US Trophy Team celebrates second place finish

Second-place finishing U.S. Trophy Team riders. Front row (L-R): Zach Osborne, Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown. Second row (L-R): Kurt Caselli, Taylor Robert, Thad Duvall.

Second-place finishing U.S. Trophy Team riders. Front row (L-R): Zach Osborne, Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown. Second row (L-R): Kurt Caselli, Taylor Robert, Thad Duvall.

More Day-six photos here:

by Steve Berkner

For the first time in more than three decades, the U.S. Trophy Team finished second in the Italian-hosted International Six Days Enduro. It ties the best finish the U.S. riders have ever had at the FIM World Championship event. The last time the United States did this well was in Czechoslovakia in 1982.

Finishing in front of the U.S. Trophy Team was France, which dominated the ISDE, winning each day while accumulating a score more than 13 minutes better than that of the second-place American team. The U.S. riders finished 4 minutes ahead of Italy.

”It has been an excellent week,” says U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen. “Everybody gave their all and contributed to the overall result. It was nice to see both [U.S. Trophy Team riders] Zach [Osborne, who rode E1] and Mike [Brown, who rode E2] win their final motos.

“We had real good results in the E2 class final moto as well with Charlie Mullins, Kurt Caselli and Taylor Robert all having strong finishes,” he says, adding that the remaining U.S. World Trophy Team rider, Thad Duvall, finished fifth in his final E1 moto.

“It has been long overdue for the United States to finish this high in the result,” Kallonen says. “Finishing second is a good stepping stone to eventually winning the overall so we still have one step to go. We are still hungry for our first Trophy Team victory, so when we get back home we will start preparing for next year’s Six Days in Argentina.”

US Trophy Team Captain Caselli was also pleased with the result.

“This was really a good Six Days from start to finish,” Caselli says. “It didn’t come without its share of problems, but it sure feels good to get to the final moto with everybody intact, with all of the bikes running. It was a bonus seeing Zach and Mike win their final motos as well.”

The U.S. Junior Team of Kailub Russell, Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor, finished this year’s Six Days in fourth place after the team started Day 1 in third.

“The Juniors had their share of problems, but fourth for this group of riders, with two riding their first Six Days ever, is still respectable,” Kallonen says.

The Junior classification was won by France, followed by Italy and Great Britain.

In the three-rider club team division, the United States placed two teams in the top five with the Wellard Team, made up of Ryan Sipes, Jimmy Jarrett and Nick Fahringer, finishing second. The Team, whose roster included riders Ian Blythe, Alex Dorsey and Justin Sode, finished in fourth place just 3.26 seconds behind third.

“Those teams did an excellent job, especially the Wellard team,” Kallonen says. “We expected them to do well, but we didn’t expect there to be so much competition in the club team division as Italy [which hosted the event] had over 30 teams in the club team category and some of those teams had former world champions on them, so our Wellard team did very, very well considering those circumstances.”

The U.S. Women’s World Trophy Team finished sixth in its division, with all three of their riders finishing the event. For U.S. Women’s team rider Rachel Gutish, it was a chance to “redeem herself” after a DNF in last year’s German ISDE.

“I just had to come back and finish a Six Days,” Gutish says. “Last year I had a real bad leg injury, with a bruised bone and a very deep hematoma from my knee to my thigh. In the mornings, I could barely push my bike up the start ramp. Eventually I had to drop out. This year when I’d run into problems, I thought to myself ‘what would Nicole Bradford do?’ and it worked.”

Bradford rode on the American Women’s Trophy Team from 2007 to 2011.

Notably, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff “Mr. Six Days” Fredette finished his 33rd Six Days. All of his finishes have come without a single DNF. It’s a Six Days record. Fredette, who is 54 years old and rode his first Six Days in 1978 said, “I’d have to say that in all of my Six Days, this year is the highlight of them all. Not so much how I did but how the team did.

“It just brings tears to my eyes to see how far we’ve come where we’re now one step away from winning the overall,” he adds. “We win two of the three final motos, two of our club teams finish second and fourth. You look around and you see all of the organization and preparation that goes into producing these results for the U.S. Team, and it’s just awesome.”

