riders win classics and Grand Tours, there are US Pro Tour teams.
It was different in 1970; with not one US rider holding a professional licence-enter Jack Simes.
We spoke to the man who was the first US rider to turn a pedal on the Six Day tracks for nearly 20 years and who hopes to bring the sport back to its spiritual home in the USA.
The line of taxi lights stretches back into the darkness like a string of pearls, it’s beautiful in an a big city kind of a way – it could be a scene from a Woody Allen film; but it’s not Manhattan, it’s Berlin at 01:40 am.
The beige Merc cabs get to drive down to the underground Velodrom entrance to pick up ViPs, meanwhile the support staff – that’s us – have to hi-jack a supermarket trolley and use the lift to take our stuff up to the camper.
The Berlin Six Day finished with a win for the Aussie World Champions Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard (wine gum thief), we hope you enjoyed our daily diaries from the inside.
Also at the track to capture the racing was our pal John Young, of Fietsenphotography, and once again he’s been very nice and supplied us with loads of great images.
It’s gone 1:00 am, the Dernys buzz their ‘Ipcress’ noise, Brad eases down off the fence, he takes the sling off Jackie, tucks in behind the little monster and Mr. Simes is done for the night. Brad has 25 laps to go with just a few knots of hardcore fans in the stands to watch him-and the drinkers in the track centre, naturally.
‘That’s the first time this week the driver hasn’t ripped the legs off me!’ says Jackie as he gets ready for the dash to the cabin, a shower and then the peace of the hotel room.
Sundays at German Sixes are and have always been ‘family day’ when the programme of sport and entertainment is held during the afternoon rather than in the evening or night. On a cold wind-chilled winter afternoon, local families came along to the Landsberger Allee Velodrome to enjoy the racing and pass on the tradition from one generation to the next.
The race programme kicked off with a series of Sprints won by Kalz – Bengsch who are looking like the real deal this time around and should continue to challenge for a podium place.
Jackie summed it up best when I asked if he’d slept well; ‘yeah, but just not long enough!’ But Dirk had a take on it too; ‘why can’t we just go straight from Saturday to Monday?’ There’s always a down beat Johnny Cash kind of vibe to Sunday afternoons sessions; ‘the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert.’
But once the shower blasts and the coffee blends, it’s not so bad.
The 101st Berliner Sechstage Rennen 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.
‘Just Another Tequila Sunrise,’ it’s ironic that the covers band who kick off as soon as the racing finishes at gone 01:00AM aren’t half bad – but it’s time for me to disappear down the tunnel to hang up the washing etc. etc.
The track centre party goes on ’til 02:30 am but I hope to be in a coma by then.
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?
I’m standing on the chair so as I can see over the cabin, Leif Lampater and Roger Kluge are the only pair left to ride in the 1,000 metres time trial.
Roger is smooth, fast, the sling to Leif isn’t perfect but it’s not too bad.
Leif drives but he’s not at his best – it seems like no one is on this first night in Berlin – the digits whirl on the lap board, he sprints up the home straight, 58 seconds.