What's Cool In Road Cycling

Ed on the Boards: Bremen ‘6 Days’ – The Big Finalé!

Bremen ‘6 Days’: The final three days of any ‘6 Day’ should be the most exciting and the 2020 Bremen event was not a disappointment. Ed Hood was track side (the inside) for the climax as he worked away helping out the riders before the ‘6 Day’ circus rolled up the big top to move on to Berlin for the final event of the winter season.

You can read about Ed’s first three days in Bremen HERE.

Day Four:
‘Easy like Sunday morning,’ said the Commodores – you got that one wrong guys.

The racing finished at 02:00 am with the guys back on those nice new boards at 12:35. In the meantime, the pee pails have to be emptied and disinfected; the washing done for four guys – each with shorts, three under vests, three jerseys, socks and mitts – then dried, folded and laid out; the drinks have to be mixed and readied; race food has to be checked and replenished – and some sleep and breakfast has to be fitted in somewhere.

Despite the fact that the racing is never going to be ‘a bloc’ on a Sunday afternoon, the crowd was decent, it beats taking the dog for a walk or washing the car.

The ‘show’ on Sunday was singer, Markus Becker whose presence was perhaps responsible for the good turn-out, albeit he has to be filed under, ‘only in Germany.’ Nearest equivalent in the UK would be ‘The Wurzels’. . .

And there was a press presence in the cabins with things being a little quieter; race fave Kenny De Ketele the man most wanted to hear from.

Despite it not being the deadliest afternoon of racing ever, the race lead changed hands with Dutch/Swiss duo Stroetinga and Selenati now on top of the standings. With a 5:00 pm finish today and 7:00 pm kick off on Monday it’s ‘happy days’ for us.

Day Five:
Don’t these people have homes – or jobs? It’s 01:45 am on a Tuesday and they’re partying HARD, but this IS, ‘The Party Six’ for sure.

The stands may have been quiet for the rolling presentation but within an hour or two the track centre was jumping – with many still dancing and drinking in the other halls as we stumbled to the camper approaching 02:00 am Tuesday. I was fresh as a daisy on Monday morning though, a 12 hour sleep does that for you. We won’t be winning the flying 200 metres today, Moritz’s partner Oliver is out sick so our boy goes with little Felix Happke who was with Felix English; but the Irishman is out with a cuts where it’s least convenient.

Andreas Graf took the devil which the rolling presentation leads into and then it was time for the first chase.

Moreno De Pauw and Leon Rohde won said first chase, a non too savage affair.

Flying lap time and this is where the plot thickens. Our Czech fast man, big Tomas Babek has been quickest all week, he starts last each night as the number one seed. He’s been just shy of the lap record each night, even though he feels that he’s been quicker than the timing alleges.
Tonight he was really ‘up’ for it. Local favourite Robert Forstemaan rode an 8.688 to take the lap record just before Tomas went. And then Tomas stormed round to – ‘a fault with the timing’ and no time on the board. However, Tomas had his manager run the videos of Forstemaan’s and his own rides through a video programme called ‘Dartfish’ – which all the national federations including GB use for ride analysis – Forstemaan’s time matched exactly what was claimed, 8.688 seconds. Tomas’s time? 8.44 seconds – we’ll say no more, except that there was 500 euros on offer for the record with those going to the German.

Our boy Moritz won the first Derny.

With the second one going to Kneisky who came late over the top of Politt.

With Augenstein and Frederiksen out of the way, the way was clear for a new winner in the 500 metre TT with Wim Stroetinga and Nico Selenati grabbing the opportunity and taking the win with a track record.

With this being Moreno De Pauw’s last appearance in Bremen there was a ‘farewell’ ceremony to mark the occasion. The usual ‘tunnel’ of spinning wheels. . . He was given a piece of the track signed by all the riders as a memento – handy for lighting the fire on those dark Belgian mornings.

And we had more flowers for the cabin as Stephen won La Ola 10 lap sprint – nice one.

The sprinters were back up for the keirin and Tomas had a point to prove, using it as kilometre training, taking off way early and winning by a street with no one able to take an inch back on him.

The chase hadn’t been going too long when Stephen’s partner, Brian came in with a loose saddle, Dirk soon sorted that though.

Hester and Graf were active in the chase and we reckon they’ll be on the podium.

De Pauw and Rohde too were always near the front of the race too; Rohde is a member of the German team pursuit squad but isn’t as smooth as his Belgian partner.

Kneisky and a newly recovered Reinhardt look good too and we also fancy them for the podium.

Then there’s Hester and Graf – a podium?

But big World Tour home boy Politts and Belgian six day star Kenny De Ketele look like the winners from where we stand – this comment only bolstered by their winning this chase.

Day Six:
Belgium’s former World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele partnered by German Classics star, Nils Politt won the 2020 Bremen Six Day in an exciting last 50 laps of the one hour final chase.

With those 50 laps to go it was Stroetinga and Selenati on the zero lap with every other pairing one lap back.

By 20 to go, Graf and Hester had joined them on the zero lap and took the lead on points.

With 10 to go the lead had changed again with Reinhardt and Kneisky best of four teams on the zero lap.

In those final laps De Ketele launched the attack which took him and Politt to victory by one lap and with best points total to boot. Reinhardt and Kneisky finished second with Graf and Hester third in a six day where there was little to find fault with. Another day, another rolling presentation. But, no washing tonight and my own bed tomorrow night. By night six you’re growing a little weary and missing home comforts. As I stumbled in at 08:00 am this morning, the workies were taking the food and drink stands down – a sure sign that the end is nigh. But what of the race?

De Ketele and Politt lead by 19 points from Reinhardt and Kneisky with Hester and Graf another 13 points back, all on the zero lap. We think now maybe it’ll be the German/French duo who will win from Kenny and Nils with Hester and Graf third. (We got the podium right but in the wrong order) We’ll know for sure in an hour or two.

The opening devil went to Hans’s partner, Josh Harrison who’s an easy guy to push off in the Derny – he’s around half the size and weight of Tomas Babek, our sprinter.

Into the first chase and it was De Pauw and Rohde taking the honours, albeit this one is merely the finger buffet. The main course is the one hour final chase – 60 minute madisons are rare these days.

The flying lap for the sprinter – and much as some elements would have liked to see timing go ‘crook’ again and Forstemann win there was no way that they’d get away with that twice. Tomas duly proved his point with an 8.5 second ride – 0.1 slower than his ‘unofficial’ time last night but still a track record.

Stroetinga and Selenati took the 500m. TT again; but Moritz won the overall classification for the week with four out of six wins, he could probably have made it five or even six out of six but partner Oliver had to pull out sick, yesterday morning. The Dutch/Swiss pair also won the Derny and overall Derny classement for the week

The sprinters’ keirin went to Forstemann but Tomas took the overall sprinters award for the week.

There was just the devil to come before the big chase and, as the Aussies say, ‘Strewth!’ if Stephen and Brian didn’t go and win it!

The big chase gave us a good finale, albeit marred a wee bit by Melvin Van Zyl and partner Moritz Malcharek coming down heavily in a change. Then followed the usual craziness that follows six day as riders and staff disperse to all points of the compass.

And now the circus moves to Berlin for the last full six day of the season.

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,800 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

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