Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeDiariesBerlin Six Day 2013 - Day Two

Berlin Six Day 2013 – Day Two

-

Friday, Schonefeld Airport was cold with snow on the ground – but it was good to arrive in Germany in the sunshine. We’re here to work at the erlin Six Day 2013. Sometimes in January there’s a depressing grey half light here, the clouds sit low and the dampness eats into you, but today was beautiful, even though the cold nips at the inside of your nose.

Berlin Six Day
Berlin Airport on a February morning. Photo©Ed Hood

And it was good to get off the plane.

I was in the middle of a ‘stag party’ bound for the bars and clubs of Berlin; they were all merry when they boarded and well on the way to be being wasted by the time they we disembarked.

They were loud and sweary; but there was no reprimand from the cabin crew – probably due to their healthy consumption of over-priced baby tins of Stella for the Easyjet coffers.

Berlin Six Day
The track signs are pretty smart. Photo©Ed Hood

The train was on time – naturally – and soon it was time to walk down, then up into the track.

Berlin Six Day
The Berlin Bahn. Photo©Ed Hood
Berlin Six Day
The track’s roof is a wonder of construction. Photo©Ed Hood

You forget how impressive the ‘Velodrom’ is; the largest unsupported steel rood in Europe hovers above you like the inside of some flying saucer.

But from the outside there’s little to see, just what could be the top of a gasometer.

Berlin Six Day
he track’s on an (in)famous site in the city. Photo©Ed Hood

The Folklore is that the site was where the Stasi (East German Secret Police) HQ was – when they blew it up, after the Berlin Wall came down, they decided to build a sports hall.

As well as the Velodrome, there’s a ‘swim hall’ next door and the whole place is a concert venue – a ‘Gossip’ poster caught my eye on the way in.

Berlin Six Day
Stuart Anthony loves his Six Days. Photo©Ed Hood

John Young and Stuart Anthony are here for the weekend – it’s good to have someone to banter with, they’re not big on small talk in the Fatherland.

Not like in Grenoble where the French riders always want a chat and you get invites to their birthday parties.

I missed Day One – for boring reasons, let’s not bother explaining it – but was in time on Friday for that highlight of any Six Day, the trip to the super market.

And then it was chow time.

I stick to pasta with parmesan with olive oil and then some fruit; the Germans like their rich sauces and fatty meat, nein danke!

The intros take forever – European and World Champions, then the sprinters, then the Six Day riders.

Berlin Six Day
Kenny and Luke do the photo-opp thing. Photo©Ed Hood

The field wasn’t bad at all with favourites being: Kenny De Ketele/Luke Roberts, Roger Kluge/Peter Schep, Marcel Kalz/Robert Bengsch plus ‘Marvellous’ Marvulli partnered with solid, consistent Austrian, Andreas Müller.

Robert Bartko is a home favourite but he had a ‘fall out’ with the organisation last year so there was no way they’d let him win this year – up and coming Theo Reinhardt was his ‘neebur’ for the duration.

Berlin Six Day
Reinhardt flies. Photo©Ed Hood

By the end, the laddie was wasted, but that’s another story…

The first chase was a pretty brisk affair but the races on the Berlin track are never as spectacular as on a Gent or Bremen – not on a 250 metre bowl as compared to the 160 ‘wall of death’ hard core Six Day tracks.

My excitement for the night came when I wandered over to take some snaps of the excellent ELO (Part Two) who were performing in the track centre.

Berlin Six Day
It’s not ELO, but it nearly is. Photo©Ed Hood

Pictures duly snapped, I was about to wander back to the riders area when a dude in a shaved head and suit with an ear piece self tapped to his lug (always a bad start) arrived.

Wrist band?’ he demanded, I smiled and waved my creds.

No! No! You must have wrist band, leave now!

Biting my lip I tried to smile; ‘ok, no problems’ and went to retrace my steps back to the rider area.

No! No! You go this way!’ said my chum directing me out the other end of the track and meaning a 500 metre magical mystery tour to get back to where I wanted to be.

I knew a guy once who was a bouncer, he reckoned that you really only needed one complete sentence – and simple variations on another to do the job; ‘Good evening folks, in you come.

And; ‘F-off son, you’re too drunk/scruffy/young.

But I digress, the second chase was a low key affair and the music wasn’t knock out.

Liverpudlian deejay Pete Traynor used to do the sounds – he did them at Zürich, this winter – but fell out with the organiser over money (what else?).

