Thursday, June 20, 2024

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day Six, It’s Danny’s Name Painted on the Fence Again

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Rotterdam Six Day 2011, it’s approaching midnight, we’re in the camper, headed north out of Holland to Bremen in Germany on a pan flat, black motorway.

Kris is headed for the Six Days of Bremen to work with Franco Marvulli (fingers crossed that he’s well) and Jens-Erik Madsen.

I fly home to Bonnie Scotland from Bremen – my next Six is Berlin, for the last two days, then Copenhagen.

Stam/Van Bon won in Rotterdam from Keisse/De Ketele and Bartko/Ligthart – despite Ligthart looking near death for much of the last chase.

Michael and Jens-Erik were fourth, but as strong, if not stronger than anyone else on the track.

But it’s Holland, it’s the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and there’s a crowd to entertain – and most spectators will be going home happy.

Rotterdam Six Day
Derny master Joop Zijlaard.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Resting. As Dave “Three Pockets” Martin would say.

Bos/Schep were the best team on the track for the first four days but Big Theo took ill yesterday and pulled out today.

I snapped a disconsolate Schep talking to Dutch radio during the final chase, which he obviously sat out.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Schep tells the sad tale of Theo.

I started my write up of today what seems like weeks ago, but I must have been around lunch time…

There’s a great Charlton Heston 70’s sci-fi film called Soylent Green; the premise is that it’s the near future and the USA is hugely over populated – the Government feeds the population with a miracle food called, ‘Soylent Green.’

Which – unknowns to the populace – is made from recycled corpses.

I can’t be sure, but I think it was Soylent Green in the canteen last night – I had salad and two yoghurts.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Niki Terpstra stretches before the first race.

It was mellow in the track centre at 17:20, no-one on the boards, ‘Dream a Little Dream For Me‘ and ‘Blue Bayou‘ soft on the PA – a glass of red would have made it perfect.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
The kitchen has another hard night, serving VIP’s and paying guests.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Oysters, anyone?

One hour later, ‘Saturday Night‘ is hammering out as the U23 race flies around us; Tim Mertens, Marc Hester and our own Michael Mørkøv all served their apprenticeships in the UiV Cup for U23 riders.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Giddeon ponders.

Britain’s Mick Bennett presented the prizes for the UiV – he won the amateur six here in the 70’s with our pal Viktor’s hero, Grant Thomas.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Mick Bennett remembers the day that it was him getting the flowers.

No WCPP, no ‘stealth’ bikes, no ‘recalibrations’ just talent and will to win.

Bennett was a multiple British Track Champion as well as a Commonwealth Games, World Championship and Olympic Games Team Pursuit medallist.

Grant? No Olympic medals for him – but certainly ‘legend’ status.

Charline came to visit us tonight, I introduced her to Michael and Jens.

When I bring male friends to the cabin for an intro, the boys are always polite; but bring a pretty girl and all-of-a-sudden they’re not just polite but also very attentive.

They’re the best.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Charline comes to call, and the boys pay attention.

Charline was third in the flying lap, tonight.

She’s off to the UCI cycling school in Aigle, soon – we wish her well.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
For her first experience of this, Charline has done very well here.

The programme was different tonight, the normal format is to have the main chase mid-evening, then a shorter one to close the night – it’s not usually a frantic affair.

But tonight the main chase was the show closer – one hour plus 10 laps with sprint points every ten for the last 50 ronden.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Andreas and Kenny are getting used to Ed popping over to say hello and take a photo.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Bobby Traksel will likely be going great again in the spring, after all this indoor work.

On the last night it’s always the same at Sixes, the races before the big chase go past almost unnoticed, everyone is focussed on the finale.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Kenny De Ketele pays attention for one last hour
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Sign here son. Mr. Sercu at work, securing the talent for the next event.

If you’re a runner then you miss the start of the chase because it’s ‘break camp’ time – the little environments which you carefully created and have been home for a week are ruthlessly dismantled and packed away ’til next time.

In the ‘good old days,’ sometimes the next race would start the following evening – as many as 800 kilometres away.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
It’s the final chase. Game On.

The racing was quick enough but there was a spell coming in to those last 50 laps which must rank as just about the fastest madison racing I’ve ever seen – the slow running lane was shaking beneath my feet as the mass of the string was catapulted out of the banking by the G-force.

It was scary quick – som