It’s gone 1:00AM here and I thought we could have a look at the Berlin Six Day Bikes; the Dernys buzz their ‘Ipcress’ noise, Brad eases down off the fence, he takes the sling off Jackie, tucks in behind the little monster and Mr. Simes is done for the night.
Brad has 25 laps to go with just a few knots of hardcore fans in the stands to watch him — and the drinkers in the track centre, naturally.
‘That’s the first time this week the driver hasn’t ripped the legs off me!’ says Jackie as he gets ready for the dash to the cabin, a shower and then the peace of the hotel room.
Brad says the same — a good night for the men from the land where the madison was invented, then.
They held their own in the chases and however hard the race there’s still good banter in the cabin.
And for Kris and the runner it’s our last washing of the Six Day, tonight; always good reason to have a beer.
If you done a few Sixes over a winter it can all get a bit familiar and you can end up taking it for granted.
But tonight as I waited at the start line for Franco with his helmet, glasses and mitts at the ready as he and Silvan rode their lap of honour as race leaders, ‘Stand Up For The Champions’ hammered out, I looked up at the amazing steel roof which covers the track, took in the lights, the track centre ViP lounge, the bars, the crowded stands and thought to myself that for all the potato chases, politics and pompous people who inhabit this world, there’s still nothing quite like a Six Day.
Somehow I missed the fact that Robert Forstemann broke the track record last night — 12.702.
But the crowd go crazy for all the sprinters’ rides, I don’t speak German and I have four riders to look after – so maybe it’s not such a surprise that I didn’t take it on board
Kris extracted that nugget from the paper for me, they do the race proud — three colour pages each day.
I made the amateur runner mistake of putting the wrong jersey on Silvan when I changed him, he’s black number but I gave him one of Franco’s reds.
In the early days I’d have panicked and worried about it all night, but now I just offer up my bum for Silvan to take a kick at — it’s a big target.
The German Olympic team for London was presented tonight; if it’s down to leg size then they have the team sprint won already, Enders’ and Forstemann’s legs beggar belief.
We had a bit of a panic in the first chase, we thought Brad was coming in for a drink but it was actually to drop the nose of his saddle.
He had found himself sliding forward in the chases and raised his saddle nose a little; but half way through the madison found himself in discomfort and had to zoom in for a couple of turns of the allen key.
There were two chases, neither of which was particularly noteworthy — the crowd gets much more vocal for the sprinters and particularly, the stayers.
A stayers race is a big production, it takes an age to get the pace bikes in the right order for the riders’ line up and the big BMWs have been roaring forever before the gun fires and the race actually starts.
There’s no way you could follow it from the cabins, it demands attention but has the whole crowd on their feet; the finale has the kids putting their hands over their ears as the drivers open the throttles, the speaker roars above the exhaust noise and crowd show their approval.
Some of the top dogs pop by the cabin; ‘that’s cool the guys are coming by to chat,’ I say to Brad.
But I should have known better; ‘they came by to tell us where they thought we were going wrong in the chase!’ responds Brad, before it’s time for him to worship at the altar of Derny.
And on the subject of hardware, I thought I better give you a wee look at what’s new on the block.
Cam Meyer rides the new Bike Technologies ‘Stealth’ prototype — a flat top tube; new, more aero seat cluster; aerofoil section seat pillar, and fresh fork crown treatment are the main visible differences.
The bike retains the back end of the old Stealth complete with massive demountable rear ends and has been developed especially for the team pursuit — but sprint athletes will ride it too.
Nimke the sprinter rides a Stevens, the Hamburg based company have long made nice cyclo-cross machines.
Stevens’ ‘Arena’ track model looks the part, complete with 3T aero bars which Peter Schep actually rides on his bunch bike.
In the aero vein, BMC have gone down the Look ‘external steerer’ route but dispensed with the practical but not bonnie adjustable stem set up.
Our boy Silvan Dillier and fellow Suisse, Alexander Aeschbach ride them – Alex loves his and has the new Syntace carbon bars on board just to give his bike a really futuristic look.
Roger Kluge’s Felt also boasts ‘external’ steering but the extension really isn’t neat — some sort of clip on cover would tidy it all up.