The 1997 Leipzig Six Day Race

December 9th - 14th 1997

Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart win Leipzig six-day race!

This is the first Leipziger Sechstagerennen of recent times, being held in Hall 1 of Leipzig's Trade Fair Centre. There have been previous six-day races in Leipzig: the last Leipzig Six, as Roger Hughes points out, was back in 1927, before the Nazis came to power in Germany and shut down all the six-day races. Post-1945, Leipzig was in the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany, as us ignorant westerners called it) until Germany was united in 1989. Does anyone know if any six-day races were ever held in the GDR?

It is heartening to hear of new six day venues opening up, particularly as we are due to lose the Cologne Six from the calendar after this season (the venue is being redeveloped without a cycle racing track). The Leipzig Six is held on a 160 metre track. Sadly, Roger Hughes tells Fat Nick that German TV reports there were only about 400 spectators on the opening night. Fortunately, this figure had swelled to 3,000 by the final night, which is more encouraging, giving an overall attendance figure of about 15,000 in total over the six nights (about half the total number who attended the Ghent Six, and equivalent to one "full house" night at the Munich Six).

German riders Andreas Kappes and Carsten Wolf led after the first night, then pony-talied Australian Scott McGrory led with his German partner, Jens Lehmann - Leipzig is very much "home ground" for Lehmann. The lead then passed to top Danish duo Jens Veggerby and Jimmi Madsen, with the Italian pairing of world points champion Silvio Martinello and Marco Villa leading on the 4th and 5th nights.

The final session was a cracker. Martinello and Villa had a huge points lead over Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart, and the Swiss stars' only hope of success was to gain a lap over the field. Obviously, all the other teams were aware of this and tried everything in their power to prevent it. Finally, just twelve laps from the end in the final Madison session, Bruno Risi's blistering speed paid off and the Swiss team gained their lap to win the race by one precious lap.

Final Results:

1. Bruno Risi - Kurt Betschart (Switzerland) 346 points
+ 1 lap
2. Silvio Martinello - Marco Villa (Italy) 470 points
3. Jens Veggerby - Jimmi Madsen (Denmark) 445
+ 2 laps:
4. Jens Lehman - Andreas Kappes (Germany) 439
5. Gerd Dörich - Lars Teutenberg 419
+4 laps:
6. Etienne de Wilde - Rik van Slijcke (Belgium) 277
+15 laps
7. Beikirch - Mario Vonhof (Germany) 315
+ 19 laps
8. Fulst - Ralf Liehner (Germany) 216
+35 laps
9. Uwe Messerschmidt (Germany) - Kowatschitsch (?) 156
10. Liese - Weispfennig (Germany?) 193 points

Scholz - Walzer - DID NOT FINISH
Andreas Kappes - Carsten Wolf - DID NOT FINISH

There seems to have been a fairly high rate of attrition over the final couple of nights. Kappes / Wolf disappeared from the results on Saturday night, and on Sunday Andreas Kappes was paired with Jens Lehmann (who had been riding with Scott McGrory). Scholz / Walzer also disappeared during the final Madison session, although they were 41 laps down in last place at the time, so Fat Nick thinks an early shower may have been in order!

In the amateur sprinters' competition that was held during the Leipzig Six, Germany's Eyk Pokorny won from team-mate Jens Fiedler, with Australia's Darren Hill in third place.

Fat Nick would like to express his thanks to the kind (but anonymous) soul staying at the Hotel Accento who faxed the results of the last three sessions to him at four in the morning.

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