Berliner Sechstagerennen - Family Day
by Steve Penny
The Sunday at German Sixes has traditionally been Family Day (Familientag) when the riders and fans get up early for an afternoon session. The idea I’m sure is that the children of today are the fans of tomorrow in the same way that supporting football teams or following sports is passed on to youngsters by parents around the world.
Dutch Boys Make There Move in Berlin
The customary leg warming point’s race got underway at 12:35pm local time and was followed by a round of crowd pleasing Derny racing that was won by Stam/Schep. The big race of the day though was the 45 minute Madison, a race the top boys would normally focus on with the leader board being a little closer than it appeared to be 24 hours ago. Unfortunately a crash involving Alex Rasmussen took some of the shine off the chase as the main players backed off a little. This allowed 3 teams to slip away Lampater/Grasmann, Muller/Mohs and Beikirch/De Ketele and it was the later pair that held on for the retiring Beikirch to take a popular and probably last ever Six Day Madison win. The lull in action allowed Lampater/Grasmann to go a full lap clear of the field having also gained a bonus lap for passing 100 points. Stam/Schep joined them at the top of the leader board having also taken a bonus lap. As well as a crash for Rasmussen, his partner Morkov is riding with a heavily strapped leg (looks to be supporting his knee) which is not a good sign after they’d made their move last night.
There was a chance for the lesser lights to shine in the Team Elimination Race and the ‘other’ Dane in the field Marc Hester won alongside young Berliner Tino Thomel.
The big guns had kept their powder dry for the 30 minute Madison which was an opportunity for Bartko/Kluge to re-establish themselves atop the leader board after being quiet in the earlier chase. Although they had a good race the German team had to settle for second place behind an impressive Danny Stam and Peter Schep. The Dutch team have not taken big points throughout the Six but have been creeping up the standings and for the time being at least, have the lead. To win this Six Day on Tuesday they’ll have to have a full lap gain on the field but after winning the Rotterdam Six (with Iljo Keisse) the 37 year old Stam seems to have the form, not to mention plenty of fight left in him.
The other big movers have been Leif Lampater and Christian Grasmann and I admit I got it wrong last night when I suggested they’d be in a fight for 5th-7th. They’ve obviously kept some gas in the tank and Lampater especially looks strong and this new team are now in with a shout at the podium or even the win!!! Muller/Mohs are hanging on at 2 laps down but as expected Bengsch/Kalz have faded, although a bit more than they’d have liked, and are now a distant 4 laps behind. The race favourites Bartko/Kluge should have their bonus lap soon but they have not dominated the racing this weekend by any means.
Standings at close on Sunday:
Danny Stam - Peter Schep (Ned) 133 points Leif Lampater - Christian Grasmann (Ger) 120 @ 1 lap: Robert Bartko - Roger Kluge (Ger) 182 Alex Rasmussen - Michael Morkov (Den) 159 Alex Aeschbach - Franco Marvulli (Switz) 143 @ 2 laps Andreas Müller (Aut) - Erik Mohs (Ger) 76 @4 laps: Robert Bengsch – Marcel Kalz (Ger) 91 Andreas Beikirch (Ger) - K De Ketele (Bel) 74 The rest are down 12 laps or more.
Special Guest - Erik Zabel
The VIP guest today was a fit looking Erik Zabel who does not appear to have put on any weight since his retirement after this event last year. The Berlin born rider was probably the only (and possibly the last) big road star to come indoors in recent years and was a regular at the Dortmund and Munich Sixes throughout his career. He is now working for his long time teammate and friend Rolf Aldag at Team Columbia. The lanky Aldag was himself another roadman who always went to the Dortmund Six, winning there in 2004 with Scott McGrory. The 39 year old Zabel is employed almost exclusively to work with sprinter Mark Cavendish and will aim to engineer another Milan-San Remo win for the Brit in a race that alongside the Tour was his speciality.
Sprinters & Stehers
The sprinters have been in action over the last few days and World Keirin Camp Maximilian Levy has been tuning form for his Championships defence at the head of the field. He will race the Keirin, Sprint and Team Sprint in Copenhagen and will need to be on top of his game for battle in Ballerup with the French, British and Australian fast men.
Like the sprinters, the Stehers (motor paced racers) get a rare chance to ride in front of large and appreciative crowds here in Berlin. The king thus far is Leipziger Timo Scholz, who has had the better of Swiss Peter Jorg, Mario Vonhof (the reigning German Steher champ and former 6 Day rider) and Giuseppe Atzeni. The Swiss-Italian Atzeni is the European champion, which is the biggest prize in ‘Steher’ racing since the UCI scrapped it as a World Championship event back in 1994.