Introduction

by Steve Penny
British 6-Day Correspondent
Watford, UK
22 January 2012

101st Berliner Sechstagerennen - The 2012 Edition

The Berlin Six Day reached a golden milestone last January with its 100th edition, and the annual festivities will return to the German Capital for the 101st time on Thursday.

Unfortunately Six-day racing continues to be in decline and it's not something that can solely be laid at the door of the global economy rather just a sad fact of life that times change. Events have in recent years left established Six-day cities such as Dortmund, Munich and Stuttgart, lack of sponsors and public interest being the main factors. So in 2012 it is left too Bremen and Berlin to fly the Six-day flag for Germany. As well as events riders come and go and many who created the spectacle and excitement over the last 10-15 years - Bruno Risi, Kurt Betschart, Silvio Martinello, Marco Villa, Matt Gilmore, Scott McGrory, Jimmi Madsen and Robert Slippens - have all retired. Others like Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen seem to have left track racing behind to the draw of the road and commitment to trade team contracts.

One of the best riders left in the Six-day peloton is Robert Bartko and he won't be on the start line following a dispute with the Berlin organisation over the terms of his contract. That and the fairly thin field is testament to the fact that even this great event is under pressure. But with or without Bartko the show goes on and 32 riders will race too nowhere around the 250 metre long boards inside the Landsberger Allee Velodrome. The quality and composition of the field is, like it has been at all this winters Sixes, a mixed bag and there are very few riders who now race at all Sixes. In the past there was what they called 'the blue train' but that seems, like Munich and Dortmund, to be a thing of the past. It's not all doom and gloom though as the riders who are present will be motivated to put on a show and compete to the best of their varying abilities.

Here is a look at the starting field:

The Favourites
Without the aforementioned Robert Bartko in the field, his partner in victory last year Roger Kluge starts his first Six-day of the winter with Leif Lampater as his 'new' team mate. The talent of Kluge is undoubted and his ultimate goal for 2012 will be a medal in the London Olympic Omnium. That new and generally unpopular championship event is very difficult for most Six-day riders to be competitive in; Kluge does have the speed, strength and endurance to make a real go of it, although it is still something of a lottery. Whatever the outcome, once the Olympics are over you'd suspect that Kluge will concentrate more on the road and like Morkov and Rasmussen will be another talent lost for most of the winter Six-day circuit. In Berlin though as the home team, and with the main sponsors name on their jersey, he and Lampater will be expected to bring home the bacon. The quiet but talented Lampater won here in 2007 with Guido Fulst and will be motivated having the speedy Kluge at his side. He doesn't have the strength of Bartko though and the mantle of favourites will pass over to another team this year.

That team are, World Madison Champions Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard, who like Kluge will be entering there one and only Six-day race this winter, in fact it is only the 2nd of Meyer's career. Last year in his first ever Six, Meyer and his partner Leigh Howard pushed the strong Bartko-Kluge team all the way to the finish taking 2nd place. This time around despite the lack of Six-day experience they look like the class riders of the field. Their talent and road strength, honed back home at the Tour Down Under, should be enough to see them competitive. To prove the point they recently cruised to victory on the track in the Australian Madison championship. The lack of top riders in the field sees them stand out like a beacon and they'll be keen to put on a strong, and winning, performance in their World Champions jerseys. Ultimately they'll be looking to retain the jerseys for the 3rd consecutive year on home soil in Melbourne during early April.

Probably the only other team with a realistic shot at the victory are European Madison champs Iljo Keisse and Kenny de Ketele. The Belgians both have Six-day victories this winter although none together, Keisse was in especially good form winning in Amsterdam, Grenoble and Zurich but was only 4th and 3rd in Rotterdam and Bremen. The Ghent winner de Ketele hasn't ridden in either of the last two races but will surely arrive in good shape after riding at some track World Cups. He and Keisse would be a strong team at most Sixes but on this 250 metre track it may be difficult for them to match the strength of Kluge, Meyer or Howard. A place on the podium is certainly up for grabs though.

