"The ISDE represents one of the most difficult tests of man and machine, and the AMA is proud of the riders and crew who made this year's Team USA a success," said Bryan Cohn, AMA senior director of racing. "The effort this year was one of the most organized ever, and that was reflected in the results. Despite a few bad breaks, Team USA had a strong showing among the world's best off-road riders at what, historically, has been one of our most challenging events."
The U.S. Trophy Team faced huge odds this year. On the third day of the contest, the team's strongest rider, Kurt Caselli, crashed out of the event. Caselli, the early leader of the event, was battling for the overall lead with multi-time ISDE overall top rider Juha Salminen. Despite the loss of Caselli and riding with only five of six allowable riders, the U.S. Trophy Team's remaining members claimed a coveted podium finish, edging Finland for third overall on the last day.
In all, Team USA scored 10 gold, 15 silver and two bronze medals, with another finisher. There were two DNFs. This is one of the U.S. team's strongest performances at the "Olympics of Motorcycling."
"This has been a tough road to get here this year, but a number of individual volunteers stepped it up and we had a fantastic ISDE," said Chuck Weir, AMA Off-Road Director. "Bruce Wakeley, Jay Hall and all of the volunteers who worked in the checks and works areas to service the riders as they arrived really stepped up. Even though long-time supporter Rick 'Gunny' Claypoole couldn't make it this year, he has taught us well and we carried on, and I think we did a great job.
"Of course, the riders deserve the bulk of the credit," Weir added. "Some highlights include U.S. Women's Trophy Team member Maria Forsley, who finished second in her class in her first ISDE. Jeff Fredette received the first-place trophy for riders over 50. Ricky Dietrich finished second in the E2 class and second overall. Rory Sullivan captured second in the tough C3 class."
A number of dedicated sponsors kicked in critical funds and other means of support to the entire Team USA effort. Companies that made Team USA a possibility in 2008 included Arai Helmets, Spectro Lubricants, Kenda Tires, Bob Lamphere's Beaverton Honda Yamaha, MSR, Tucker Rocky, Mountain Glass and Fly Racing. Also helping out were all the die-hard fans who bought an official Team USA ISDE T-shirt, all proceeds of which went to support the transport of riders, bikes and crew to Greece.
In addition, the AMA recognizes the successful efforts of these riders at the 2008 ISDE:
Trophy Team: Kurt Caselli, Ricky Dietrich, Jimmy Jarrett, Destry Abbott, Nathan Kanney, Nathan Woods
Junior Trophy Team: David Kamo, Joe Giordano, Ben Smith, Ryan Lee Powell, Josh Morros
Women's Trophy Team: Nicole Bradford, Amanda Mastin, Maria Forsberg
Club Teams: JAFMAR, Dennis Decker, Jeff Fredette, Eric Jordan; Lubbock Trail Riders, Dan Capparelli, Nolan Irwin, Kyle Kubitschek; Missouri Mudders, Lars Valin, William Burns, Ben Smith; Desert MC, Chilly White, Sean White, Kevin Hutchinson; Carter Engineering, Annell Allen, Jim Conner, Justin Lipana; Team Oregon, Dennis Sweeten, Mason Harrison, Sean Sullivan; Trail Riders of Houston, Fred Hoess, Luke McNeil, Rory Sullivan.
The ISDE is one of the longest-running competitive events in motorcycling. It began in Carlisle, England, in 1913 and has run every year since with the exceptions of breaks for the two World Wars. Today, the ISDE is one of the most grueling, longest off-road races in the world.
In addition to overall team honors, riders earn medals for their performances. Riders who finish within 10% of their class winner receive gold medals. Riders finishing within 40% of that score receive a silver medal. Riders finishing the event with never being more then one hour late for any check get a bronze medal.