It’s 18.00 at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 and the juniors are up and keeping the red cross busy. At a time when any sensible person is contemplating a movie then a nice pasta and bottle of red at their favourite Italian restaurant in the company of their sweetheart, we’re just about to start work.
The deal for our Saturday night is:
- 19.50: 60 lap points
- 20.10: Team devil
- 20.30: Three lap time trial
- 20.55: 50 lap derny
- 21.10: Individual devil
- 21.25: 50 lap derny, heat 2
- 22.00: 7 x 10 lap sprint
- 22.15: 25 lap scratch
- 22.25: 60 lap derny final
- 22.40: Flying lap
- 23.00: 60 minute chase
On the way into the track centre I spotted a gang of nutters in blue wigs, I should have guessed – the Dimitri De Fauw fan club; during the rolling presentation they were going wild with the air horns for their boy.
The place isn’t even half full, so anything to liven it up must be welcome.
Marc is a lot more relaxed tonight, Kris explained things to me – Marc is my rider, ‘cos he’s last on the classement, whilst Franco is his rider ‘cos he’s probably going to win; fair enough.
My boy picked up five points for a sprint-win just then, so things are looking-up!
Franco and Bruno were second in the team devil, Slippens and Stam won, but I know the times when Franco is “full-gas” and that wasn’t one of them.
The next race was different – the three lap time trial. The time tests are good because they are 100% honest, there’s manual and electronic timing.
Aeschbach and De Fauw were well clear on 34.12 and it looked like his fan club were in for an air-horn-fest. Franco had other ideas and this time he was “full-gas” – 33.73, just off the track record. Villa and Keisse were half way down the field and Slippens and Stam were last – those watches don’t lie.
Bruno won the derny for good measure and at 21.45 we have Risi/Marvulli and Villa/Keisse on the same lap but the Swiss lead 168 points to 150.
At 22.35 it’s the 25 lap scratch, the major part of it consists of the string swooping up and down the track, Gerd Dorich at the head as the Euro-pop belts-out and a singer joins-in, yes; it’s as bad as it sounds! Deneef and Van Mechelen won, it’s about time they got some points.
Derny time, usually they are arranged – only two guys will win this one, despite the presence of Risi it will be Kenny de Ketele or Dimitri De Fauw, local guys always win the derny. There’s the bell – it’s Deketele, I would have thought De Fauw, he has the most fans here but he’ll almost certainly win the flying lap so his fans can go home happy too.
The flying lap – Franco and Bruno 10.79, it’s good, but Aeschbach kills himself on the third wind-up lap and hurls De Fauw through the timing beam like there’s a world title at stake. De Fauw doesn’t disappoint – he looks great on a bike at speed – 10.57; the fan club can go home happy.
What have Auctermuchty and Hasselt got in common? The Proclaimers! “…And I would walk 500 miles…”
Good music for the chase but the hall has gone from being like a suana to freezing – Bruno is gesticulating to the organisers to shut the doors and/or turn-up the heating. It’s all pretty predictable stuff, maybe it will catch light in the last 30 minutes?
Phssssst! Beikirch punctures, the tub stays-put, he steers off the track without incident and Ken Illegems changes the rear wheel whilst Andreas grabs a drink and wipes his face with a towel.
Candi Statten welcomes him back into the fray – “Young hearts, run free…”
Jeez, it can’t be too sore, Marc is going for a lap!
Marc gets his lap… then bang!
Marc Hester goes down, right next to the pits, he doesn’t get up and has to be stretchered out. World points champion, Peter Schep isn’t impressed at me taking pictures – but it’s what I do.
The boys come in for a change as the race is neutralised, the hall really is cold now and Kris reckons guys will get sick because of the temperature changes.
After that it’s a bit of a damp squib, the big guys don’t really race and the minnows snaffle laps back.
Defauw/Aeschbach win, Bruno and Franco hold-on to the lead on points then it’s pack-up time.
Franco has a “controle” – dope test and we have to remind him not to go for a wee – that stuff is precious: at Grenoble he kept us up until God-knows when because he couldn’t produce a sample.
Thankfully it doesn’t take too long and now we just need to wait on him finishing his meal, it’s early yet – 01.25 am. With any luck we’ll be in bed for 02.00 am.
Talk to you tomorrow.