Farewell to Danny Stam

At 39 years old, Danny Stam is ending a great career on the boards of Europe and the world, next month in Copenhagen. The 'little diesel', as he is known, has won 16 Six-day races with 11 of those coming with his friend and fellow Dutchman Robert Slippens. A relative late comer to the Six-day scene he didn't really establish himself as one of the top guys until he won the Amsterdam Six, with Slippens, in 2003 at the age of 31. Over the next few years he and Slippens became challengers at every race and that form culminated in a remarkable run in January / February of 2006 when they won in Rotterdam, Bremen, Berlin and Copenhagen. That same summer Slippens had a terrible crash that ultimately ended his career although he did briefly come back in 2008 partnering Stam to victories in Amsterdam and at the less prestigious Zuidlaren Six. But he was forced to retire and since then despite victories with Risi, Keisse, Lampater, Schep and last year in Rotterdam with Leon van Bon you feel it wasn't quite the same for him racing without Robbie Slippens.

This will be the last German Six for Danny Stam and the winner in 2006 is paired with fellow countryman Peter Schep who is having a great 2012 so far winning in both Rotterdam (with Wim Stroetinga) and Bremen (with Bartko). At both those races he was with faster men than Stam. It's always been the case when these two are paired together that the lack of a sprint means they struggle to gain points and bonus laps. Also being in decline Stam will probably find the going tough on the long straights of the 250 metre track. Who knows with the appreciative crowds that flock in night after night I'm sure he'll get a wonderful send off and with an in form Schep, may be inspired for one last podium push.

Other Podium Contenders

Franco 'marvellous' Marvulli appeared to be in premature decline over the previous year or so, but he seems to have re-found his form and enthusiasm winning in Zurich and taking 2nd in both Rotterdam and Bremen. Berlin is one of his favourite races and this year he is paired with 21 year old Swiss hopeful Silvan Dillier who has shown well at a couple of Sixes this winter. They could be the surprise package as Dillier is fast and the veteran Marvulli, with over 100 career starts and 31 wins, will probably leave the sprinting to the younger man saving his energy for the chases. If they go well here who knows they could become a new Swiss team on the block!!!

The Berlin based Robert Bengsch and Marcel Kalz have been reunited based on their good showings at the last three Berlin Sixes. The 24 year old Kalz comes into his hometown on the back of his best ever result, a 2nd place in Bremen with Franco Marvulli. After winning his first Six-day in Bremen last year (with Bartko) Bengsch has had more starts this season but hasn't yet shown that same form. The motivation of this being, Berlin could make a difference and he and Kalz will look to improve on their 2009, 2010 and 2011 showings by pushing for the podium in 2012.

Elsewhere

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 a few experienced riders such as Marc Hester and Christian Grasmann didn't make the start list. It was especially surprising to see the Dane, Hester, wasn't a starter as he has had his best ever winter. Without them and the likes of Hondo and as mentioned Bartko, Morkov and Rasmussen much of the field is an unknown quantity. There are some familiar names many in national pairings with an eye on Aprils Worlds.

The 2011 World Madison silver medallists Martin Blaha and Jiri Hochmann from the Czech Republic should do reasonably well on the longer track whilst finding form for the World Championships in Melbourne.

Berlin born Austrian national team rider Andreas Muller is paired with his Austrian national team partner Andreas Graf. Like the Czechs, and a number of other teams, they will be using the week to work on their Madison skills for Melbourne. That said Muller will want to show well when he can as he was born just a short walk from this velodrome and Berlin remains his home city.

The veteran Alex Aeschbach gets a start after surprisingly again being overlooked at Bremen and Rotterdam. He has some pedigree but as he is paired with Polish rider Rafal Ratajczyk; he'll just be keeping the peloton together rather than going for wins, unless Ratajczyk can produce the performance of his life.

Another Berliner is Henning Bommel who as part of the German track squad will be at home on this particular track. His partner is Belgian Tim Mertens who is another solid track rider. Their goal will be just to try and finish in the top 10 and pick up a few wins in the lesser races on the weeks programme.