Of the 31 American riders that started the Italian ISDE only one, Ryan Kudlac, didn’t finish due to an injury that he suffered before the race started that caused him to retire after Day 1.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

US Trophy Team back to 2nd after Day 5

US Wellard club team rider Ryan Sipes at the "Bardahl" special test on Day-five.

US Wellard club team rider Ryan Sipes at the “Bardahl” special test on Day-five.

More Day-five photos here:

by Steve Berkner

With five days, 1125 kilometers and 30 special tests behind them, the U.S. World Trophy Team sits poised to finish second place in the 2013 ISDE, the international off-road motorcycle racing competition that tests the endurance of both rider and motorcycle.

Not since 1982 has the U.S. Trophy Team finished higher than third place at Six Days, and this year they sit just 48 kilometers and a six-lap final motocross test away of equaling that accomplishment.

“It has been a long week and right now we only have one thing on our minds and that is making it to the final motocross special test,” said U.S. ISDE Team Manager Antti Kallonen. “Our goal this year was to hit the ground running and be as consistent on Day 1 and Day 2 as we’ve proven in the past that we can be on Days 3, 4, 5 and 6. We only race the Six Days format once a year. [Historically,] we start slow a little slow and struggle to work our way up from there.

“Of course, we have enough of a cushion [France sits in the lead 14 minutes, 20 seconds ahead of the U.S. team with the host country Italy in third 3 minutes, 40 seconds behind the Americans] that as long as we have five guys finish the final moto, we have second place.”

Kallonen says there’s an outside chance the U.S. could move into the lead.

“As far as catching France goes, they would have to have two riders have trouble finishing the final moto,” he says. “It doesn’t happen that often, but over the years it has. Of course, the same thing could happen to us and we could lose second place, but all of our riders are healthy and their motorcycles are running strong.”

Day 5 of this year’s ISDE didn’t come without its own drama for at least one of the six rider U.S. Trophy Team riders as Charlie Mullins struggled to advance even half way through the day with out significant problems.

“When I finished the first test, we noticed I was missing six [front] spokes, but we didn’t have any time to fix it,” Mullins says. “Then by the end of the next test, I was missing two more, but I had to make it to the next check before I could make any repairs.

“There I used all of my [allotted time to start the needed repairs] and actually had to push my bike through the check with the tire half off the rim so I could finish it on the other side of the check,” he says.

Mullins says that it was a close call.

“I think I went through [the check] with just 2 seconds to spare,” he says. “My day seemed to go down hill from there [as that repair] seemed to take away all of my focus. Then I crashed pretty hard in the next test, and it felt like it was all I could do to make it to the finish, but I made it through the day.”

Kallonen said that Mullins’ effort was significant. Mullins finished the day 10th in the E3 class which dropped one position in the overall going from eighth to ninth.

“Today Charlie put in a very hard day,” Kallonen says. “I have a lot of personal respect for him as he did what he had to do to stay competitive and make it to the end of the day.”

While Mullins struggled to get through his penultimate day of this year’s Six Days, his teammate Taylor Robert finished the day still in fifth place overall.

“Being top American is kind of cool, but it doesn’t mean that much to me if we don’t make the podium,” Robert says. “Right now, we’re focused on finishing Day 6 and making it to the final moto. Barring any type of disaster, we should be able to finish in second. My personal goal right now is to win my final moto.”

Joining Mullins and Robert on the U.S. Trophy Team are Kurt Caselli, Zach Osborne and Thad Duvall.

The U.S. Junior Team, made up of riders Kailub Russell, Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor, sits in fourth place overall, where they have finished all week other than Day 3’s third-place finish. France, Italy and Great Britain are first, second and third in that division.

The U.S. Women’s World Trophy Team, represented by Mandi Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Brooke Hodges, is in sixth place.

The U.S. Wellard club team is in second place, led by the efforts of Ryan Sipes who is leading the overall C2 class. He is joined by Nick Fahringer and Jimmy Jarrett.

Only one of the original 31 American rider’s that started the event on Monday, Ryan Kudla, has retired.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013, Uncategorized

Day-four results moves US Trophy Team back into third

Frist year ISDE rider and US Junior Team rider Kailub Russell.

