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Detroit Six-Day – Day 3

August 13, 2004 – Cool temperatures were again the order of the day, It felt like a fall evening instead of a mid-August humid night. Eight “A” Madison Teams lined up for racing action. Taylor Martin was paired with local road racer-turned-track rider Steve Gerrling. Detroit favorite Dave Koesel (leader of the bike race on points) was with Rob Ackers, as it turned out this was the team to beat on the evening. Ripp’n Ronnie Sink and I were ready to do battle.

In the first Madison of the night, U.S. Marine Steve Milujak (finished 19th in the US Olympic Trails on the road) set a steady tempo, trying to string out the field. His tactic worked as three teams were immediately put in trouble. Twenty laps in and it was Martins turn to put in an attack, that saw three teams lose a lap in the first chase. With 15 laps to go Koesel & Milujak wound the speed up to stop any sudden accelerations from the Martin team. This seemed to work, as with three to go, Milujak jumped but was caught on the final straight by Matt Walp who had stayed in the lead five teams for the entire Madison. Ronnie finished a very close third, Martin fourth, Koesel in fifth.

This being the third day of the bike race several of the racers are feeling the effects of the first two hard days of racing.

In the second Madison, the strategy was the same: go hard and make as many teams hurt as possible. The pace in the last race of the night was higher than the first Madison from the opening bell. First Milujak, then Martin, then Sink, then Apostoli, all four teams seemed to team up on the Keosel team with the continual attacks Keosel and Ackers were down half a lap in the early going. The mid-race sprint for points was fast approaching so a little strategy came into the race for the first time, the pace slowed enough that Ackers was able to catch and go over the top for valuable sprint points with four laps to go. I threw Ripp’n Ronnie into the bike race with five to go which set us up for the final push for the 20 points. Andre Champoux had other ideas as Milujak had made a prefect exchange and Andre went over everyone. With 1-1/2 laps to go it was my turn. I caught Champoux in the last corner, just nipping him at the line. Still with half the race to go, the pace had not calmed down, right after the sprint, Guess who, Martin & Koesel Jumped trying again to break up the field. Not tonight all the teams were ready for the attack and it was shut down right away.

The last half of the race was hard but uneventful, Our team had to win to move up or stay in third. Ronnie was content to stay on Milujaks wheel as he continued to pull the train around the track during his efforts, while Koesel sat at the back watching and waiting, and Martin tried several attacks that went no where. The evening came down to the last 10 laps from nowhere. Sixteen-year-old Luc Cavender put in the most serious attack of the night, No one chased and his teamed gained a quarter of a lap instantly. With five laps to go Luc was gassed. Then it was Milujaks turn to make us hurt. I threw Ronnie in on Milujaks’ wheel – good move as he missed the exchange and had to do a double. Ronnie attacked giving us the lead with two to go. It was my turn to finish it off. Everything was good until 100m to go (all the blood drained from my entire body) and teams started going over me like I was standing still (not a good feeling), We ended up third in the finale, and a solid third for the night in the standings. Taylor and his partner finished in fifth for their efforts. Keosel and Ackers win, with Milujak and Champoux second.

The racing is very competitive and hard, and it should be interesting to see who our partners are tonight. As I’m writing this, I think Taylor and I will be together, but we’ll know for sure see once we get to the track tonight. Back to the car for another three-hour drive and border crossing.

Overall Standings

1. D. Koesel 139 pts
2. T. Martin 136 pts
3. J. Houston 132 pts
4. L. Cavender 130 pts
5. R. Ronnie 118 pts
6. M. Walp 108 pts
7. C. Watkins 104 pts
8. N Laughton 102 pts
9. R.Good 96 pts
10. P. Apostoli 95 pts
11. P. Jaqua 89 pts
12. R. Ackers 86 pts
13. A. Champoux 80 pts
14. S Milujak 75 pts

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