The German pair Marcel Barth and Erik Mohs are both still only 25 but have a number of Six-day starts between them. This year Barth got a few starts outside of Germany but hasn't shown he has the potential to ever be a challenger. On the other hand Mohs came onto the scene strongly around 2006-2007 and appeared to have a big future, but after aiming for a road career has since returned to the track but has not re-established himself as a potential podium rider.

For the first time in many years there is an American team on the start line which in itself is an achievement. But the pairing of Jackie Simes and Brad Huff will be licking there wounds after taking a pasting in Bremen where they lost 28 and 29 laps with German partners while finishing 10th and 12th (last) respectively. The more interesting, and better known to Six-day students of the two is 23 year old Jackie Simes IV, to give him his full name. His dad Jack Simes III rode in 11 Six-day races in the early 1970s and is the man behind the latest attempt to bring Six-day racing to New York City. The younger Simes was drifting around the under-23 races in Europe for a few years and is now attempting to make the break through into the pro ranks.

The Italians Fabio Masotti and Angelo Ciccone have been around the track scene for a long time but neither has much in the way of wins or Six-day appearances to report on. They are with all due respect yet cheap contract to make up the numbers and add another 'national' team to the start list.

Two German teams help round out the field, Bjorn Schroder and Tino Thomel from Berlin are one, the other being another Berliner Theo Reinhardt with Ralf Matzka. The latter pair had some international results as juniors but whether they can translate that to the senior ranks remains to be seem.

Last but not least are unknown Russians Valeri Kaikow and Leonid Krasnow. The Russian track team is now coached by Former East German, Heiko Salzwedel who worked successfully with the British, Danish and Australian teams in the past. One assumes that is the reason the Russians are here, plus it's another 'national' team something that the organisers seem to like.

Start List:

2011/2012 Six Day Season:

Amsterdam - Kiesse (Bel) / Terpstra (Ned)
Grenoble - Kiesse (Bel) / Kneisky (Fra)
Ghent - De Ketele (Bel) / Bartko (Ger)
Zurich (4 Days) - Marvulli (Swi) / Kiesse (Bel)
Rotterdam - Schep / Stroetinga (Ned)
Bremen - Bartko (Ger) / Schep (Ned

Stehers, Sprinters and Ladies

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!!!

This year the organisers have added ladies racing to the programme which is a unique concept in itself.

The Stehers race for 20 minutes every night behind the big motors and this is one of just 2 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 Germany and that team, Maximilian Levy, Stefan Nimke and Rene Enders start. They along with Robert Forstemann, who was in the 2010 World Champion team, will be vying for places on the team and honing form for the World Championships before their ultimate goal the London Olympics.

Many of the spectators come from the former East Germany which always had strong sprinters so the big men of cycling are appreciated in Berlin and will be looking to put on a show, plus get in some useful competition before what is a massive year ahead.

The ladies programme is at the time of writing is unknown but the field is comprised of German national riders and younger riders from Briton and Poland looking to establish themselves internationally.


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Golden Night (3) Saturday

by Steve Penny
British 6-Day Correspondent
Berlin, DE
29 January 2012

The 101st Berliner Sechstage Rennen started on Thursday and according to reports the crowds have been down a little on last night. On the track big gaps have already appeared as the top 5 teams have started the fight that will conclude in the final hour long Madison on Tuesday night. In his last German Six, Danny Stam is out of the running as his partner Peter Schep fell breaking his collarbone on the opening night. That's a shame for Schep of course, but also for the race, as he and Stam would have expected to be among the leaders.

