2011 Berliner Sechstagerennen - Introduction
by Steve Penny
British 6-Day Correspondent
26 January 2011
The 2011 Edition
The Berlin Six Day has reached a golden milestone with the 100th edition beginning in the German Capital on Thursday. The first ever Berlin Sechstagerennen was held in 1909 and was run twice a year during the 1920s, early 30s, the 50s and 60s. Due to the war it was absent from the calendar between 1935 and 1948 and later from 1991-1996 coinciding with the unification and changing face of the city. The organisation is understandably proud of the achievement and will no doubt aim to make the six days a celebration of this long and rich history. The Berlin Six began in the same year as the first ever Giro d'Italia and predates the Tour of Flanders by four years and races such as the Vuelta, Paris Nice and Ghent-Wevelgem didn't begin until the 1930s. The winners list reflects this long tradition as well as that of English speaking Six Day riders as it was the American pioneers Floyd MacFarland and Jimmy Moran who conquered Europe to win that first 1909 race. In the next year Australian Jack Clark was a winner and he was followed into the history books in 1926 by fellow Aussies Reggie McNamara and Harry Horan. In the early 1950s Alf Strom and Reg Arnold followed suit. From the road, Belgian cycling legends Rik Van Steenbergen, Rik Van Looy (twice each) and Eddie Merckx were all winners across the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Then the greats of Six Day racing, Peter Post (1960s), Patrick Sercu (70-80s) and Danny Clark (80s) dominated the top step of the Berlin podium.
The class of 2011 of course can't compare with the greats of bygone eras, as cycling has changed a lot, but they will aim to put on a worthy spectacle for the 70,000 fans. Those Berlin fans will no doubt also be in celebratory mood but then again Six Day crowds don't normally need any excuse to have a party!!!
Serious Talent from Down Under
As noted Australia has plenty of tradition and no little success in Six day racing but the last winner in Berlin was Danny Clark back in 1988. This year the Berlin organisation has pulled off a major coup by bringing, hot property of track and road, Cameron Meyer to ride in his first ever pro Six Day race.
The Western Australian, who turned 23 a few weeks ago, comes to Berlin having just won the 2011 Tour Down Under for his trade team Garmin-Slipstream, taking the 4th stage victory along the way. Just four weeks into 2011 he has already been crowned National Time Trial Champion on the road and Madison Champion on the track to go with that win in his country's biggest road race. Prior to the Tour Down Under his major wins had all come on the track. In 2010 he dominated the endurance events at the Copenhagen Worlds with storming victories in the Points and Madison, as well as being part of the winning Team Pursuit squad. This followed up his 2009 Points win and silver medals in the Team Pursuit and Madison, on top of these achievements he was a 3 time World Junior Champion back in 2006.
His partner Leigh Howard is perhaps less well known but his palmares is no less impressive. The 21 year old from Waurn Ponds, Victoria is in the second year of his road contract with Team HTC-High Road and partnered with Meyer to the 2010 World and 2011 National Madison titles. He also won the 2009 World Omnium title and was a silver medallist in that relatively new event in 2010 and the 2009 Madison (with Meyer). Unlike Meyer he does have some experience in Six Day races, having started a handful with Glenn O'Shea and was a winner at Under 23 Sixes in 2007 and 2008.
Despite obvious good form and impeccable records at World Championships how they will do in this Six Day is as yet unknown. It will depend on their motivation and ability to adapt to the long hours and up and down, stop start nature of these events. Berlin doesn't have a long programme like Ghent for example and as they know each other very well and already have a stage race in the legs they should be serious contenders for the podium. Whatever happens its going to be exciting to see them resplendent in their World Champions jerseys!!!
