Kappes and De Wilde win!
Nick's tip: Follow the links to see photos of the riders
The Leipzig six-day bike race is back for a second year in 1998. Last year's event lost money, so the organisers were hoping to pull the crowds in this time with a few new tactics. It seems to be working - there were 4,000 spectators on the first night, compared with just 500 last year. Overall, 20,000 spectators passed through the gates during the 1998 Leipzig 6-day race, a considerable increase on the 1997 figure of 13,000. And they say track racing isn't a crowd-puller, huh? Race organiser Winfried Holtmann commented "We haven't made a profit yet, but at least the figures are no longer in the red."
Local favourite Jens Lehmann (a member of Germany's victorious team pursuit squad at the 1992 Olympic Games) and his Australian partner Scott McGrory took an early lead on the first night of the Leipziger Sechstagerennen, taking full advantage of the absence of Silvio Martinello and Marco Villa, who were unable to get to the start in time due to the appalling weather conditions in the area. The Italian duo had to change planes at Munich, and were unable to fly on to Leipzig because of heavy snow.
The second night saw a reversal of Lehmann's fortunes, as he crashed and had to be taken to hospital with possible concussion. Tests showed that the 1992 Olympic champion was OK, and he was able to continue with the race, but his left shoulder is not good, and he has seven shiny new stitches over his left eye to show that he has been in the wars. This left Denmark's Tayeb Braikia and Jimmi Madsen with a clear lead at the end of the second night, with Germany's Andreas Kappes and Belgium's Etienne de Wilde in second place. However, Germany's Carsten Wolf and Gerd Dörich (a cool pair of dudes, famed for their fondness of dancing to the music on their bikes) were lurking in third place.
Swiss six-day stars Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart (winners of the recent Zurich Six Day race) were down in 5th place, with Betschart suffering from a stomach virus that meant he had to be neutralised for part of the second night's racing. Even six-day heros get bugs, I guess.
The third night saw a third change at the head of the race, with Belgium's Etienne De Wilde and Germany's Andreas Kappes gaining a one-lap advantage over Madsen and Braikia. The Leipzig six-day race certainly looks like it is providing exciting racing on a short track in Leipzig's trade fair centre.
The fourth night was not a night, but an afternoon; Sunday afternoon is traditionally "Family Day" at the Leipzig six day race, and 2,000 spectators turned out (as opposed to 5,000 on Saturday evening). Sunday's madisons were won by Andreas Beikirch / Lars Teutenberg, and by Bruno Risi / Kurt Betschart (there are two madison sessions each day, interspersed with other races). Overall, Andy Kappes and Etienne de Wilde maintained their lead, but they will be in trouble if Jimmi Madsen and Tayeb Braikia, currently one lap down, manage to get the lap back as the Danes have more points.
Away from the main six-day race, the supporting "sprinters challenge" had one rider less after Australia's Darryn Hill managed to injure his eye whilst playing around with a glass during a meal at the riders' hotel, necessitating a trip to the local hospital to have stitches in his retina. I think this comes under the heading of "don't try this at home, children". Hill offered to race on Monday evening at his own risk, but race organiser Mr Holtmann was having none of it. Sensible chap. Meantime, Germany's double Olympic sprint champion Jens Fiedler won the sprinter's competition ahead of Eyk Pokornby and New Zealand's Anthony Peden.
Heading into the final night, Lehmann and McGrory had re-gained the lead. But it was a close-run thing and, on a short track like this, any of the first four teams could have won.
In the end, wily experienced six-day men Andreas Kappes and Etienne De Wilde came through from third spot to take victory, with the up-and-coming Danish pairing of Tayeb Braikia and Jimmi Madsen taking second. But it was a gripping finale, with Lehmann and McGrory still trying to gain the critical lap with just 20 laps to go. "The final madison was a bit hectic" said Kappes, who is celebrating his 17th six-day victory. "With four teams on the same lap, it was difficult to keep an overview." If you think 17 victories in six-day races is impressive, his 40-year old partner Etienne de Wilde notched up his 37th six-day win in Leipzig!
1. Andreas Kappes (Ger) / Etienne De Wilde (Bel) 473 points
2. Jimmi Madsen / Tayeb Braikia (Den) 435 points
1 lap down:
3. Jens Lehman (Ger) / Scott McGrory (Aus) 478 points
4. Bruno Risi / Kurt Betschart (Swi) 265 points
3 laps down:
5. Carsten Wolf / Gerd Dörich (Ger) 354 points
6. Andreas Beikirch / Lars Teutenberg (Ger) 324 points
4 laps down:
7. Erik Weispfennig / Stefan Steinweg (Ger) 246 points
23 laps down:
8. Guido Fulst / Ralf Liehner (Ger) 136 points
29 laps down:
9. Andreas Walzer / Frank Kowatschnitsch 160 points
31 laps down:
10. Mario Vonhof / Robert Bartko 107 points
48 laps down:
11. Thomas Liese / Jurgen Werner 117 points
To find out how to book tickets for the Leipzig Six, check out Roger Hughes' booking info.
And while you're here, why not have a look at some photos of cycle racing action from other six-day bike races?
Do you have any news about the Leipzig 6-day race? Drop an e-mail to if you do, or send him a fax at 0044 161 476 2914 - Fat Nick reads German, so grotty photocopies of results sheets and local newspapers are gratefully received!
Return to Fat Nick's main page