Day-two of the 2012 International Six Days Enduro, being held in Saxony Germany, was a mixed bag of results with only the US Junior Trophy team advancing in the standings where they moved up two positions to third place overall behind Great Britain and France. The US World Trophy Team and Women’s Trophy Team both stayed in sixth and fifth places respectively for the day.
“The Juniors are advancing well, where Thad (Duvall) and Andrew (Delong) are getting stronger each day, and their teammates Jesse Groemm and Travis Coy are hanging in there as well,” said US Team Manager Antti Kallonen.
“Thad is actually right in there with (US Trophy riders Mike) Brown and (Kurt) Caselli’s scores. Delong is improving as well but he’s riding with a pretty bad cold and we only hope he continues to get better. Right now Jesse and Travis are the key as they have to be more consistent and even pick it up a little for the team to stay on the podium.”
Duvall, who is riding in his first ISDE said, “Today went ‘friggen’ awesome for me. It probably couldn’t get any better, I ran top 20 or better most of the day and moved up to 34th overall something like 14th in class.
“Everything is starting to make sense now, yesterday everything was new, today it was the same course so we knew what to expect. Tomorrow we get all new trail, I’m a little excited about that but it’s also supposed to get tougher so where going to have to pick it up.”
Delong said, “Things are getting better for me as well. I’m still pretty sick but I’m feeling better. The doctor has me on some stuff to clear my head so at least I can breathe now. I even nailed a couple of tests today and that felt good.”
While the US Juniors saw improvement in their overall results Kallonen said of the US Trophy Team sixth place position, “Our scores just aren’t improving well enough. Mullins continues getting better and Robert is moving up as well. But with Kurt getting hurt (on Day-one) the rest of the riders need to be more consistent. We can’t afford to lose any more points by making mistakes or getting stuck in the tests.”
Caselli said of his Day-one injury, “Today things went much better. I kind of had a crap day yesterday when I crashed and hurt my shoulder. It’s bad enough that its effecting my concentration and my speed but it is what it is.
“Right now I’m trying to be smooth and just try and stay up. The doctor said it was a slight (shoulder) separation so things are still pretty sore and that makes my test times off a little but I’m trying to stay positive. Luckily Charlie and Taylor are making up for it.”
The World Trophy division is led be France, Australia and Italy whom are in first, second and third respectively.
At the end of Day-two the US Women’s Trophy Team still found itself in 5th place with the three-rider team of Amanda Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Sarah Whitmore putting in solid rides but not enough to advance.
The top three finishing teams after two days in the Women’ Trophy class are France Australia and Germany.
In the three-rider Club Team division the Boise Ridge Riders team of Devan Bolin, Reid Brown and Derek Steahly remained in 16th place as well.
All 31 US riders made it into impound at the end of Day-two and are scheduled to start Day-three.
Day-one of the International Six Days Enduro took its toll on the US National ISDE team as the 31-rider squad finished no higher than fifth place for the day at the German ISDE. The US World Trophy Team finished sixth while both the US Women’s World Trophy and Junior Trophy Team finished in fifth. The best finish for any US club team was 16th.
“I think everybody tried a little too hard today,” US Team manager Antti Kallonen said. “We just made too many mistakes. Some of the teams here, especially the European ones that compete in this type of format all year, are very good at this type of racing where everybody knows you have to be nearly perfect all of the time. Each of our riders had some very good tests, but they each had some bad ones too.
“One of our goals here for the Trophy Team is to have each of our riders finish top 15 (in each of the three classes.) We accomplished that, but just barely.”
Officially for the day the top finishing US Trophy Team rider was Charlie Mullins who finished 6th in the E2 class, followed by Robert Taylor, Kurt Caselli and Destry Abbott who finished 10th, 13th and 24th respectively in that class. Mike Brown, who is competing in the E1 class, and Russell Bobbitt, who is competing in the E3 class, each finished 13th. In each of the ISDE trophy team divisions, World Trophy, Women’s Trophy and Junior Trophy, one team rider’s score is “thrown out each day.