The favourites and winners of the season opening Amsterdam Six are German duo Robert Bartko and Roger Kluge, who finished 2nd by the narrowest of margins last year. This season Bartko has been the top rider on the circuit having also won in Zurich (with Hondo) and Bremen (with Bengsch) and he currently tops the UIV Madison rider rankings. His partner Kluge has not ridden a Six Day since Amsterdam last October but has been riding at some of the Track World Cup events and won the European Omnium title last October. The impressive Kluge had a long first season in the Pro-Tour on the road, and was probably a bit over raced in the first half of the season by Milram. After coming back to the track the 24 year old from Cottbus should be refreshed and relishing the opportunity to team with the in form Bartko again.
The team that held off the Germans to the win last winter were Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen and they should be the main challengers to the local combination. After a long, almost non-stop period of track and road racing the 2009 World Madison Champs have raced a lot less this last autumn and winter, just the Ghent Six together where they were not at their best. With the home Copenhagen Six following Berlin and road team training camps in the legs the Danish dynamite should be ready to explode again in the Landsberger Allee Velodrome!!!
Probably the only other team with a realistic chance to win are the first time combination of Franco 'marvellous' Marvulli and long time sprinter/roadman Danilo Hondo. The Swiss track specialist Marvulli has 30 career wins but apart from any early win in Grenoble this has not been his best season so he should be motivated for one of his favourite races. The 37 year old Hondo is not greatly experienced in Six Day racing but won in Zurich and was 3rd in Ghent on his two appearances so far this season. The fact he has always been a strong spring rider means he will come to Berlin in good shape and if they gel his endurance will complement Marvulli's speed well.
With quality Six Day riders becoming scarce as events are lost from the calendar and riders increasingly being drawn to the road it was a surprise to see that two experienced riders Alex Aeschbach and Leon Van Bon didn't make the start list. Those riders have ridden at most races this winter with a win each, Aeschbach in Grenoble (with Marvulli) and Van Bon in Rotterdam (with Stam). One can only assume it was a matter of money as normally these are the kind of proven, reliable riders a promoter would want to make up a peloton.
After getting 3rd last year Six Day strong men Danny Stam and Peter Schep should be close to the front next Tuesday. Veteran Stam has spent the whole winter riding with the missing Van Bon and (as noted in previous writing) he and Schep are not a natural Six Day pairing. Although both are good chasers neither has a sprint and they'll find it hard to clock up points against the top German, Danish and Aussie teams.
Once again Leif Lampater will team with Christian Grasmann and with respect to the Bavarian the classy Lampater deserves a stronger partner at a race he won in 2007. They've had a couple of 4th or 5th places together but have never been close to a win. During the week I asked Leif how things have gone and about any ambitions for Berlin:
"I'm feeling alright but I've just started to get over the cold I got on the 2nd day in Bremen, so I couldn't do that much training on the rollers, as I wanted to finally get rid of it!! I had started the year in really good form as I came into Rotterdam directly from Australia. Just the sickness started in Bremen and it hasn't been too good since, so I will have to see how it is when we get to Berlin. Our chances in Berlin? I think we just have an outside chance for the podium as there are 3 really strong teams".
With Iljo Keisse having his well documented problems Kenny De Ketele is the number one Belgian on the scene and will represent Belgium across the border with his countryman Tim Mertens. Like Lampater the 25 year old from Oudenaarde, East Flanders goes well if he's given the chance to race with a top partner. In Berlin he will probably be tuning his form for the local road season and working on his partnership with Mertens before the World Madison Championship race in March.
A late addition to the Berlin start list is Danish team, Marc Hester and Jens-Erik Madsen. Despite over starts in the past Hester failed to show his full potential and seemed to be just making up the numbers. This season he seems to have more focus. His partner Madsen (no relation to Jimmi) has been part of the Danish Team Pursuit squad and has won World and Olympic medals. His professional approach to track racing may have rubbed off on Hester as when they've raced together they've been in the top half of the standings. On the long 250 metre track and with an eye on the Copenhagen Six they should show well and again finish in the top half of the standings.
The Berlin based Robert Bengsch and Marcel Kalz start on the back of good showings in the last two Berlin Sixes. The 27 year old Bengsch was a late replacement partner with Bartko in Bremen and the pair went onto dominate that Six winning by 2 clear laps. That performance as well as being on home ground will be ample motivation but 5th-8th will be a more realistic target for the Berliners.
