8bar Crit – recap of Germany’s biggest fixed gear criterium
When we organized the “Last One Standing” at the Tempelhofer Feld in 2015 we didn’t expect to be holding the biggest fixed gear criterium race in Germany one year later. With almost 200 people signed up for the 8bar Crit, it shows quite well how the crit family and community of fixed gear racing is growing. With the 8bar Crit 2016 at the Tempelhofer Feld we brought together many local riders – many that participated in their first race ever – and international, experienced racers. Altogether it was a great late summer day which we celebrated by having a good time together, on our favorite vehicle: the bike.
A race to bring people together
At the race day more than 110 men and 25 women signed up to race the course which was equally fast and technical. With two long straights and two 180° turns, the 1000m long course made it possible for spectators to watch the whole race. The Tempelhof airfield attracts many people for BBQ’s, sun basking and all kinds of sportive activities. That’s also how many people who didn’t know what was going on got interested in the event.
Go fast to go faster
Like last year, we started with an open course at noon, followed by the qualification heat where every rider went for a hot lap -time trail- style. The time of this one lap made the starting grid for the finals. It was Simon Mateju from Defekt Crew who beat the mark of 1:30 minute and was fastest. He already showed his strength last year when he finished 4th. For the women it was Karla Sommer from Team Schindelhauer Gates who got the pole position.
Second chance – last chance
Before the finals took place, all the men that didn’t qualified directly in the Top 70 got the chance to still qualify themselves at the “Last Chance Race”. The fastest 10 in this race also qualified for the men finals. The fight for positions was strong from the beginning on. A leading group formed quickly and went all together to the finish. For them there was just about an hour to recover before the men’s finals, a good time to watch the women’s final race.
25 women racing – only one can win
Last year there was only a group of three women participating. This year we had 25 women from different backgrounds and a variety of levels in the women’s field. As usual for a crit race, the pace was high in the beginning and split the field into smaller groups. The lead took a group of six women, that all have raced several races this year, even though not all of them have a fixed gear background: Anne Terpstra, racing for the Ghost Factory Team, normally races mountain bike and had her debut in the fixed gear scene. Sami and Carla from the 8bar Team, Karla Sommer, local racer Marion Dziwnik from Team Standert and Paola Panzeri from Italy filled the group of equally strong riders.
During the whole race of 20 rounds many attacks took place, but neither of them could brake away and establish a significant gap. For the women behind it was still possible to group up as well, thanks to the big start field. The final sprint brought Paola Panzeri from System Cars – Cinelli – RCT in a close finish to the top of the podium, followed by Anne Terpstra and Karla Sommer.
Solo to the win
The men’s race started off similar. With everyone having to slow down in the 180° turns, it got tight because no one wanted to lose ground right at the beginning. On the straight lines the speed went up as for many riders it was the only chance to gain positions and move up in the field. It took only a few laps before a gap opened between the first 30 riders and the rest of the field. Slowly but steady the sun set which gave the race a very unique atmosphere. Most of the people by now gathered around the finish line and cheered to everyone passing by to make them go faster.
As the race went on, the groups became smaller and riders got left behind here and there. Also the leading group shrank due to several attacks from riders that all have been riding in the Red Hook Crit Series and other fixed gear races with strong fields as well. With six laps to go, Stefan Schäfer from Maloja Pushbikers took off and finally was able to establish a gap. He showed his strength as a track racer and went solo for the rest of the race. For the riders from Standert, The 5th Floor, 8bar team and East London Fixed it was not possible to catch up with him.
Stefan Schäfer went to the finish line by himself five seconds before the field sprint, which Alesandro Mariani / IRD Modena from Italy won narrowly from Johannes Kilisperger of mess pack berlin.
It was getting dark and chilly when our volunteers began to clean up the track and we were holding the podium ceremony. There is not much left to say besides that we had a lot of fun at the after party and are already looking forward to the next race.
We would like to thank everyone who came out to race, volunteer and cheer with us! Without you, there would be no race at all, literally! We also want to thank our sponsors for the support that made this event possible in the first place: Adidas, Brooks England, DT Swiss, Berliner Fahrradschau, Ass Savers and List-n-Ride. We hope to see you again next year for the 8bar Crit 2017.
PS: You can find all the results on our 8bar Crit Facebook-Page.
written by Hagen Lindner
Photos: Stefan Haehnel / recentlie.com