Standings at 1.39 a.m. 28 January 2012:

1. Keisse - de Ketele (Bel) 86 points
at 1 lap:
2. Marvulli - Dillier 93
3. Howard - Meyer 90
4. Bengsch - Kalz 86
5. Lampater - Kluge 81
at 2 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 43
at 5 laps:
7. Graf - Muller 15
at 6 laps
8. Bommel - Mertens 46
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 20
at 7 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 30
11. Blaha - Hochmann 7
at 9 laps:
12. Schroder - Thomel 19
13. Masotti (Ita) - Angelo Ciccone 17
14. Huff - Simes 9
at 10 laps:
15. Stam - Schep 10
at 12 laps:
16. Kaikow - Krasnow 3

As expected the Australian World Madison Champions Meyer and Howard are going well as are the Belgians Iljo Keisse and Kenny de Ketele, looking for their first Six-day win together, local favourites Kluge - Lampater and fellow Germans Kalz - Bengsch. The dark horses may well be Franco Marvulli and his talented 21 year old Swiss partner Silvan Dillier.

Saturdays Racing

To confirm again first hand, the crowds are down but they are still out in force and when it matters, and they definitely are still making themselves heard!!! (The noise was actually quite deafening at times when the Germans were breaking for laps during the madison events. - Eugene)

After the traditional leg stretching point's race the riders went straight into a 30 minute Madison which was the first of two chases tonight. To the delight of the home crowd the winners were the German champions, Marcel Kalz and Robert Bengsch. The win took them to the top of the standings a few points ahead of Keisse / de Ketele and a full lap clear of more favoured teams, Lampater / Kluge and Howard / Meyer. After showing well in the first two or three days in 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Berlin pair have faded towards the end of the six days. This year they'll be looking to stay competitive and go for the victory on Tuesday night.

The Derny racing is not as popular here as it is at my other Six in Ghent, but it remains very much part of any Six-day race. Tonight they kicked off with a popular win for Roger Kluge.

The Team Elimination race, (or Devil as its known in English speaking in cycling circles) saw the young Germans Ralf Matzka and Theo Reinhardt take a morale-boosting win in front of their capital city fans.

The big chase of the night was a 45 minute Madison. The closing laps brought the volume of the crowd to a peak as Kluge - Lampater took a double lap with around 10 minutes to race. Within the closing laps, Howard - Meyer and Marvulli - Dillier tried desperately to get that lap back. The Aussies conceded with about a lap to go, but Dillier kept trying all the way to the finish and failed to make the junction, missing out by a few metres.

The win took the local matadors Kluge and Lampater back to the top of the leader board as Saturday night entered Sunday morning.

Official Standings at 1:40 - Saturday 29/01:

1. Keisse - de Ketele 137 points
2. Lampater - Kluge 136
3. Bengsch - Kalz 131
at 1 lap:
4. Marvulli -Dillier 138
5. Howard - Meyer 123
at 5 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 51
at 8 laps:
7. Graf - Muller 17
at 9 laps
8. Bommel - Mertens 65
at 10 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 53
at 11 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 45
at 12 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 16
at 13 laps:
12. Masotti (Ita) - Angelo Ciccone 27
13. Schroder - Thomel 26
14. Huff - Simes 20
at 18 laps:
16. Kaikow - Krasnow 9
neutralized: Peter Schep (Ned), Jiri Hochmann (Cze)


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Familientag (4) Sunday

by Steve Penny
29 January 2012

Sundays at German Sixes are and have always been 'family day' when the programme of sport and entertainment is held during the afternoon rather than in the evening or night. On a cold wind chilled winter afternoon, local families came along to the Landsberger Allee Velodrome to enjoy the racing and pass on the tradition from one generation to the next. The race programme kicked off with a series of Sprints won by Kalz - Bengsch who are looking like the real deal this time around and should continue to challenge for a podium place.

The riders went straight into a Derny race, which in traditional 'crowd pleasing' style, was a nip and tuck battle to the line between Cameron Meyer and Iljo Keisse, with the Australian holding off the Belgian for the win and to take the bouquet and applause.

The big 45 minute Madison of the afternoon session began early at 13:20 (local time) and found the top five teams in no mood for a relaxing Sunday ride. The World Champions Howard - Meyer showed strongly throughout and along with the team of Marvulli - Dillier, finshed a lap clear of the other favourites. The Swiss team took the win and went to the top of the standings, with Franco Marvulli looking like he is enjoying it again with his fast, youthful countryman. Team number one Lampater - Kluge tried on more than one occasion to go clear but where chased down by the Australians, Swiss and a strong looking Keisse - de Ketele.