One of the few experienced Six Day riders elsewhere in the field is Berlin born Austrian Andreas Muller who will race with the youngster Tino Thomel. I asked Andreas Muller about his recent races, form and coming home to Berlin:
"Rotterdam was hard for me because I was sick before, but it got a little bit better every day and racing with Kenny van Hummel as my team mate it was a good race in all, he is a very cool guy!!! Then Bremen was much better and the form was increasing. Directly after that I have had one week training in Mallorca, so now the form should be good!!!"
"Of course its always something special to race at home, so I'm happy that the race starts in a few days. I know Tino Thomel he is also from Berlin, so will be 100% motivated, and because he was riding for the last few years in the same road team from Berlin as I'd had in the past. He is a very talented road sprinter and so I think we will win some of the small competitions over the six days and of course we will also be looking a little bit at the overall rankings."
The rest of the field features a mix of young German, Swiss, Czech - the pick being European Madison Champions Martin Blaha and Jiri Hochmann - and Russian riders.
Team 1 Robert Bartko (Ger) - Roger Kluge (Ger)
Team 2 Danilo Hondo (Ger) - Franco Marvulli (Swi)
Team 3 Leigh Howard (Aus) - Cameron Meyer (Aus)
Team 4 Alex Rasmussen (Den) - Michael Morkov (Den)
Team 5 Jan Dostal (Cz) - Vojtech Hacecky (Cz)
Team 6 Leif Lampater (Ger) - Christian Grasmann (Ger)
Team 7 Danny Stam (Ned) - Peter Schep (Ned)
Team 8 Marcel Barth (Ger) - Erik Mohs (Ger)
Team 9 Martin Blaha (Cz) - Jiri Hochmann (Cz)
Team 10 Ralf Matzka (Ger) - Theo Reinhardt (Ger)
Team 11 Milan Kadlec (Cz) - Henning Bommel (Ger)
Team 12 Robert Bengsch (Ger) - Marcel Kalz (Ger)
Team 13 Claudio Imhof (Swi) - Silvan Dillier (Swi)
Team 14 Kenny de Ketele (Bel) - Tim Mertens (Ger)
Team 15 Alexei Markow (Rus) - Iwan Kowaljow (Rus)
Team 16 Tino Thomel (Ger) - Andreas Muller (Aut)
Team 17 Benjamin Edmuller (Ger) - Bastian Faltin (Ger)
Team 18 Marc Hester (Den) - Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
2010/2011 Six Day Season:
Amsterdam Bartko / Kluge (Ger)
Grenoble Marvulli (Swi) / Aeschbach (Swi)
Ghent Keisse (Bel) / Schep (Ned)
Zurich Bartko / Hondo (Ger)
Rotterdam Stam / Van Bon (Ned)
Bremen Bartko / Bengsch (Ger)
Stayers and Sprinters
Berlin always allows the Steher (or motor paced racers) and match Sprinters some well deserved spotlight, giving spectators a chance to enjoy almost all the traditional forms of track racing, the exception being the long removed tandem!!!
The Stehers race for 20 minutes every night behind the big motors and this is one of just two Six Day races that give them a chance to shine, the other being Zurich. The former spiritual home of the Stehers was Dortmund's Westfalenhallen but in 2009 not only was the Dortmund Six cancelled but after 72 editions the Boxing Day 'Grosser Weihnachtspreis' (considered the unofficial Steher World Championship) also sadly fell by the wayside. The small band of specialists and pacers plug away on the large outdoor tracks during the summer months around Germany, as well as occasionally in Switzerland, Holland and the UK (at the Herne Hill Good Friday meeting), in front of small but appreciative and knowledgeable crowds.
The sprinters race a Flying Lap, a Match Sprint and the Team Sprint each and every night. The current World Team Sprint Champions are Germans Maximilian Levy, Stefan Nimke and Robert Forstemann and all start in their capital city. Germany has always been a strong nation for sprinters, especially in the old East where many of the spectators come from and the big men of cycling will look to put on a show and get some competition in before the World Championships in Holland.
