The 31-rider U.S. ISDE team got off to a good start on the first day of the 88th International Six Days Enduro being held in Olbia, Italy. The U.S. Trophy Team sits in second place. The U.S. Junior Trophy Team (for riders 23 and under) and the Wellard three-rider club team sat in third place each in their respective team classes at the end of Day 1.
The premier U.S. World Trophy Team was led by top American rider Taylor Robert, who rode to a fifth-place finish for the day in the E2 class and sixth overall in the scratch competition, which combines all riders’ test scores for the day. The U.S. team trailed France by 1 minute, 15 seconds and held an 11-second lead over Australia and a 13-second lead over Italy.
U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen says early preparation played a role in the encouraging Day 1 results.
“Our preparations that we did at home and the week here have really paid off,” he says. “But there are still four long [enduro] days ahead and then the final moto on the sixth day. So we still have our work cut out for us. Right now, we have to recover from Day 1, rest up a little bit and do again what we did today.
“Our goal is to have five riders in the top 15 everyday, and today we had five in the top 20 and that was good enough for second,” he continues. “For tomorrow, we have to stay focused on meeting our goal of five riders finishing in the top 15. Hopefully we can get the sixth rider in there as well in case we loose one of our riders.”
In ISDE team competition, the lowest riders score in each of the Trophy, World, Junior and Women’s Team is dropped from the team’s tally each day.
In all, five of the U.S. World Trophy Team’s six riders made the overall top 20 for the day with Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown and Kurt Caselli joining Taylor in that category. Remaining U.S. Trophy Team rider Thad Duvall had front brake problems that relegated him to a respectable 32nd place overall considering his bike’s mechanical issues.
The four-rider U.S. Junior Team was led by Kailub Russell, who finished 10th in the E2 class. His score was good enough to be the fastest rider among the Junior Team riders.
“The junior team did very well today also,” Kallonen says. “We’re still waiting to see individual scores, but it looks like Kailub Russell was the fastest junior rider. Again they were all consistent and we’re looking for them to do the same thing tomorrow for Day 2.”
Joining Russell on the U.S. Junior Team are Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor.
“Kailub, Jesse and Grant all did a good job, and now we know what to expect so it should go better,” Delong says. “It’s a tough event to train for as most of us just got done running a National Enduro back home and then we have to fly here and adjust to this format.”
The U.S. Wellard three-rider club team of Jimmy Jarrett, Ryan Sipes and Nick Fahringer finished the first day of the six-day competition with overall day scores good enough for third place in the club division, with Fahringer finishing third in the C3 class and Jarrett and Sipes finishing fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the C2 class.
“I has a real good time,” says Sipes, who is riding in his first ISDE. “I crashed hard a couple of times, mostly due to dust, but I still had a good time. It was a lot of fun on the transfer sections where you could just ride and have some fun. I went in a little bit early and got a penalty point [60 seconds], but I won’t do that again.
The U.S. Women’s Trophy Team, made up off riders Mandi Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Brooke Hodges, finished the day intact but struggled to do much better than sixth place, but still less than 4 minutes behind the French team, which finished in third place. Australia and Sweden led the Women’s World Trophy Team division.
“Today had a little bit of everything,” Mastin says. “It had some easy trail, fast tests and a couple big hill climbs. I haven’t had a chance to see the scores yet, but I know I need to make some more adjustments to my suspension. I got it close, but I need a little more time to get it right. The biggest problem is the dust.”
Day 2 of the ISDE runs the same course as Day-one.
Image courtesy Steve Berkner/ American Motorcyclist Association