After a rest during some family entertainment, the riders lower on the standings got a chance to shine when Ratajczyk - Aeschbach took the Team Elimination from the merged team of Danny Stam and Martin Blaha. After the excitement of the earlier chase, the 30 minute Madison proved to be something of a stalemate between the top teams, as this one went to Berliner Andreas Muller and (Austrian) Andreas Graf in a close sprint from Matzka - Reinhardt.

The standings after 4 days are tight at the top and 5 teams are still in contention to win the 101st Berlin Six on Tuesday night. The obvious favourites on paper would be Howard - Meyer who seem strong but will that lack of Six-day experience work against them before the end? The 'home team of Lampater - Kluge appear strong and they and Keisse - de Ketele appear the most likely to push the Australians all the way. The dark horses are Marvulli - Dillier, but they still appear strong and primed to spring a surprise. After a fall today the condition of Marcel Kalz is unclear and how well he and Robert Bengsch will finish the race in the heat of the finale chase is still a mystery.

Official Standings - at 17.45 - Sunday 29 January 2012:

1. Marvulli -Dillier 169 points
2. Keisse - de Ketele 155
3. Bengsch - Kalz 151
4. Howard - Meyer 150
5. Lampater - Kluge 148
at 6 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 70
at 8 laps:
7. Graf - Muller 41
at 9 laps
8. Bommel - Mertens 84
at 10 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 70
at 11 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 88
at 12 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 47
at 15 laps:
12. Masotti (Ita) - Angelo Ciccone 40
13. Schroder - Thomel 33
14. Huff - Simes 29
at 22 laps:
15. Kaikow - Krasnow 14
Out of the race: Peter Schep (Ned), Jiri Hochmann (Cze)


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Berlin Night (5) Monday

by Eugene Vandal
30 February 2012

Berliner Tag - Berlin Six 2012


Monday nights (Berlin Night) race programme kicked off with a Sprints warm-up won by Robert Forstemann who also took the top spot on the first day of the six. Maximilian Levi was first on Friday and Saturday evening's sprints.

The riders next went into a team Derny race, which utilizes both men on the team, hand slinging each other into the fray at the back of their dernies. Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele took this on the line by a wheel.

After the Derny event, Maximilian Levi took the 6 points for the win in the next sprint event of the evening.

The first Madison of the evening was a hot and heavy charge of the top five teams individually flying off the front of the 15 team train to put a lap between them and their closest opponents. Individually or in groups of two or three, they battled continually to better themselves in this 45 minute event. Three of the top ten and one of the top five desperately hung on to the flying chain of riders to only be down a lap at the finish of the chase, while the rest lost 2 to 4 more laps from the leaders.

The Official Standings at 22:18:

1. Lampater - Kluge 198 points
2. Keisse - de Ketele 189
3. Howard - Meyer 183
3. Marvulli -Dillier 183
at 1 lap
5. Bengsch - Kalz 173
at 8 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 71
at 9 laps:
7. Graf - Muller 45
at 10 laps
8. Bommel - Mertens 91
at 11 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 92
at 13 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 95
at 14 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 49
at 17 laps:
12. Masotti - Ciccone 43
at 18 laps
13. Schroder - Thomel 34
14. Huff - Simes 31
at 26 laps:
15. Kaikow - Krasnow 17

At approximately midnight, the next madison started as a 30 minute version. One of the first teams to go for a break was the Russian team of Kaikow - Krasnow, who actually managed to gain a lap. A few of the other lesser teams started to make a go of it, which in turn sparked the bigger guns to put the hammer down and try for some laps themselves. It was quite the battle again between the top 5 overall teams. The two teams of Keisse - De Ketele and Lampater - Kluge eventually hammered out one extra lap over their nearest contenders, Marvulli - Diller and Howard - Meyer while Bensch - Kalz lost another lap to the top four. I'm wondering what the outcome would have been had there been another 15 minutes to this event.