2011 Berliner Sechstagerennen - Golden Night (3) Saturday
by Steve Penny
British 6-Day Correspondent
30 January 2011
The 100th Berliner Sechstage Rennen started on Thursday and already big gaps have appeared as the top teams started the fight that will conclude in the hour long Madison on Tuesday night. As reported it is unlikely that the winners will come from outside of 3 or 4 teams and after the first 2 nights it seems that list is actually down to 3. As expected Bartko / Kluge and Rasmussen / Morkov are setting the pace but the Australian World Madison Champions Meyer and Howard are more than holding their own. The other 'top' team Marvulli / Hondo don't appear to be going so well but things can change.
Standings at 1.15 a.m. 29 January 2011:
1. Rasmussen - Morkov 105 points
at 1 lap:
2. Bartko - Kluge 115
3. Howard - Meyer 77
at 2 laps:
4. Hondo - Marvulli 71
5. Stam - Schep 49
6. Bengsch - Kalz 14
at 3 laps:
7. Lampater - Grasmann 50
8. De Ketele - Mertens 39
at 4 laps
9. Blaha - Hochmann 23
at 5 laps:
10. Barth - Mohs 68
11. Thomel - Muller 33
at 6 laps:
12. Hester - Madsen 47
13. Kadlec - Bommel 16
at 7 laps:
14. Matzka - Reinhardt 27
at 8 laps:
15. Imhoff - Dillier 19
16. Dostal - Hacecky 5
at 9 laps:
17. Markow - Kowaljow 2
at 10 laps:
18. Edmuller - Faltin 5
View From the Track
After last nights racing the Danish team Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov sat one lap clear of the field. With Rasmussen signing for HTC-High Road to focus more on the road in 2011 it seemed that this might be one of the last times we'd see the 2009 World Champions together at a Six Day race, for the foreseeable future at least. That isn't the case though and one half of the Danish Dynamite, Michael Morkov, was able to set the record straight and give me some thoughts on the race so far and the outcome:
"Alex and I have agreed that we will continue the 6-days together and we hope our road programmes can fit in another 3 or 4 6-day races next winter.
Right now I'm feeling really well and we're on the top of the GC after a good performance yesterday. Alex is also going fine too, so I would say our chances for the win are pretty big at the moment. For sure it will be difficult to keep the lap ahead, but yesterday we showed our strength and we know that we are capable of winning. This has been satisfying both to have the chance to take another victory here in Berlin but especially as we have our eyes on next weeks home race in Copenhagen.
The Berlin Six is the event with the highest number of people watching, but having said that, it's definitely not here that the riders are earning the salary of their lives!!!"
After winning the Tour Down Under and just turning 23 the 4 time World Track Champion Cameron Meyer from Western Australia is riding his first Six Day. Before Saturdays racing I asked him how it was going in his first Six and about his plans for the coming months:
"It's certainly different!!!"
"After the Tour Down Under I'm just getting used the small gears but I'm feeling ok. As for actual winning that is going to be difficult as Kluge and Rasmussen are really fast, and strong. Riding this event is very different from one of a World or National Championship Madison race when we just max out for 60 minutes. Also we'd ride much bigger gears in a championship Madison than we are here so yeah all in all its going ok."
"After this race I'm going to do the Tour of Oman on the road and then it's into a 4 week training camp with the national track team to really focus on preparation for the Track Worlds in Holland."
Celebrating the 100th Berlin Six
The organisation is honouring the history of their 100th event and all members of the organisation are resplendent in retro suits with what I'd call plus fours (long socks and trousers just reaching below the knees). As the Berlin Six prides itself on being first and foremost about the sport they are nightly presenting former winners and prominent local cyclists. Tonight it was the turn of Erik Zabel and of course the Tour Green jersey winner is a rider most people are familiar with. The other local cycling personality was Klaus Bugdahl and he received no lesser an ovation. He is not as well known to German fans but the 76 year old is the leading German in both Six Day starts having 228, and 37 wins. The Berliner also holds the record for wins here in Berlin having 9 victories in a long career as his wins came across 3 decades; the first was in 1958 and the last 1970.