Zach was on late behind the big bikes; the crowd just love it, even though it seems to take forever to get the pace bikes shuffled into the correct order and do the intros.

Berlin Six Day
Zach prepares to join the madness of the motor-paced. Photo©Ed Hood

There’s generally quite a high level of ‘choreography’ in stayer racing and it looked as if Zach was sampling it – getting his legs ripped off at the front to please the crowd until the pacer could see that the American was wasted, then the ‘real’ race started.

All too soon it was time to go down to the concrete floored, breeze block walled ‘cabin’ – which is ‘home sweet home’ in Berlin.

One down, four to go.

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.

Related Articles

Kenny De Ketele, World Madison Champ – “Track racing is my passion”

Just before his dominant performance in the Four Days of Grenoble finale with Iljo Keisse, World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele took time to talk to VeloVeritas. De Ketele has been around the track scene for a long time, always there and knocking on the door. But it was the winter of 2011/12 when the man from Oudenaarde finally arrived.

Don Allan – Six Day Legend, Part Two

In the first part of our interview with Australian ace Don Allan we discussed his road career, for the second part we talk about his 107 Six Day starts - that's 642 days on the boards; 92 weeks.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day One, Stam and Van Bon Take Early Lead

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and it wouldn't be a Six without off-the-track dramas - you'll all be familiar by now with the 'Iljo Saga.' Who ever you think is at fault, there's no doubt that the sport's governing body is now doing itself no favours with the way it's handling this situation. They tell the Rotterdam organiser that Keisse shouldn't start, but when Frank Boelé says; 'and you'll pick up the tab for the 50,000 Euros/day fine if Keisse's judgement sticks because I'm denying him the right to ride?'

Nolan Hoffman – “My aspirations now are on the track”

The current flag bearer for black track cycling Nolan Hoffman, hails from South Africa - and there's irony in that, given the vile apartheid regime which ruled the country for so long.

Murray Hall – the Aussie British Madison Champion

Back in 1972 when Edinburgh's Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there. The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier - and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old - he has a good tale to tell.

Copenhagen Six Day 2011 – Opening Night; It’s Not Like It Used To Be

It wasn't a great first night, sparse crowds, lack lustre chases and I seemed to spend the whole day gittering about to little effect; but we're set up, the hotel is great, the boys are all relaxed and it's Friday - so maybe we'll get a better crowd. The Copenhagen Six Day 2011 is 'old school' - long chases are what Six Days are all about say the organisers; I'm not so sure.

At Random

Stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia 2010 – Redux

Apologies for not updating the site for a little while folks - we've both been very busy with our day jobs. Ed has been clearing the decks before heading over to Italy to cover the Giro d'Italia shortly, and so to get us in the mood we thought you'd enjoy revisiting one of our diary articles from Stage 11 of last year's race, a 262km haul from Lucera to L'Aquila, when a break of over 50 riders threatened to overturn the race completely...

The Gordon Arms Trophy 2007

The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even overshoes the choice for many riders too.

World Famous Photographer John Pierce’s Favourite British Track Stars

He’s at it again – more pictures! This time John Pierce has sent us some of his favourite images of British track stars of the present and recent past; we hope you like them as much as we do.

Grenoble Six Day 2010, Night Four – Good Morale at the Track

"Dirk, you're working on the bikes early today," says me at the Grenoble Six Day 2010. "Yes, I must finish early so I can watch the darts on BBC TV in my camper van!" I didn't expect that answer," says me. "Yes, I must finish early so I can watch the darts on BBC TV in my camper van!" I didn't expect that answer. He was telling me that the new Look 496 track frame costs in excess of €6,000 and there's a waiting list; they only build to order. They are beautiful though and as Dirk says; 'it's the best bike for the sprint and it's a genuine European product.' It's cool and grey in Grenoble today - and very quiet...

Stephen Williamson – Scottish 100 Mile TT Champion 2015

VeloVeritas has all you need to know about the new Scottish 100 Mile TT Champion; Mr. Stephen Williamson (a3crg) ... The 44 year-old Aerospace Programme Manager is living in Surrey now, but was born in Ayrshire, his family emigrating to South Africa in 1975, where Stephen did all his schooling and education, returning to the UK 23 years later. The course for the 100 was near his birthplace, which was a good reason to target the event...

Grant Ferguson – Third in the U23 MTB World Championships!

It’s that man Ferguson again, not content with winning the last U23 MTB World Cup of the year he’s gone and taken bronze in the U23 Worlds in Andorra – we had to have ANOTHER word or two with him...