Last year's International Six-Days Enduro overall winner, Ryan Sipes, is out of the event this year with a broken arm. But he's checking in with us each day with reports from the race, which started on Tuesday in Spain.
By Ryan Sipes
For the second year in a row, history has been made at the International Six Days Enduro.
The ISDE is a unique race. Once a year, nations from all over the world send their best off-road riders to compete in this long, grueling race across every kind of terrain imaginable. Covering over 150 miles a day for six-days straight, it really is like the Olympics of off-road racing. Team USA has been attending for over 50 years and although they’ve been close, they’ve never been able to get the win. That all changed when our team of Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell, Thad Duvall, and Layne Michael took top honors this year in Spain.
Through the first five days of competition, Team USA led the rankings with great riding from the whole team. Day 6 is a huge change for competitors, instead of grass tracks and woods riding, they had to compete in a motocross race. Taylor Robert won the E2 division moto and with it, solidified his position as fastest individual rider of the week. That’s two years in a row that an American has claimed that title.
“I’ve been so stressed the last few days, because this is a huge deal for me and for the USA,” commented a happy Robert. “I kept trying to tell myself that everything would work out, but I know anything can happen during the final motos. This is my sixth ISDE, and it feels so good to have won with Team USA and also to have gotten the Individual Overall win. The team’s been great, and we’ve been getting closer and closer to this every year. This one’s for Kurt Caselli.”
The late Kurt Caselli was an ISDE legend and brought another level of focus on the event for Team USA. His guidance has been a game changer for our results and finally, we are the best in the world.
Kailub Russell finished fourth in the E2 moto, Thad Duvall ninth in E3, and Layne Michael sixth in E1, good enough to give Team USA its first ISDE victory. Everybody was excited afterward, doing burnouts in the paddock and celebrating, but it was also emotional after so many years of trying and failing. I know from my time on the team last year, we put everything we have into it. Riders, crew, cooks, mechanics, and the team manager all play a huge part in the race. Everybody chipped in and got the job done.
The Junior team of Stew Baylor, Grant Baylor, and Trevor Bollinger had a great week as well, finishing only 27-seconds back of Sweden to take second place.
The Women’s team of Tarah Gieger, Rachel Gutish, and Nicole Bradford had some struggles, but came out with a respectable fourth place finish for the week.
Our Club teams were awesome this year also. The Trail Jesters team of Josh Toth, Ben Kelley, and Jason Klammer took second in the Club division, and the Eric Cleveland Memorial team of Jimmy Jarrett, Alex Dorsey, and former SX/MX standout Broc Hepler finished third. Josh Toth finished as fastest Club rider of the week and Ben Kelley won the C2 class.
While it hurts to not have been able to be a part of it this year, I’m really happy for all our guys. What once seemed like a remote possibility is now in our hands. I’m proud to be an American!