Daniel Holloway does the countdown at the Copenhagen Six Day 2018 in his Californian-Swedish, ten down to six; the crowd takes over from five down to one, the cannon report just about bursts everyone’s ear drums, then there’s the smoke.
For a split second nothing happens, everyone is too stunned by the noise and reek of gunpowder.
But there’s the bongos – and Paul Delicato’s velvet voice; ‘Cara Mia why, must we say goodbye…‘
It can only be the Copenhagen Six Day; this was the first Six I worked, back in 2005 when Jakob Piil and Jimmi Madsen won.
Both are long since retired but Jimmi now organises the race along with ever-smiling Michael Sandstød.
It’s good cop/bad cop deal with Jimmi very much the one who would beat a confession out of your granny.
The first chase is 75 minutes, in a world where 45 minutes is now a long chase that’s a long, long chase.
Home fave and six times winner, Michael Mørkøv pairs with Oudenaarde’s finest and current king of the pine boards, Kenny De Ketele, they wear the legendary ‘Danish flag’ number seven tricot.
Competing for second place we have:
Team one, quality Dutchman Yoeri Havik who’s just off winning in Berlin with Wim Stroetinga (who doesn’t ride, he’s now into preparation for the World Championships) paired with De Ketele’s usual henchman, skinny but rapid Belgian Moreno De Pauw.
Then there’s the number nine jersey which used to be on the backs of the second string Danish pair – home boy and previous Copenhagen winner Marc Hester pairs with stalwart German Leif Lampater.
Team 14 on paper is strong too; but Michael Mørkøv’s younger brother, Jesper – who won here in 2016 with Alex Rasmussen – had major problems with kidney stones in Berlin, so despite being paired with Spanish strongman Sebastian Mora it’s unlikely they can challenge.
We think that’s how it’ll finish; “seven, one, nine” or perhaps “seven, nine, one”?
Any other team on the podium would be a surprise.
In the cabin we have European Derny Champion, Achim Burkhart – who Matt Rendell of Eurosport feels is worth an interview – fellow German and former national Madison Champion, Nico Hesslich plus multiple German track championship medallist and solid road man, Hans Pirius.
Achim rides with rising Swiss fast man, Nico Selanati; Nico with former Danish Elite Road Race Champion and BMC man, Sebastian Lander whilst Hans rides with ‘Born in the USA’ Daniel Holloway.
Unfortunately, Hans had a bad crash whilst racing in Australia in January and the stress of the first chase put his already battle scarred knee under so much pressure that he was forced out of the race.
Aforementioned co-organiser Jimmi Madsen was round like a Tasmanian Devil and I can confirm that he has no problems in expressing exactly what he’s thinking – ouch!
That encounter rather put a damper on things, not helped by interval singer, who, even by Copenhagen standards, was tragic.
I’ll never moan about the Gent Six Day’s ‘pub singer’ Garry Hagger again.
Englishman Stephen Bradbury won the ‘longest lap’ – I’ll explain it tomorrow, too tired right now.
Johny Wakelin’s ‘In Zaire’ is the tune for the Dernys – and Achim won, which rather raised the mood.
There was a ladies’ Derny then Michael and Kenny won the flying lap – and I slept like a log.
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The programme says the boys have to be on the track for 19:23 – very precise.
We’re back to a rolling presentation tonight after yesterday’s track centre interviews; most riders like it, it’s a decent warm up.
Sprints then the Devil and Kenny out-sprints Moreno – really?