The Official Standings at 00:15 - 31/01/12:

1. Keisse - de Ketele 208 points
2. Lampater - Kluge 204
at 1 lap
3. Marvulli -Dillier 195
4. Howard - Meyer 191
at 2 laps
5. Bengsch - Kalz 183
at 10 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 71
at 11 laps:
7. Graf - Muller 45
at 12 laps
8. Bommel - Mertens 95
at 13 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 92
at 15 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 95
at 16 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 49
at 19 laps:
12. Masotti - Ciccone 43
at 20 laps
13. Schroder - Thomel 34
14. Huff - Simes 31
at 28 laps:
15. Kaikow - Krasnow 17


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Final Day (6) Tuesday

by Steve Penny
01 February 2012

The Berliner Sechstage Rennen reaches its climax tonight and despite some doom and gloom the event has been heralded a success by the organisation. The rumour circulating is that there is talk of making this a four-day event like Zurich and Grenoble. As a traditionalist that would be a catastrophe as this is after all the 101st edition!!! What would the four-day event be the 1st Berlin 4-day? Next year it is definitely going to be a 'Six' and lets hope that common sense, and sentiment, prevails and 'Six-day' racing continues in this great city.

On the track the standings are close and four teams are in with a shout at taking the overall honours. In the prime seats before a peddle had turned in anger were Iljo Keisse - Kenny de Ketele and Roger Kluge - Leif Lampater. Not too far behind and well within reach are World Madison Champions Meyer - Howard and the surprise package Franco Marvulli - Silvan Dillier. Just behind, but probably out of the running, are Berlins Kalz - Bengsch, their chances probably got lost during a heavy fall for Kalz on Sunday afternoon.

The Official Standings at the start of tonights events:

1. Keisse - de Ketele 213 points
2. Lampater - Kluge 204
at 1 lap:
3. Bengsch - Kalz 203
4. Marvulli -Dillier 195
5. Howard - Meyer 191
at 10 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 77
at 11 laps:
7. Bommel - Mertens 103
8. Graf - Muller 45
at 13 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 98
at 14 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 107
at 16 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 57
at 19 laps:
12. Masotti - Ciccone 53
at 20 laps
13. Schroder - Thomel 48
14. Huff - Simes 33
at 28 laps:
15. Kaikow - Krasnow 17

Standing room only

Following on from the doom and gloom talk, the crowds flocked into the 'Velodrome' in the thousands tonight. Every seat was taken and standing room saw the crowds four or five deep in places.

Starting the racing was the traditional 'sprints', Howard-Meyer added to their points tally taking them close to that all important bonus lap.

Next up was a Team Elimination race and a chance too win 20 critical points. The main teams took up the mantle although Lampater-Kluge missed out. The winners were Bengsch-Kalz from Marvulli-Dillier. The Swiss team, and the 3rd placed Howard-Meyer took enough points to get a bonus lap and pull level with the overnight leaders. For Bengsch-Kalz the lap lost on Monday night cost them a realistic shot at the podium.

The last Derny race of the Six was won by the home favourites Lampater-Kluge from Keisse-De Ketele.

The last race before the big final was a Points Race that saw the hard work of Ratajczyk - Aeschbach pay off to take a morale boosting victory. The underrated Aeschbach will move onto Copenhagen tomorrow to take his place on the start list there.

The Final Chase

The big Finale, a 60 minute chase, started with 4 teams close together and in contention for the win. Leaders before the final chase:

After losing a lap yesterday Bengsch - Kalz decided their tactic was to try and gain back that lap from the off, which they did. But for the next 35-40 minutes the other leaders traded laps and headed towards the final 50 laps, and the bonus sprints, with Keisse - De Ketele, Marvulli - Dillier and Lampater - Kluge a lap clear. A few minutes before those sprints Howard and Meyer, who had looked like they were out of the hunt at that point, went away taking the first bonus sprint and after a hard fight got back that lap.