Saturdays Racing - Aussies On Top after 3 Nights
There are a few changes to the race programme and after a leg stretching point's race the riders went straight into a 100 lap Madison. The leaders kept their powder dry in this one as Peter Schep won the battle of the 'none sprinters' from de Ketele and Lampater, the 3 teams finishing a lap clear of the field.
The Derny racing was not as popular here as it is in Ghent for example, but it remains very much part of any Six-Day race. The riders from each team do 30 laps each here and tonight's early race, for the top 9 teams, was won by Berliners Marcel Kalz and Robert Bengsch.
There was only one Elimination race (or Devil) and it's for teams. As one would expect with so few races in the programme, the top teams didn't hold back and Bartko / Kluge and Rasmussen / Morkov set a blistering pace that burnt off the others one by one. In the final sprint Rasmussen showed he is fit and in form by out sprinting Kluge to set a marker for the next few days, as well as consolidating the lead.
The big rendezvous of the night was the 45 minute Madison and the closing laps brought the 11,000+ crowd to its feet after Bartko / Kluge, Howard / Meyer and Marvulli / Hondo pulled a lap clear of the field. No doubt mindful of the finishing speed of Kluge the Australian team got a gap of about 20-25 metres with 3 laps to race. Meyer took a big turn and as he threw in Howard they still had a big gap but with the crowd whistling and cheering him on Kluge made a charge only for Howard to just hold him off by a bike length on the line. In 3rd place Marvulli / Hondo at least stayed in contention but Marvulli looked like he was working very hard. It was worthwhile though as the effort put them close to a bonus lap and the Swiss / German combo could yet come alive. The Danish Dynamite kept their powder dry and finished a lap behind.
The win took Howard / Meyer over 100 points and gave them the overall lead as midnight approached.
The last big race for the endurance riders was the 1,000 Metre Time Trial (TT) and Kluge / Bartko won this one in 56.300. The big surprise was that Rasmussen / Morkov finished outside of the points and one can only hope that neither has got sick or injured during the evening as before racing (as reported above) both were feeling good
The closing races saw local wins in the Points race for Kalz / Bengsch and the Dernys (for the bottom half of the standings) for Andreas Muller / Thomel, sending the crowd home happy.
Official Standings at 1.31 a.m. - Sunday 30/01:
1. Howard - Meyer 105 points
at 1 lap:
2. Bartko - Kluge 170
3. Rasmussen - Morkov 149
4. Hondo - Marvulli 101
at 2 laps:
5. Stam - Schep 76
at 3 laps
6. Lampater - Grasmann 70
7. De Ketele - Mertens 63
8. Bengsch - Kalz 56
at 6 laps
9. Barth - Mohs 113
10. Blaha - Hochmann 29
at 7 laps:
11. Hester - Madsen 64
12. Thomel - Muller 50
at 9 laps:
13. Kadlec - Bommel 20
at 10 laps:
14. Imhoff - Dillier 33
at 11 laps:
15. Matzka - Reinhardt 47
at 13 laps:
16. Markow - Kowaljow 15
17. Edmuller - Faltin 14
18. Dostal - Hacecky 7
Sprinters and Stehers
The reason the main Six Day programme is much shorter here is because of the sprint and steher (motor-paced) races. Those events are separate from the Six Day race but the riders are competing for a prize as best Sprinter and Steher.
The leading Sprinter after 3 nights is Maximilian Levy, the 23 year old from Cottbus, a member of the German 2010 World Team Sprint Championship winning team. He leads his fellow team sprinters Stefan Nimke and Robert Forstemann who are contributing to pleasing the crowd.