US Junior Team rider Kailub Russell.

More Day-four photos here:

by Steve Berkner

Olbia, Italy – Day-four of the International Six Days Enduro saw the US trophy team give up its second place finish to Australia where the American team again sits in third place while France continues its dominance in the World Trophy Team division.

The “sea-saw” second place battle between the US and the Australians, which has had each team lead the other two times over the first four days of the six day enduro, has come down to a which team can make the fewer mistakes. France now leads both the US and Australian teams by just over 11 minutes.

US ISDE team manager Antti Kallonen said, “Unfortunately we did loose some time to Australia today where we now trail them by 45 seconds. Our riders have still been very consistent in their test scores. Like I predicted yesterday I’m sure it’s going to come down to the wire with Australia as we are very evenly matched.”

Much of that time was lost to clutch problems encountered by trophy team rider Mike Brown who had to change out his second clutch for the week. By the end of the day Brown had replaced his clutch.

Brown said, “Right now everything is good to go for the next two days.” Brown’s misfortunes dropped him from 5th E3 overall on Day-three to 7th overall on Day-four. He remained in 4th overall through 4 days of the event.

Kallonen said, “France is still advancing on both of us but all they have to do is loose a key rider and both of us could possibly challenge them, then it will come down to the final moto were on paper we have the edge as we have more experienced motocrossers. But first we have to get through Day-five.” Rounding out the top five in the World Trophy Team division are Italy and Spain.

This year’s US Trophy team is being represented by Brown, Taylor Robert, Zach Osborne, whom are all pro class motocrossers back in the US, Thad Duvall, Charlie Mullins and team captain Kurt Caselli.

After four days of this year Italian Six days Robert remains “Top American” in 8th place overall.

In the Junior Team category the US team remained in fourth place behind first place France, second place Italy and third place Great Britain. Kallonen said of the US Junior Team’s effort, “We are still struggling to move up but considering there are two new riders (on the four-rider team) they are doing pretty good.

“Kailub Russell has been doing very well for his first Six Days, his scores are holding up were he was in the top five of the juniors for the day.” Joining Russell on the team are Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor.

The US Women’s Trophy Team remained in sixth place, US women’s team rider Brooke Hodges said, “Today was the toughest day by far. We all had a few trail points today, it was mostly single track with a couple of road sections thrown in, opposite of what Day-one, two and three was like.

“Yesterday (Day-three) was a really rough day for me, even though the trails were tougher today, mentally, yesterday was harder for me. I’m really looking forward to getting tomorrow over with and on to the final moto.” Along with Hodges this year’s US women’s team roster is made up of Mandi Mastin and Rachel Gutish.

The US Wellard club team, made up of riders Ryan Sipes, Nick Fahringer and Jimmy Jarrett, continued their quest for that club team championship where the team finished the day in second place.

Kallonen said, “The Wellard team has been doing very well with all three riders turning in very respectable times. Sipes is doing extremely well where he now leads the C2 division. Some of his test times would hold up very well in the Trophy Team division.

“Tomorrow is the last hard day so a lot of energy and effort has to go into it. Day-six is just a 15 minute motocross test.”

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013, Uncategorized

US ISDE Trophy Team moves back into second

US Trophy Team rider Zach Osborne rides down a transfer section during Day-three of the International Six Days Enduro in Olbia, Italy.

US Trophy Team rider Zach Osborne rides down a transfer section during Day-three of the International Six Days Enduro in Olbia, Italy.

More Day-three photos here:

by Steve Berkner

Olbia, Italy–At the mid-point of the International Six Days Enduro the US World Trophy Team moved back into second place edging out the Australian team were the US now has a 19.5 second lead over Australia. The US team started the day 15 seconds behind the Australians team while France held a commanding lead with nearly a 9 minute lead over both teams.

US Team Manager Antti Kallonen summed up the US Trophy Team’s effort, “Once again all of our riders were very consistent. Like on Day-one and Day-two we are really in a battle with Australia for second place as the French have again added to their overall lead.

“For now France is starting to pull away. Unless something happens to one of their riders the real fight is for second place. We not only have to worry about the Australians, we also have to worry about the Italian team as they are now in the hunt for second (place) as well.” The Italian team moved to within 2 minutes and 25 seconds of the American team.