The Aussies sat in for the next sprint as Lampater - Kluge tried their best to get away themselves but it wasn't to be for the 'home team'. With 2 sprints it was nip and tuck but the World Champions took that one and took off again with 2 laps to go, easily holding off Marvulli - Dillier and Keisse - De Ketele to take their maiden Six-day victory, the first for an Australian here since Danny Clark (with Tony Doyle) in 1988.

1. Keisse - De Ketele 236 points
2. Marvulli - Dillier 226
3. Howard - Meyer 223
4. Lampater - Kluge 221
at 1 lap:
5. Bengsch - Kalz 230

What they said:

Marcel Kalz (5th with Robert Bengsch) - 'I had a crash on Sunday, causing a pain in my tailbone, which was really bad yesterday resulting in us loosing an important lap. Tonight we decided the tactic was to get a lap early which we did, but it was not enough'.

The Official Final Standings at 23:57:

1. Howard - Meyer 263 points
2. Marvulli -Dillier 254
3. Keisse - de Ketele 254
4. Lampater - Kluge 239
at 1 lap:
5. Bengsch - Kalz 234
at 11 laps:
6. Barth - Mohs 77
at 12 laps:
7. Bommel - Mertens 116
at 13 laps:
8. Graf - Muller 49
at 14 laps:
9. Matzka - Reinhardt 111
at 16 laps:
10. Ratajczyk - Aeschbach 132
at 17 laps:
11. Blaha - Stam 57
at 21 laps:
12. Masotti - Ciccone 55
at 22 laps:
13. Schroder - Thomel 56
at 23 laps:
14. Huff - Simes 43
at 32 laps:
15. Kaikow - Krasnow 19

The Sprinters:

The sprinters battle during the week resulted in a tight match between two of the riders. Robert Forstemann and Maximilian Levi traded the honours for first place throughtout the six days event. Forstemann eventually grabing the lead by one single point over his nearest competitor Maximilian Levi.

The Official Final Sprint Standings at 23:43

1. Robert Forstemenn 88 points
2. Maximilion Levi 87
3. Rene Enders 70
4. Stefan Nimke 61
5. Stefan Botticher 49
6. Sebastian Dohrer 35


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Berliner Sechstagerennen Retrospective

I used to read Bicycling magazine when I initially got into cycling in 1980. I saw an ad in one of the issues that advertised Winning magazine, which was mostly dedicated to racing in Europe, so I immediately ordered a subscription. This is where I first heard of six day racing back in the mid 80's. I had no idea of how it worked or what it was all about, so I read the article (THE KID WHO CAUGHT SIX-DAY FEVER by Peter Nye1), as I always did, going from cover to cover, consuming everything the mag had to offer... ads and all.

After reading many issues of Winning, I was totally addicted to cycling and racing. The Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, the Vuelta Espana, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem... this was what cycling was all about. The problem was, I had to wait three and four months to read about these events because the magazine was always that far behind in getting their reports written and publicized. A few friends of mine and I used to glean through the local newspaper looking for scraps of information on the major tours and classics, but we only usually got a small results list buried in the maze of football and baseball coverage, that totally took over the newspapers and still does today. I always dreamt of going to one of the European races, but never seemed to have had enough money or the time to do it.

As the years went by, my late friend Arnold Devlin, another rider totally addicted to cycling, got me interested in six day racing. Arnold was the type of person that always had his nose buried in some sort of cycling news or historical data. He would come over for supper, then we would talk cycling for hours on end, eventually boring my wife to death, who would secretly up and disappear, leaving us discussing the high points of certain races or the eventual creation of this website. This was back in the fall of 2004.

In 2005, Arnold convinced me to go to Gent with him, in November, to watch the six there. I did an introduction of that event which can be found here. Also, in the Thunder Bay Cycling Club's 2006 newsletter, I wrote a small piece called Gent Wanderings (starting at the bottom of page 8) describing what my wife and I did during the day before the sixes started in the evening.