The leading Stehers after 3 nights are the Swiss/Italian Giuseppe Atzeni, who is the reigning European Champion, and Timo Scholz. The 38 year old Scholz from Leipzig has taken the mantle as Berlin crowd favourite from the great Berlin Steher Carsten Podlesch who retired a few years ago.
2011 Berliner Sechstagerennen - Familientag (4) Sunday
by Steve Penny
31 January 2011
Sundays at German Sixes are always 'family day' and the programme of sport and entertainment is held during the afternoon rather than in the evening / night. On a relatively mild Berlin winter afternoon numerous local families came to the Landsberger Allee Velodrome to celebrate the past, present and future in the 100th running of their Six Day race.
Before racing begins a Berlin tradition is to introduce to the crowd any current World and European Champions in endurance, sprints or motor-pace. It's a nice touch and gives the individuals some extra spotlight. The class of 2010 includes World Champs Cameron Meyer, Leigh Howard, Maximilian Levy, Alex Rasmussen, Stefan Nimke, Robert Forstemann and European Champs Roger Kluge, Martin Blaha / Jiri Hochmann (Madison), Giuseppe Atzeni (steher) and Denis Dmitrijew (sprint),
Sundays Racing - World Champions Still On Top
The race programme kicked off with a series of Sprints won by Kalz and Bengsch who are again giving a good account of themselves on their home track. The riders went straight into a short Derny race which in traditional crowd pleasing style was a nip and tuck battle to the line between Hondo and Bartko, and it was Hondo (and his partner Marvulli) whose day it was to take the bouquet and applause.
The big chase of the afternoon began at 13:45 (local time) and was a 45 minute Madison. The leading 3 teams appeared to be marking each other well. Bartko was certainly covering Rasmussen / Morkov and it was only when Meyer / Howard got a gap that they called a truce and chased the Australians down together. With the fun and games going on behind Lampater / Grasmann, Stam / Schep, De Ketele / Mertens and Kalz / Bengsch gained a lap on the field. In the final sprint Lampater held off a late rush from Kenny De Ketele for the coveted chase win.
The overall standings are starting to look a bit more interesting as five teams are now within a lap of the leaders Meyer / Howard. As they did at this stage last year Dutchmen Danny Stam and Peter Schep are creeping quietly towards their first bonus lap that will take them close to the top although with a limited points count they'd still have to gain laps and put in the ride of their lives to win this Six.
After a rest with some live music, the riders had to up the tempo again in the Team Elimination where Marvulli and Hondo continued their improvement. Ever the showman, Marvulli is riding in his 100th Six, but without the great Bruno Risi, he has found wins more difficult to come by this season.
The Sunday programme was fairly loaded during the first 3 hours as the riders got back on the track to race the 100 lap Madison. This one proved to be another stalemate between the top teams and this time it was Marcel Barth and Erik Mohs who took advantage to take a rare Madison win ahead of Czechs Blaha / Hochmann.
With the big chases of the day out of the way the riders had plenty of rest time during the rest of the afternoon. The only remaining bunch race was a Point's race that was another success in the lesser races for Kalz / Bengsch, the latter showing he is still in great form after partnering Bartko for his biggest win ever, at the Bremen Six.
The 1000 metre Time Trials have been dominated by Bartko / Kluge and today was no exception as they motored to another victory in 56.565. They are now fairly close to a bonus lap and once over 200 points they will be the clear leaders.
Closing the afternoon programme was a Derny race for the bottom half of the standings, the winners being Russians Markov and Kowaljov.
The overnight leaders Meyer / Howard are still in 1st place and well on course for a podium place in their first Six Day race together. The good news from them is that Leigh Howard is doing fine despite reports that he was suffering with a 'saddle area' problem. The Victoria rider assured me that it's not going to be a problem... the secret cure is, according to Leigh, "drinking lots of cranberry juice!!!"
After a hard fought afternoon of racing the riders can now enjoy 24 hours of well earned rest before the battle recommences tomorrow night.
