The 1998 Stuttgart Six Day Race

January 16th - 21st 1998

Risi and Betschart win their first Stuttgart Six!

In a thrilling final night's racing, Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart won their first Stuttgart six day cycle race in front of a capacity audience. The two 29-year olds from Switzerland had come second in the Stuttgart Six-Day on four previous occasions, and they gave Switzerland its first win in the Stuttgart Six since 1933! This is Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart's fourth sixday win this season, following their victories in Dortmund, Munich and Leipzig. They had started the Stuttgart Six as favourites to win, and were therefore wearing the coveted number 9 jerseys.

The first night's racing on the 285-metre Stuttgart track in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle saw Swiss favourites Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart take an early lead in the Stuttgart six-day cycle race. However, the second night saw on-form German rider Andreas Kappes and his partner Adriano Baffi (winners of the recent Cologne Six) take over, and they defended their lead during the third day's racing (the half way point in the race). Kappes has won the Stuttgart Six on three previous occasions.

The fourth day's racing in the 15th Stuttgart Six-Day cycle race saw Italy's Silvio Martinello celebrate his 35th birthday in style. None of the other leading teams could match the repeated attacks by Silvio Martinello, who is partnered by Marco Villa. In the very last sprint of the evening, the Italian duo gained enough points to get a bonus lap, and thus jumped into the overall lead in the race. By the end of the fifth night of this hotly contested race, though, Baffi and Kappes were leading from Risi and Betschart by just three points.

The Stuttgart race got off to an eventful start, with the race doctor declaring local German rider Gerd Dörich and Denmark's Jens Veggerby too ill to race. Dörich rejoined the race on the second night, but Veggerby was too ill and had to quit the race. His partner, Jimmi Madsen, also called it a day - a shame in light of their win in last week's Bremen Six, but proof that even six-day riders are mortal! Gerd Dörich's run of bad luck continued when he inspected the carpentry at close quarters during the fourth night's racing, but he was soon back on his bike again.

Italy's Marco Villa and Adriano Baffi nearly didn't even get that far - they both had to indulge in some creative journey planning after a strike by Italian airline Alitalia left them with no direct flight available, and they made it to the track just in time for the start.

Attendance figures at the Stuttgart Six day bike race have been good, with 10,000 spectators on the first night and capacity crowds of 11,500 spectators on the Saturday and Sunday. Race organiser Winfried Holtmann is reported to be very pleased by this turnout, which is the highest number of visitors in the 15 years that he has been organising the race.

Final results:

1. Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart (Switzerland) 560 points
2. Andreas Kappes/Adriano Baffi (Germany/Italy) 552 points
3. Silvio Martinello/Marco Villa (Italy) 438 points
+ 1 lap:
4. Etienne de Wilde/Matthew Gilmore (Belgium/Australia) 291
+ 3 laps:
5. Jens Lehmann/Scott McGrory (Germany/Australia) 278
6. Gerd Dörich/Carsten Wolf (Germany) 268
+ 17 laps:
7. Guido Fulst/Ralf Liehner (Germany) 125
+ 22 laps:
8. Lars Teutenberg/Thorsten Rund (Germany) 53
+ 28 laps:
9. Pascal Lino/Jean-MichelMonin (France) 116
+ 30 laps:
10. Stefan Steinweg/Patrick Billian (Germany) 130

Other teams (positions uncertain!):
Andreas Walzer/Michael Wörner (Germany)
Andreas Beikirch/Lutz Lehmann (Germany)
Danilo Hondo/Olaf Pollack (Germany)
Erik Weispfennig/Daniel Becke (Germany)
Mario Vonhof/Thomas Liese (Germany)
Uwe Messerschmidt/Frank Kowatschitsch (Germany)

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