This year I got to go to the Berliner Sechstagerennen (the Berlin Six Day). I initially wanted to go to Gent again, but because of previous commitments, I wasn't able to make it. So instead, I contacted Steve Penny, my foreign reporter from the UK, and made plans to meet him in Berlin. This was back in November. I booked my hotel, the same one Steve has used for the last 13 years, my flight, and a few other necessary items for the trip. I actually (recommended by my wife) went to Minneapolis a day early, just to make sure I wasn't going to get caught in a major snowstorm the day my flight left. This was a good plan, because I made arrangements to meet another friend of mine, Bob Williams, for supper in Minnie, and ensuring my getting to the airport on time the next day.

Bob was thrilled to discuss Berlin, as he had never gone there himself, and wanted feedback as to what it was like when I returned. Bob is another cycling fanatic who can talk, like Steve and myself, about cycling forever. I guess every sport is the same though. Get a couple or group of people together talking sports, and it just goes on and on.

Now... getting back to Berlin; it was a totally amazing trip. Steve and I met at the hotel, arriving about 3 minutes apart from each other. This seemed to have been the case for the next four to five days. We'd go our separate ways, and agreed to meet back at the hotel at a certain time, and crazily enough, we were always within a minute or so of the agreed upon time. Talk about coordination!!

I was amazed at the venue (the Berlin velodrome). It's actually built into the ground, the base of the track must be at least 20-25 feet or more below the roadway of Landsburger Allee. There are four levels, five if you count the track, which one can access. The bottom level was used for displays, the second the center of the track, the fourth and fifth were access points to the bleachers, and also venues for food and drink, Schultheiss brewery being one of the main sponsors. On the main level, there was also a pub of sorts... a very nice little area for food and drinks, and with its own live entertainment. This was also the level for press room too. We were treated very well in there, with free drinks and food. It's a good place to have this, so one can actually sit and think and write without all the hubbub going on around you, like in Gent.

I guess the point I'm trying to make about all this is the fact that the racing is spectacular... at least I thought so. Now I can see people wanting to go to the Tour de France and maybe the spring classics, but how much of the race do you actually get to see live, ten seconds, twenty seconds thirty seconds, maybe a minute or more as the stragglers go by. But here, during any of the six day events that are held throughout Europe, they (the riders) can be seen live the whole time, depending on how long you decide to stay or how much you've had to drink :). These young racers put on an amazing performance, especially during the Madison events. The sprints are really fast, as are the Derny and Steher events, but they are shorter and aren't really team efforts. The German fans will raise the roof during those times though.

The Madisons, to me, are the main events of the evening. There's nothing that can compare to the riders trying to gain a lap, amidst the cheers and whistle blowing of the fans, who can make just as much noise as a rock band in concert. Not being used to this, I went back to the hotel many nights, with my ears ringing. The riders are awesome how they handsling each other into the fray, with the greatest of ease from any point on the track, even on the steepest sections of the banking. It's usually a 'Battle Royale' right from the get go.

I thought the final Madison on Tuesday night was incredible. Five teams were battling for the top spot, four of them after points and one team trying to grab back the lap they had lost earlier.

The difference between Gent and Berlin is in the amount of racing and events during the evenings. In Berlin, there seemed to be bigger gaps between events and a more relaxed schedule. There were also more intermissions, including press talks and show times with the different bands and musicians. Also, they had the additional Steher and ladies races, which don't take place at Gent. Remember, I'm only comparing this to Gent, because I'm not familiar with any of the other six day. Don't get me wrong either; I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just the fact that it's different from my previous and only other experience.

My final point to all of this is; take a little time and look into six day racing, I think you'll find it much more thrilling than the road events throughout the year. No, you won't have the nice weather of the summer races, but remember, you'll be able to watch everything from start to finish... indoors.


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Photos by:

Rad-SPORT-Foto
Doris & Karl Franke
Kardinal-Galen-Strasse 25
48720 Rosendahl
Tel/Fax: 02566 90 51 33
karlfranke@t-online.de
Website: Radsportfoto-franke.de

The Berlin Velodrome

Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard

Franco Marvulli and Silvan Dillier

Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele

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