Josh Toth and Ryan Sipes were wearing hats when they boarded the nine-hour flight home from this year's International Six Days Enduro in Chile. The U.S. ISDE teammates were hoping to camouflage the embarrassingly bad haircuts given to them in the wee hours of the morning during a somewhat vulnerable few moments of celebration. Despite their disguises, the likable off-road aces were tormented by teammates as they stowed their carry-ons in the overhead bins.
Toth and Sipes had been celebrating an exhausting week of racing, which had culminated in second-place finishes across the board for all three U.S. Trophy teams (World, Junior, and Women). It was the first time in ISDE history that one country had landed teams on all three podiums. That's a remarkable achievement, although anyone associated with the American effort arrived in Chile with the notion of bringing home the gold in all three categories. That’s not just wishful thinking: during the last five years, Team USA has been a legitimate contender in Six Days competition, and in 2016 in Navarra, Spain, the American squad won the coveted World Trophy division for the first time ever.
Team USA’s rise to prominence was kickstarted back in 2000 by the late Kurt Caselli, who made it his mission to raise awareness here in the States about the international event and to enact a program that might someday lead to U.S. prominence in Six Days competition. That 2016 victory was dedicated to Kurt.