Kallonen said, “We still have two long days ahead of us so and if we can stay consistent we should be able to use the final moto (test) on Day-six to make back some time as we have some good moto-crossers on the team.”

The US Trophy Team’s efforts were led again by Taylor Robert who finished as the top American rider where he is fifth overall and fourth in the E2 Class. Robert’s teammates Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown, Kurt Caselli and Zach Osborne rounded out the six American rider’s team’s best scores.

Caselli said, “The tests are really starting to get beat pretty bad. I don’t think any of us thought that they would get that rough and silty but everybody has to ride it. The important part is all six of us are healthy and are bikes are running good.

“For myself I’ve been just off a little bit but I’m still hanging right in there. Robert, Mullins and Brown have all been doing a great job and Osborne is starting to figure it out as well.

Osborne, who normally rides motocross back in United States said, “This is absolutely nothing like what I’m used to back home. The first couple of days were a challenge but I’m starting to get the format down. I’m looking forward to new trail for Day-four and Day-five where we’ll be getting all new tests and fresh trail.”

After Day-three of the six day enduro the US Junior Team, made up of riders Kailub Russell, Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor, remained in fourth place where they are followed by France, Italy and Great Britain.

The US Women’s World Trophy team dropped one spot back to sixth place. That team is represented by riders Mandi Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Brooke Hodges.

The US Wellard three-rider club team, made up of Nick Fahringer, Jimmy Jarrett and Ryan Sipes, moved up one place to second behind the efforts of Sipes who won the overall for the day in the C2 class that he rides in.

The next top finishing US club team is the team who moved up to fifth place, two more places then they had finished Day-one and Day-two. That team is made up of riders Ian Blythe, Alex Dorsey and Justin Sode.

All 30 of the US riders that started the day finished.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

Day-two penalties plaque US trophy teams

US Trophy Team rider Mike Brown replaces his clutch durning the first check on Day-two.

US Trophy Team rider Mike Brown replaces his clutch durning the first check on Day-two.

Day-two photo link here:!i=2805000995&k=gbmXc3L

by Steve Berkner

More Day-two photos here:

Day-two of the Italian International Six Days Enduro saw both the US World Trophy Team and the Junior Trophy Team drop one place in their overall standings after both teams were assessed rider penalties. The US Trophy Team is now in third place and the US Junior Team dropped to fourth.

US Team manger Antti Kallonen said, ”We had a couple of hiccups today were (US Trophy Team rider Thad Duvall was docked 60 seconds for going the wrong way on the course and )US Junior Team rider Kailub Russell lost 120 seconds for going into a check two minutes late.”

Kallonen said that he was less concerned about the US Trophy Team moving back up in the overall team standings where without Duvall’s penalty the team would have added time to their lead over Australia were they now hold a 15 second lead over the US Trophy Team riders.

Kallonen said, “(As far as the Trophy Team competition goes) its way too soon to talk about anybody running away with it, as we’ve seen anything can happen. (Without Duvall’s penalty) our trophy team’s times (were good enough) to pull ahead of both the Australians and the Italians (who where in fourth after Day-one.)” The French team now holds nearly a 5 minute lead over both the Australian and US teams.

Kallonen continued, “I’m a little more concerned about our Junior Team because even without (Russell’s) penalty they would have lost their (third place) position to Great Britain where now I’m afraid they have a race ahead of them to move back up.” The US Junior Team now trails Great Britain by 4 minutes and 6 seconds; France is in first followed by Italy.

Kallonen said, “For now we are not going to spend any time blaming anybody for losing these points. These were both silly penalties that we can’t do anything about so we are just going to move forward.

“For tomorrow (Day-three) we use most of the same course (as Day-one and Day-two) so at least everybody is familiar with the conditions and the terrain. Everybody is struggling with going fast as the test conditions are getting worse but it’s the same for everybody.”

Day-two of the Italian ISDE saw the US Women’s World Trophy Team move up one position to fifth place.

Individually US Trophy Team rider Taylor Robert was the “Top American” rider over two days where he moved up one place to 4th place overall. His teammate Charlie Mullins moved up two places where he is now in 7th overall.

