Team USA readies for 2013 Italian Six Days

Most of the US ISDE team arrived earlier this week at the Olbia, Italy, airport, where they were greeted "Welcome" signs and short lines.

Most of the US ISDE team arrived earlier this week at the Olbia, Italy, airport, where they were greeted “Welcome” signs and short lines.

Pre-impound photo links here: http://berkyboy.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/ITALY-ISDE-2013-Pre-impound/32143761_jb4bwB

and here:   http://berkyboy.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/ITALY-ISDE-2013-Impound/32164103_Z5hNwV

by Steve Berkner

U.S. riders began their final preparations this week for the 88th running of the International Six Days Enduro being held on the Italian island of Sardinia, which starts Monday, Sept. 30.

This year’s U.S. ISDE Team is lead by Trophy Team rider Kurt Caselli. Caselli will lead the 31 U.S. riders from the start of the port city of Olbia, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea.

U.S. ISDE Team Manager Antti Kallonen summed up the week’s activities.

“Preparations have been going well and everything is falling into place,” Kallonen says. “The container was one day late, but everybody used the free day to start walking tests a little earlier. Sometimes you have to be careful when you point out how smooth things are going, but [preparation] is one of the things that we tried to improve on over last year.”

Kallonen said that the riders are ready to go.

“This year we have everybody healthy going into the start, which is a very good thing,” he said. “Motorcrosser Zach Osborne is our only first-time rider [for the Trophy Team], and even he brings a lot to the team where he has shown [this year] that he can be competitive. Zach is riding with Caselli, Taylor Robert, Charlie Mullins, Mike Brown and Thad Duvall. All of them make up one of our strongest ISDE teams in a while and again, most importantly, we are healthy and things are going very well this week.”

Kallonen says that he also has big expectations for the U.S. Junior Trophy Team.

“We’ve got a very strong junior team this year,” he says. “It is led by Andrew Delong and Jesse Groemm, who were both on the Junior Team last year where they finished third in Germany. They are joined by first year [ISDE] riders Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor.”

This year the U.S. Women’s Trophy Team includes riders Amanda Mastin and Rachel Gutish. Both rode on last year’s women’s team. Brooke Hodges is a newcomer.

The remaining U.S. ISDE Team is made up of six three-rider club teams. The U.S. club teams are headlined by the U.S. Wellard Club Team, which includes riders Jimmy Jarrett, Nick Fahringer and Ryan Sipes.

Notably, American rider Jeff Fredette will be starting his 33rd Six Days where he will attempt to further his perfect finishing record that began in 1978. This is the fourth time Fredette has ridden an Italian Six Days.

The U.S. team will be impounding their bikes late Friday afternoon. Opening ceremonies are Saturday evening with Sunday scheduled as a “free day” for riders and work crews.

Six-hundred and twenty seven riders from 36 different countries will be competing in this year’s Six Days.

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