Berliner Sechstagerennen – Thursday & Friday
by Steve Penny
Despite (the already) reported problems with sponsors, the disappointing absence of the retiring Bruno Risi and freezing ice and snow here in Berlin, big crowds have been coming through the doors of the Landsberger Allee Velodrome. The oldest Six Day on the calendar, in this its 99th edition, has already welcomed around 25,000 visitors on Thursday and Friday nights. The Saturday is the traditional big ‘Golden Night’ and a full house is expected to witness the annual track cycling spectacular in the German capital.
The story so far:
The Berlin race programme is a lot shorter than it was just a couple of years ago (and this is without the event coming on the back of the now defunct Stuttgart Six) and on the championship size 250 metre track lap gains are not as easy to come by as they are on a 166 metre track like in Gent for example. Despite this the opening exchanges have seen, as expected, a few teams pulling away at the top of the standings and after 2 nights the favourites Robert Bartko & Roger Kluge are sitting on top of the leader board. The ‘Ro Ro Express’ as they are being called locally have a commanding 36 point lead over Dutchmen Danny Stam & Peter Schep before Saturdays racing. As noted in my preview the Berlin pairing of Robert Bengsch and Marcel Kalz had a good start to last year’s race and have again come out of the blocks well and are the only other team on zero laps.
In 4th at 1 lap are World Madison Champions and winners of the Gent Six, Morkov & Rasmussen. The Danes won’t be unduly worried as they are capable of gaining points and with a bit more experience behind them now they might just be conserving energy for a big push over the next days. Franco Marvulli will have to get used to life without Bruno Risi and he and Alex Aeschbach are in a decent position just 1 lap down. Two other teams are also at 1 lap, Leif Lampater & Christian Grasmann and a with a good showing so far Berlin born Austrian Andreas Muller and Erik Mohs. The young Mohs has made a return to the track this winter representing Germany at some of the World Cup events, and if he has the commitment to the track most certainly has the talent. In 8th place are Kenny De Ketele and Andreas Beikirch at 2 laps. The 39 year old Beikirch is racing his 118th and last Six Day race. After a heavy fall in Bremen last January, he has not returned to his old form so will say Auf Weidersehen to the appreciative Berlin public and Six Day racing over the next few days.
Standings at 01.00 29 January 2010:
Bartko (Ger) - Kluge (Ger) 102 points Stam - Schep (Ned) 66 Bengsch - Kalz (Ger) 61 @ 1 lap Rasmussen - Morkov (Den) 75 points Aeschbach - Marvulli (Switz) 62 Lampater - Grasmann (Ger) 57 Müller (Aut) - Mohs (Ger) 34 @ 2 laps Beikirch (Ger) - De Ketele (Bel) 36 points @ 3 laps Barth - Siedler (Ger) 13 points