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Berlin Six Day 2013 – Day Three

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Saturday at the Berlin Six Day and the first Madison was a ‘potato chase‘ – best expressed as a ‘non-death’ race as the minnows were allowed to pull a lap back here and there. As well as the men who ride behind the big bikes, the crowd’s darlings are the sprinters.

The noise when the crowd roars its’ approval of some fancy bit of speed is deafening – Max Levy was the man turning up the volume with a track record.

Berlin Six Day
The race’s Max Bear mascot. Photo©Ed Hood

He’s a former multiple world junior champion as well as a multiple Worlds and Olympic medallist he’s only 25 but could pass for being well into his 30.

His ‘weapon of choice’ is the new Look, reworked at the head, seat cluster and bracket; it really is a thing of beauty.

Berlin Six Day
Dirk fettles the LOOK. Photo©Ed Hood

The cranks are a one piece assembly; take off the left hand pedal, the bracket lock ring and the whole assembly passes through the bottom bracket shell.

But as one of the mechanics pointed out – if something goes wrong…

Berlin Six Day
Hannah (l) enjoyed her experience in Berlin. Photo©Ed Hood

It was the last night of the Ladies’ Six – I didn’t catch who won, but was impressed by Lancashire lass Hannah Walker just getting over there and riding the race with no fuss, helpers or mechanic.

I was cornered into pushing off in Derny, but it was Franco and we had a chat, so that was cool.

Berlin Six Day
Guy apologises to Erik Zabel for pinching his cap when just a boy years ago. Photo©Ed Hood

Erik Zabel came to call, looking slim and tanned; his retirement was certainly one of the factors in the decline of the German six day scene.

The entertainment was by cult German singer, Frank Zander – imagine Keith Richards trying to sing whilst suffering from a sore throat and you get the picture.

I couldn’t raise the motivation to run the gauntlet of bouncers to get a photo.

Berlin Six Day
The bear again, and that’s an albatross apparently. Photo©Ed Hood

It’s strange at Berlin, you’re there, you have riders, you eat in the same kitchen but somehow you never feel part of anything…

A rare decent music track on the PA – our boys Scottish duo The Proclaimers – raised my spirits, even after the commissaire ordered a re-start of the last Derny at 01:30 in the morning, because Dirk, ‘pushes too early!

I felt like shouting; ‘it’s a Derny race, pal; it’s not going to make one jot of difference to the result – they agreed that five minutes ago!

Anyway, halfway there and there’s a honey beer in the fridge…

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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