The American World Trophy Team is aiming for its second-ever ISDE victory, following a historic triumph in 2016. This year's squad, featuring Taylor Robert, Ryan Sipes, Zach Bell (who you might remember from his supercross and motocross days with GEICO Honda), and Steward Baylor (filling in for the injured Kailub Russell) is off to a great start, leading after Day 1. It's close, though, with Team Australia just four seconds back.
Robert also leads the overall individual rider standings.
"We had a crazy day," Robert said in a story on the AMA website. "All of us wrecked [at least once]. I'm stoked that we're in the lead after the first day. I don't know if that's ever happened."
Sipes sits fourth overall and won one of the day's special tests.
Stu Baylor's day wasn't exceptionally tough, as at one point he was taken out by a Brazilian rider on a paved section of the course. He's banged up but okay.
“The goal for today was just to push as hard as we can, make some good test times and still be safe so we don’t get hurt on the first day,” said U.S. Trophy team manager, Antti Kallonen, in a KTM press release.“We have still a long five days ahead of us but it definitely was a good day one–coming from the back, eating all the dust and being able to make our way up front for tomorrow’s starting positions.”
Team USA sits third in the Junior (under age 23) Trophy standings behind Italy and France. Grant Baylor, Ben Kelley, and Josh Toth comprise that team. Baylor, Steward's younger brother, is the top overall under-23 rider.
The U.S. Women's World Trophy team (Tarah Gieger, Brandy Richards, and Becca Sheets) sits second second behind Australia, which is aiming for a sixth-straight Women's World Trophy. Two of the three Australian Women's World Trophy riders, Tayla Jones and MacKenzie Tricker, are regular competitors in the Amsoil AMA Grand National Cross Country Series. Gieger, the former motocrosser, is the top individual Women's rider on the American team.
"The first day was good," Gieger said to the AMA. "We worked into it. We had some good test times and had some bad ones. I think it's like that across the board for everyone today. The transfers were kind of tricky. You'd be riding road and then hit a really technical transfer [section]. I think everybody went off the hillside once so that's not that fun. All in all, I think we came out of day one really good and we're ready for day two."
Check out www.americanmotorcyclist.com for daily updates on the event.