The 31 rider US team lost its first rider today when Ryan Kudla failed to start the event due to a shoulder injury he suffered prior to the start of the event.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

US ISDE Trophy Team 2nd, Juniors 3rd, Wellard Club Team 3rd after Day-one

Members of the US Junior and World Trophy Teams await the begining of Day-one.

Members of the US Junior and World Trophy Teams await the begining of Day-one.

More Day-one US ISDE Team photos here:

by Steve Berkner

The 31-rider US ISDE team got off to a good start on the first day of the 88th International Six Days Enduro being held in Olbia, Italy, where the US Trophy Team sit in second place. The US Junior Trophy Team (for riders 23 and under) and the Wellard three-rider club team sat in 3rd place each in their own respective team classes at the end of Day-one.

The premier US World Trophy Team was lead by “Top American” Taylor Robert, who rode to a fifth place finish for the day in the E2 class and sixth overall in the “scratch” competition which combines all riders test scores for the day. The US team trailed France by 1 minute 15 seconds and held an 11 second lead over Australia and a 13 second lead of fourth place finishing Italy.

US Team manger Antti Kallonen said of the US Trophy Teams efforts, “Our preparations that we did at home and the week here have really paid off. But there are still 4 long days ahead and then the final moto on the sixth day. So we still have our work cut out for us. Right now we have to recover from Day-one, rest up a little bit and do again what we did today.

“Our goal is to have 5 riders in the top 15 everyday and today we had five in the top 20 and that was good enough for 2nd. For tomorrow we have to stay focused on meeting our goal of five riders finishing in the top 15. Hopefully we can get the 6th rider in there as well incase we loose one of our riders.” In ISDE team competition the lowest riders score in each of the trophy team classes, World, Junior and Women’s, is dropped from the team’s tally each day.

In all five of the US World Trophy Team’s six riders made the overall top 20 for the day with Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown and Kurt Caselli joining Taylor in that category. Remaining US Trophy Team rider Thad Duvall had front brake problems which relegated him to a respectable 32nd place overall considering his bikes mechanical problems.

The four-rider US Junior Team was led by Kailub Russell who finished 10th in the E2 class where his score was good enough to be the fastest rider of all of the “Junior Team” riders.

Kallonen said, “The junior team did very well today also. We’re still waiting to see individual scores but it looks like Kailub Russell was the fastest junior rider. Again they were all consistent and we’re looking for them to do the same thing tomorrow for Day-two.” Joining Russell on the US Junior Team is Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor.

Delong said, “Kailub, Jesse and Grant all did a good job and now we know what to expect so it should go better. It’s a tough event to train for as most of us just got done running a national enduro back home and then we have to fly here and adjust to this format.”

The US Wellard three-rider club team, Jimmy Jarrett, Ryan Sipes and Nick Fahringer, finished the first day of the six day competition with overall day scores good enough for third place with Fahringer finishing 3rd in the C3 class and Jarrett and Sipes finishing 5th and 6th place respectively in the C2 class.

Ryan Sipes, who is riding in his first ISDE said, “I has a real good time, I crashed hard a couple of times, mostly due to dust, but I still had a good time. It was a lot of fun on the transfer sections where you could just ride and have some fun. I went in a little bit early and got a penalty point (60 seconds) but I won’t do that again.

The US Women’s Team, made up off riders Mandi Mastin, Rachel Gutish and Brooke Hodges, finished the day intact but struggled to do much better than 6th place, but still less than 4 minutes behind the French team, whom finished in third place. Australia and Sweden lead the Women’s World Trophy Team division.

Mastin said, “Today had a little bit of everything, it had some easy trail, fast tests and a couple big hill climbs. I haven’t had a chance to see the scores yet but I know I need to make some more adjustments to my suspension. I got it close but I need a little more time to get it right. The biggest problem is the dust.”

Day-two of the ISDE runs the same course as Day-one.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

2013 ISDE opening ceremonies welcomes 31 teams

The 31 rider US ISDE Team and their support crews walk into the Opening Ceremonies area Saturday night.

The 31 rider US ISDE Team and their support crews walk into the Opening Ceremonies area Saturday night.

Impound photo link here:

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013