View from the Track
After limited rest the riders don't really want to chat on a Sunday afternoon even a rider who is usually in good spirits. Kenny De Ketele reflected this general mood:
"Argh Sundays at a Six are not good, everyone is really tired. After we finished last night we eat so you can't go to sleep on a full stomach, so today we've probably only had about 6 hours sleep. Then we've got to stay awake until much later as of course if we sleep too early we'll be awake to early!!!
The racing this year is really, really fast. Bartko especially is so strong. The Danes are also good and it's going to be a big fight between them and Bartko / Kluge with the World Champions as outsiders, although they are really strong too. Me and Tim are going ok. We're in Copenhagen next week and then like many of the others we will prepare for the Worlds."
Official Standings at 17.45 - Sunday 30/01:
1. Howard - Meyer 126 points
at 1 lap:
2. Bartko - Kluge 183
3. Rasmussen - Morkov 154
4. Hondo - Marvulli 137
5. Lampater - Grasmann 104
6. Stam - Schep 97
at 2 laps
7. Bengsch - Kalz 92
8. De Ketele - Mertens 78
at 5 laps
9. Barth - Mohs 144
10. Blaha - Hochmann 48
at 6 laps:
11. Thomel - Muller 79
at 7 laps:
12. Hester - Madsen 77
at 10 laps:
13. Kadlec - Bommel 30
at 11 laps:
14. Imhoff - Dillier 57
at 12 laps:
15. Matzka - Reinhardt 63
at 14 laps:
16. Markow - Kowaljow 25
17. Edmuller - Faltin 22
at 15 laps:
18. Dostal - Hacecky 19
Berlin Night (5) Monday
by Steve Penny
01 February 2011
Bartko / Kluge on top setting up Grandstand finish
After a fairly uneventful Sunday afternoon Monday nights racing saw the battle really intensify in this the 100th Berlin Six Day. On top of the standings are local favourites Robert Bartko and Roger Kluge, but hot on their heels are the Danes Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov. Both these teams gained bonus laps on Monday but the two teams behind them are still very much in the hunt. In 3rd are Franco Marvulli and Danilo Hondo followed by world Champions Leigh Howard and Cameron Meyer from Australia. If both these teams reach 200 points before Tuesdays final Madison, and that looks likely, they will in effect hold a clear lap lead. Whether or not that will be enough if the German and Danish teams really go on the attack remains to be seen. Either way the organisation will be pleased that they have four strong teams still in with a great chance of the prestigious victory.
Standings at 01.38 - Tuesday 01 February 2011:
1. Bartko - Kluge 247 points
2. Rasmussen - Morkov 222
3. Hondo - Marvulli 187
4. Howard - Meyer 177
5. Stam - Schep 121
at 2 laps
6. Lampater - Grasmann 117
7. Bengsch - Kalz 109
at 3 laps:
8. De Ketele - Mertens 94
at 6 laps
9. Blaha - Hochmann 52
10. Barth - Mohs 159
11. Thomel - Muller 111
at 9 laps:
12. Hester - Madsen 87
2011 Berliner Sechstagerennen - Final Day (6) Tuesday
by Steve Penny
02 February 2011
Bartko and Kluge Win Close Berlin Six
With the winter temperature dropping day by day in the city of Berlin at the 100th Sechstage Rennen the temperature is heading in the opposite direction. The heat was really turned up last night and the temperature kept rising during the final nights racing in the Landsberger Allee velodrome.
With points gained during the opening Sprints race counting towards the overall classification the top teams got involved and they all improved their totals. The Dane Rasmussen looked especially strong at that point in time.
The team Elimination was the second opportunity of the evening for Rasmussen to look like he was the quickest man on this 250 metre track, taking an important 20 points for his team ahead of Kluge.
The Derny Final was another crowd pleaser, these races are not usually important to the standings although the leading teams picked up a point or two. The win went too Danny Stam and Peter Schep.
The last 1,000 metre Time Trial saw a magnificent performance from Marcel Kalz and Robert Bengsch who posted a time of 56:08.
The last race before the big showdown was a Points race won by Barth and Mohs.