US Trophy rider Kurt Caselli, who finished third overall in last year’s Finnish Six Days and first in the E3 class there helping the US team finish third overall said, “We always start slow. The whole Six Days format, the scoring, the test layout, the transfer sections, the back to back days of racing, it’s just different enough to what we do back home. It seems we always need a day to figure it out.”
“I myself made too many mistakes starting with a bad crash in one of the early tests. I got out of shape a little and hit a stump and hurt my shoulder. You have to ride just hard enough to have a good score but not hard enough where you crash. We’ll start to turn things around tomorrow.”
Kallonen said, “Things aren’t over for the team, we just need to slow down a little and ride a little smoother. Maybe we give up a few seconds here and there, we just don’t give up a lot of time by making big mistakes.”
The top three finishing teams in the Trophy Team division was France, Australia and Finland.
The US Women’s Trophy Team of Mandi Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Sarah Whitmore also had their share of problems. Mastin said, “It’s just hard to hit the ground running where your little mistakes just add up.
“Rachel and I rode together most of the day but both managed to miss a check by one minute when we weren’t paying close enough attention and just ran out of time. Sarah had her own problems on the trail and dropped some route points as well.”
The women’s team division is lead by France followed by Australia and Germany.
The US Junior Team’s efforts for the day where lead by Thad Duvall, who finished 20th in the E2 class. Duvall said, “I guess I’m happy for my first day ever of riding a Six Days. Everything is a little different. By the second lap I started to figure it out. Tomorrow we ride the same course and I’m looking forward to improving my times.”
After Day-one the top three Junior teams are Italy, Great Britain and Australia.
The best US club team finish for Day-one was the Boise Ridge rider’s three-rider team of Devon Bolin, Reid Brown and Derek Steahly who finished 16th.
All 31 US riders made it into impound at the end of the day.
After impounding all of their 31 bikes late Friday afternoon, the U.S. International Six Days Enduro team members spent the weekend preparing themselves for this year’s German Six Days, which starts Monday morning at 7:45 a.m.
“Last week was a long week, getting everything unpacked and set up and then getting the bikes into impound, but now that’s done and things are starting to come together,” said U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen.
“Over the weekend our strategy has changed a little. Due to the smaller, narrower roads and lots of traffic, we are not going to have mechanics chasing our riders around. It was just impossible to safely use that strategy here.
“So we’ve changed our plans where now the mechanics will stay at a check with all the tools and parts that might be needed if somebody has problems. It took a little time to organize, but we have it all worked out.”
Kallonen added that the racers on the Trophy and Junior Trophy teams have been walking tests.
“It’s not easy being competitors one week and the next you’re working together as a team,” he said. “It’s good to see them spending a lot of time together and sharing information. I have a lot of respect for them and I equally expect them to do well.”
Seven-time ISDE veteran and US Trophy Team rider Russell Bobbitt said that he enjoys hanging out with his ISDE teammates for this event.
“It’s a lot of fun getting to hang out with these guys as a team,” Bobbitt said. “Back home we get along but we just don’t spend that much time together, other than on race day.
“Mike (Brown), Destry (Abbott), Kurt (Caselli) and Taylor (Robert) are really good at it,” he added. “At home, they compete against each other almost every weekend and here they’re all about working together. Charlie (Mullins) and I are the same way. Here, we’re all about helping each other.”
The weekend was also used to organize support checks where supplies and check workers where brought together, said Jay Hall, the U.S. team’s Parc Ferme check captain.
“It’s a lot of work but everybody always comes together,” Hall said. “This year it’s been nice as there have been no surprises. Everything has gone according to schedule. Even during impound we only had a couple riders turned back because of sound, and all but one made it in on the next try, and he made it in on the third try. The important thing is they all made it in. Some years that in itself can be a challenge.
“We’re looking forward to a good Six Days,” Hall said.