by Steve Penny
British 6-Day Correspondent
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),
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.
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.”
1. Howard – Meyer 126 points at 1 lap: 2. Bartko – Kluge 183 3. Rasmussen – Mörköv 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