The third session and the stands looked better tonight – there are few things that the six day showmen like less than racing in front of empty tribunes.
And Peter Traynor the dee jay (Mr. Music) is back on form after a bad night of Euro-dirge on Thursday. It’s St. Andrew’s Day, today, so Pete has promised us some Scottish music – we’ll see.
On the subject of nationalism, the Spanish riders aren’t making any friends with their riding. They’re strong, but not the safest to be around and chase when they shouldn’t – it’s tough enough to take a lap without getting chased down by guys who have nothing to gain from it.
Stayers – noise, the track sounds like it’s set to collapse and to make it worse, it’s 125 laps instead of 100.
There’s a new band; they’re worse than the last one – their speciality is the number where they holler; ‘schweem !’ repeatedly and the crowd do a pretend breast stroke.
The flying kilometre, there’ll only be one winner and the times are almost certainly pre-decided, but Franco and Tristan are quick, you don’t need a watch to see they’re flying.
They get, ‘We Will Rock You’ for their wind up, but we also have the themes from Bonanza and Hawaii 5-0; and the Spaniards get, ‘Viva Espana’ – in German.
The Atlas Continental team have their presentation at the track – Martin used to ride for them, so knows a few of the guys.
The ‘World Magician Champion’ is in the house – and his lady is very easy on the eye.
The chase is 300 laps; Earth Wind and Fire, ‘September,’ and Gloria Gaynor, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ – I want a seat in the stand, with a beer !
Dillier has the crowd on it’s feet but De Ketele is the man this evening, he’s dispensing pain in big doses.
Adam tells us; ‘when De Ketele attacked, it was . . . and then just shakes his head.
AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ couldn’t be more appropriate.
Boney M, ‘Wipe Out Daddy Cool’ – and the lap board doesn’t make good reading; Adam and Wim have lost three laps, whilst Alois and an off colour Martin have dropped five; with 100 still to go.
There are men dieing up there, one of the young Suisse has to come down, there’s nothing there anymore – 30 laps out.
Riders come in to change wheels for imaginary punctures – but the organisation are on them like hyenas on a carcass; ‘get back up there, boy!’
Eventually the double pistol shot puts an end to the pain, but like Doctor Feelgood say; ‘Bad night, bad show!’ – unless your name is Kenny from Oudenaarde, that is.
Kenny De Ketele has shaved off his moustache, it’s December 1 and he only grew it for the month of November, in aid of a children’s charity.
I didn’t like to tell him but it did give him an uncanny resemblance to ‘Blakie,’ the character from the 70’s English TV comedy series, ‘On the Busses.’
That’s not a good look.
The first chase wasn’t too nippy, the heavy artillery are saving the high explosives for the finale – non of the small teams are complaining. Pete is on great form; Maxine Nightingale, ‘ Back to Where we Started From.’
Big motors, 125 laps – the noise wears you out, after a while.
Flying lap, Tristan is like a Messerschmitt 163 off that banking – 9.9, again.
Those Right Said Fred boys must have made a fortune from the royalties for; ‘Stand up, for the Champions!’ – I must have heard it a thousand times at six days.
Adam and Wim win a Derny – yes! But we have heard that BMC head honcho, Andy Rhys is in the house – there has to be a good reason for a local boy not to win the Derny.
And sure enough, there’s Mr. Rhys, smiling for the camera with Adam. In honour of it being the finale, the band are worse than ever, painfully bad.
Former pursuit king, Germany’s Gregor Braun pays a visit and fires the gun to start a race.
The amateurs race late tonight, the guys have to hang around and the nerves build.
Alexander Aeschbach’s ‘farewell’ is next – an unspectacular but strong, reliable man who’ll never crack in a chase. His last six will be Copenhagen, but there are tears as he realises that the commentator in Zurich has said; ‘Go Aeschi !’ for the last time.
Flying lap – you can guess who won.
More big motors.
The band; the song consists of them chanting, ‘sierra’ endlessly as the crowd drops into some sort of trance-like state and sways along – bizarre!
There’s the sprint series and then it’s the big one.
There are nerves on the start line. Pete is on form, through – Lou Bega, the Quo and Bryan Adams.
Dillier tries hard but is not helped by O’Shea puncturing; he wipes the sweat and glugs a bottle as Eddie fiddles with those tricky rear Mavic allen key bolts.
But everyone knows Kenny is the man; especially when paired with the man on the mono-rail, super stylist Peter Schep.
Hondo/Kluge second with Marvulli/Marguet third – Tristan isn’t happy, he’s the fastest man on the track – but his day will come.
Our boys don’t let the side down and morale is good as hands are shaken and hugs are given and they slide off into the night.
Blakie, sorry, Kenny has time for a word;
“Coming into the last chase we knew it would be very difficult to win because we had to take a lap; the Swiss had a better points score that us. But we could see that Marvulli/Marguet and Dillier/O’Shea were attacking each other; and we believed this could be to our advantage.
Inside the last 100 laps Dillier/O’Shea went for a lap and Marvulli/Marguet countered – both teams had to work very hard. We responded with the Germans and attacked again, straight over the top to take a second lap, giving us two lap gains to the Swiss teams’ one. It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden a full race with Peter Schep – although I did ride with him for two days at Ghent, once. But if the organisers want to pair me with him all the time, I’ll be very happy!
He’s such a smooth, relaxed rider; but he has the same style of racing as me, he likes to attack when he sees the others are finding it hard. Maybe that’s not the best for winning points but we’re good at taking laps! But it’s not just Peter’s style of riding which I admire, he’s also a very sympatico person. The only fault with Peter is that he’s perhaps too modest about his own abilities.’
And from now ’til Rotterdam, Kenny ?
‘On Tuesday I fly to Australia to ride criteriums and the Australian open madison championships; plus I’ll be training in Adelaide. But it’s really a bit of a combination of racing trip and holiday!”
It’s 03:00 am and only 851 K to the ferry for us – and oh yes, it’s started snowing !