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Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 – Day 6


It must be the end of term; “Mr. Happy”, stoney-faced derny pilot and former king of the big motor drivers, Bruno Walrave was actually laughing at breakfast – hey! It’s pay day today too here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt – always good for morale.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007
Slippens warms up before an event.

On the last day you try and get as much kit down to the van as possible so you save time when it comes to 01.00 am.

It’s 15.50 just now and Marc and Franco have just finished massage.

Topic for discussion was rap-music, Franco and Marc are big fans; for a traditionalist like Kris it must be hard work. Food-time, steak and chips, can’t complain.

The dining hall is quite tranquil, despite the presence of Slippens and Stam – they weren’t quiet at 01.30 this morning when they were having their post-race meal.

Maybe the unlimited free beer had a hand in it? Talking of beer, one of the old Belgian soigneurs got drunk the other night and fell his full kength in the cabin onto the concrete floor. He lay there, sprawled, groaning but with one arm still raised – clutching his beer, not a drop of the precious liquid was spilled.

Not only is Bruno a world-class cake-eater he’s not averse to a few frites, it was just a few though.

It’s 20.10 and the first race of the night – 60 lap points – is up and running; Risi/Marvulli take the win to go four points clear on the classement overall.

Hester’s contract has been chopped in half – he was neutralised after his crash but was spotted with a bird at 03.30, he’s building-himself a bad rep.

Three lap tt, derny, devil and Keisse/Marvulli have stretched their points lead. Stam is sick tonight, he looks a bit wobbly on his feet.

Our Kiwi has flown; his coach appeared and hauled him out of the race. Bad move in my opinion, there was talk about a New Zealand team in three sixes next year – I don’t see that going anywhere now: Sercu misses nothing and forgets nothing.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007
Bruno winds it up for Franco to do his flying lap.

By the time we reach the big chase – 50 minutes plus 50 laps with sprints every ten laps from 40 to the death – Keisse/Gilmore lead by three points.

Keisse wants to win and he and Villa launch attacks all night, Bruno and Franco close them all down without drama.

To emphasise the big gap between the top two and the rest: by the gun, third-placed Aeschbach/Defauw are six laps back.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007
Bruno truly is a “Madison King”.

The music is awesome tonight, 70’s disco at it’s best, there’s even some Northern Soul in there – Millie Jackson. That, and the big crowd make for the best atmosphere of the week.

Into the last 50 laps, the sprints start at 40 out, Keisse takes it – it’s the last one he takes.

Bruno wins the next four straight, there are maybe quicker guys down the home straight – but not after six days!

For me, the best moment of the race was with three laps to go – every one was wasted, including Franco, his handsome features grey, Keisse was torturing himself, most of the rest were just counting the seconds…


Eyes sharp, totally in control, no sign of stress, awaiting the sling to put him in for the final sprint, there was no doubt about who was going to win that sprint and take the 2007 Hasselt six-day.

Sometimes the sixes annoy and disappoint, but moments like that stay in the mind and you can’t help but feel privileged to have seen a real star at his very best – Bruno Risi, King of the Sixes. Time to go home, do you think the result will be in the Daily Record tomorrow?

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007
Franco enjoys that end-of-term feeling.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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