The reputation of the participants to this criterium des As behind Derny motors, certainly drew the great crowed to the Palais des Sports.
The reputation of the participants to this criterium des As behind Derny motors, certainly drew the great crowed to the Palais des Sports. Indeed; long before the opening the crowds were pushing at the doors and when the preliminary races began we had a full house. Most of the spectators came to watch the expected fight between Rik Van Looy and Rik Van Steenbergen, their rivality being well-known.
The start-order is the following: Daems - Schulte (Holland) - Fore - Bobet (France) - De Paepe - Van Steenbergen - Brankart - De Bruyne - Van Looy - Vannitsen - Impanis - Bucher (Switzerland)
After only one minute Van Looy come already from the 9th to the 4th place and he is greatly encouraged. But the first real attack comes from Do Paepe followed by Van Steenbergen, Daems, Schulte. The speed is very high and there lies already half a lap between the leader and the 6th man, Van Looy. At the 12th minute Impanis attacks and before the first quarter of an hour is passed, he rejoins the leader. Bobet tries also but without success. Then Rik Van Looy shoots out of the group like an arrow and in no time he also rejoins the leaders. At this moment we note the abandon of Fore. A little more than 29 Km. were covered in this first half hour. No attacks in the third quarter of an hour. When it is announced that there remain only 12 minutes of the race, Van Looy attacks but Van Steenbergen follows and he rejoins his rival very fast. Brankart, who is already at more than 6 laps abandons, together with Schulte. At seven minutes from the finish the doubled racers have to leave the piste, leaving only the six leaders who are: Van Steenbergen, Van Looy, De Bruyne, Impanis, De Paepe, Daems. At 4 minutes from the finish De Paepe takes the lead, preceding Van Steenbergen and Van Looy. The final sprint is set in with 5 laps to go. De Paepe is at the inside with beside him Van Steenbergen while Van Looy must try to pass on the exterior. It in finally Van Steenbergen who wins with a one wheel advantage on De Paepe. 3rd is Van Looy at 4 lengths.
It is the third time that Van Steenbergen won this Criterium des As. This time he covered in the hour: 56 Km 960.