Photos and story by Brian Pierce/ seattime.co
The Red Bull SIX DAYS (That's International Six-Day Enduro) in Saxony, Germany, came to a close on Saturday, September 29 with one final Moto test at the Sachsenring racing circuit. Once the racing was over the closing ceremonies officially ended the 87th ISDE, sending riders and crew members off to pack or make their way to the after-race celebration. Based on many Facebook and Twitter status updates, it seems the riders have made it home safely and are already amped on attending next year's SIX DAYS in Sardinia, Italy.
The French Team will certainly need to put their heads together to figure out how they can possibly top their accomplishments this year. They dominated all three Trophy Team classes. Four of their six trophy team members finished first through fourth in the overall individual standings. Watching them race throughout the week was impressive, to say the least!
Second in the World Trophy class was the Australian Team. These are some seriously tough dudes! Although most of them were injured at some point during the event, but they managed to keep racing and stay on pace. Most impressive was past GNCC racer Glenn Kearney. A gash on his knee required seven internal stitches and 13 external. He continued to ride through the pain, reopening the wound several times. But this allowed the Australians to stay in the points chase and finish with a solid second place finish.
Italy did a tremendous job holding on for third place in the World Trophy class. They lost one of their six riders on the third day, but since the lowest score is dropped daily, they were able to stay up in the points. Alex Salvini was the fastest of the week from the Italian team, finishing third in the E2 class.
The American Team finished fourth overall in the World Trophy class. This was certainly not where everyone thought they would finish, with high expectations that they would be contending for an overall win. They came back on the last day in the final Moto to move up two positions and finish less than one second ahead of Finland.
Since the French were busy dominating the Junior World Trophy class, it was a race to see who could finish out the podium. Great Britain, having one of the fastest Junior members on the team, secured the second place position while the Americans beat out Australia for the third place spot. There was a great battle toward the end of the week between Thad Duvall and Danny McCanney for the Overall Junior (though this is not an official award--riders race in classes based on bike size, but you can qualify as a Junior rider if you're under age 23). On they last day, though, they were both beat out by Mathis Bellino of France.
When it came to the Women’s Trophy class the French women were in a league of their own. They beat Germany by almost two hours during a week of racing. The Australian women came in third, less than six minutes behind the German Team. The American Women’s Trophy Team had a pretty bad week with only Mandi Mastin finishing the six days. Rachel Gutish houred out on the third day and Sarah Whitmore had a bad wreck, injuring her wrist, which would take her out of competition.
The American Trophy Team had glimpses of world-class speed throughout the week, but was no match for France, Australia, or Italy. Charlie Mullins was able to win two Tests - the final test on Day Four and test three on Day Five. He did have a bad wreck on Day Four (before he won the last test), which had many believing his SIX DAYS experience was over. He regrouped, had a chat with the Team Manager, and came through for the team. Charlie will be a great addition to future ISDE teams as he looks to improve upon his 57th placement overall in the E2 class.
Kurt Caselli, who seemed to easily win the E2 class last year in Finland, struggled after a bad wreck on Day One. There was some concern that he might have broken his collarbone, but after closer inspection it appeared to be just badly bruised. He continued to ride the rest of the week finishing with 2nd place behind Mullins in Test Three on Day Five. This was his best finish at the ISDE this year, placing 14th in the E2 class. Caselli will be back for sure in the future, hoping to prove once again that he has what it takes to compete against the world’s fastest Enduro racers.
Mike Brown surprised quite a few people this year considering how much he struggled early on in the week. He is known for his ability to adapt to most conditions and terrain. He didn’t seem to finally find his groove until the end of the week when he won Test One on Day Five. He certainly showed his motocross speed during the final moto test on Day Six. He played it smart, barely missing a first turn pile up, grabbed the holeshot and rode away from the rest of the field, giving him 10th Overall in the E1 class.
Taylor Robert seemed to perform really well during the beginning of the week, finishing 4th in Test Six on Day One and 5th in Test Five on Day Two. Though he did have other solid performances, he didn’t seem to have the same consistency later in the week. Robert finished 7th in the E2 class and was the top American finisher.
Russell Bobbit was just the opposite as Robert. He was having issues with an old wrist injury during the beginning of the week, but started to pick up the pace during the last two days, which helped him finish 14th in the E3 class. Destry Abbott was a solid addition to the team who helped them secure the fourth place finish over Finland on the final day. Abbott was 21st in the E2 class.
The man of the week, though, that everyone was talking about was Junior World Trophy member Thad Duvall. He rode well during the first couple of days, but really turned it on on Day Four. This was the first day with significant moisture which created conditions similar to what Thad would ride in his home state of West Virginia or at a very wet GNCC. He continued to work his way up the standings, riding fast and consistent. His best finish of the week was a 4th in Test Three on Day Four. He finished the week 9th overall in the E2 class.
Though the Team USA Trophy Team did not podium this year, they still rode a good race and finished better than some expected after the first three days of racing. The dynamics of the Team have recently changed for the better due to the addition of Antti Kallonen as Team Manager. Hopefully experiences from this year's event will help him get Team USA faster and more consistent for next year. Viva Italia!