Finale - 60 Minute Madison
The final Madison looked for a long time like we would see a re-run of last years battle between Bartko / Kluge and Rasmussen / Morkov. Despite a couple of digs from Danny Stam and Peter Schep the top 5 teams went into the final 50 lap's level and the race looked like it would go down to the bonus sprints. After taking 2nd to Rasmussen in the evenings earlier races Kluge beat the Dane to both of the first two bonus sprints and looked to have set up his team for the victory.
It wasn't so clear cut though, with 27 laps of the 250 metre track remaining, Leigh Howard went off the front and he and Cameron Meyer took out half a lap very quickly. The response eventually came from Kluge / Bartko who got away from the rest of the field and this year Rasmussen / Morkov could not respond, relegating them to 3rd place. With about 20 laps to go the World Champions took their lap and held the lead, but roared on by the crowd, Bartko / Kluge metre by metre closed on the back of the field with the Australians now driving at the front of the bunch. It was at this point last year that Bartko / Kluge started to fade and eventually lost the race by one lap. A year on though they looked stronger and with the crowd on its feet they kept coming to finally make the junction with around 7 laps to go, thus securing their 'home win'.
It was by no means handed to them on a plate and the impressive Howard and Meyer made sure that they had to work hard all the way, just the way it should be.
What they said:
Cameron Meyer (2nd) - "We made a good move and got a good gap so we thought we had a chance as it took Kluge and Bartko a while to chase, but once they did we had to get to front and chase. In the end they were too strong and had too many points, Robert and Roger were the strongest guys in this race and they thoroughly deserved their win. We're not disappointed though as we are new to the Six Days and I think in the future we're going to be hungry to come back to Berlin and win and I think there is more to come from us in the Sixes as I enjoyed the experience and the atmosphere here was fantastic."
Alex Rasmussen (3rd) - We went all out to try and win the sprints, we didn't get them and had no energy left to chase at the end and they (Bartko / Kluge) were just going too fast. We certainly were not saving ourselves for Copenhagen as we went all out for those early sprints but it didn't work. It shows having a great crowd behind you somehow gives you that extra bit of energy!!!"
Michael Morkov (3rd) - "Last year we had to go for the lap to win. This time our tactic was to wait and chase the points in the sprints, but they were better than us (in the sprints) and better at getting the laps!!!"
Leigh Howard (2nd) - "It was only my 4th Six Day so I was on a learning curve here, even more so for Cameron as it was his first Six. These are the sort of events where experience plays a big part so for us... we had to rely on our strength rather than Six Day experience. We did get stronger as this Six Day went on though."
Final Standings at 00.15 - Wednesday 02/02:
1. Bartko - Kluge 315 points
2. Howard - Meyer 208
at 1 lap:
3. Rasmussen - Morkov 278
4. Hondo - Marvulli 205
5. Stam - Schep 139
at 3 laps
6. Lampater - Grasmann 135
7. De Ketele - Mertens 106
at 4 laps:
8. Bengsch - Kalz 119
at 9 laps
9. Blaha - Hochmann 54
at 10 laps:
10. Barth - Mohs 190
11. Thomel - Muller 115
at 13 laps:
12. Hester - Madsen 96
at 15 laps:
13. Kadlec - Bommel 54
at 16 laps:
14. Imhoff - Dillier 76
at 18 laps:
15. Matzka - Reinhardt 90
at 21 laps:
16. Markow - Kowaljow 31
at 22 laps:
17. Edmuller - Faltin 26
at 23 laps:
18. Dostal - Hacecky 28
Sprinters and Stehers
The leading Sprinter of the week was Robert Forstemann who took the Berlin trophy ahead of Maximilian Levy. Both are part of the 2010 World Team Sprint Championship winning team and they'll now be focusing on retaining that title, as well as the sprint and keirin, in Apeldoorn, Holland in two months time.
The winner of the Steher prize was Timo Scholz from Leipzig. This event entertains the crowd but this style of racing needs a much bigger track and so these races are really exhibitions, albeit run off at speeds of 60kph.