The six-day race moves to a tent
Our November sportsman of the month October: Andi Beikirch
Andreas Beikirch was once a cycling pro himself. Having guided Team Milram for FOCUS until recently, he has now opted for a career as Sports Manager of the Herne Six-Day Race in Germany. Just what this return to his sporting roots involves, and what this has to do with a tent, can be found out here.
After his successful pro career, Andreas Beikirch is still working in cycling, however, he no longer spends every day in the saddle. Until recently it was his job to supervise Team Milram for FOCUS. Now he has a contract as Sports Manager of the Herne Six-Day Race. The event will take place from April 5-10, 2011, on the site of Germany's second-biggest fair, the legendary Cranger Kirmes. However, in order to prevent the riders and spectators from getting wet, the organizers have decided against using an indoor arena. Instead, a tent containing a 200-meter long racing track will be erected in just 16 days. It will be 131 x 66 yards in size and supported by 18 poles.
Prime time at cycle races
Andreas Beikirch is drawing on all of his experience here. As Sports Manager, he is in charge of the race program and finding the riders. Describing one aspect of his work, Beikirch notes that "for the program, you have to see to it that the most exciting races take place between 9.30 and 10 pm. This is prime time in six-day events." Obviously, most spectators have really come to watch the Big Chase, which happens every evening and determines the rankings. However, the Derny Race and the races for the lap records are also spectacular highlights of the event.
"Besides organizing the program, I also have to see to signing up the riders. Of course, I do have some ideal candidates in mind. Amsterdam winners, Roger Kluge and Robert Bartko are top of my list. And I'd like to see Danilo Hondo there as well. On the other hand, you have to be careful not to make a mistake: the race takes place just when the road season is already in full swing for a lot of riders." Nonetheless, Beikirch is absolutely determined to persuade velodrome experts Marco Marvulli and Leif Lampater to take part.
A six-day race is no camping trip
And then there's the crucial question: A six-day race in a tent? How is that going to work out? "This is totally new territory in Germany. But in Belgium it's quite usual to organize races in huge tents like these. Basically, we'll erect a giant circus tent. But the equipment and furniture will be classy – nothing like camping. The velodrome can hold up to 3,500 spectators. That's much less than you get at the big races, such as the one in Bremen. But smaller events are becoming more popular. Two thousand five hundred people in a tent means a great atmosphere. Besides, it's all more concentrated. Although there are fringe events, there won't be a second indoor arena. Everything will take place on the race track or inside the tent." A new concept on the German six-day scene. FOCUS is keeping its fingers crossed that it will be a success.