US ISDE Team impounds, prepares for start

After a week of preperation US riders assemble the proper paperwork before impounding their motorcycles.

After a week of preperation US riders assemble the proper paperwork before impounding their motorcycles.

Impound photo link here!i=2795566557&k=NngMDD8

by Steve Berkner

The 31-rider U.S. ISDE team made it into impound late Friday evening without any problems. Spirits were high after finishing up a week of race preparations for the 88th International Six Days Enduro that is being held in Olbia, Italy.

U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen has high praise for the overall team effort.

“Sometime it can be a long week if things don’t go well, but this week everything came together,” he says. “We have a couple of riders that are waiting for some parts to make it through customs, but they’ve made arraignments to at least impound their bikes and swap out the parts when they get here.”Kallonen says the riders have been using their time well.

“The team has been working hard all week with getting to know each other, setting their bikes up and walking tests. Now that the bikes are in impound we can concentrate on walking a few more test and getting rested up and ready for the start on Monday,” he adds. “To our riders, Six Days is still a different kind of race where we have to quickly adjust to the European style enduro format and rules to be competitive. This week we’ve done our best to be ready on the first day. Some of our Trophy riders have been walking as much as 18 miles [of tests] a day just to be better prepared.”

The riders have gotten a good feel for the conditions on the Italian course, Kallonen says.

“The soil here is loose on top with a harder layer underneath,” he says. “It’s going to be very dusty and all of the riders are going to have to take the time to get to know how to ride this type of soil. This is going to be true for everyone where I don’t think the team leading at the end of day one is absolutely going to be the one that is leading at the end of day six.”

U.S. ISDE Team Captain Kurt Caselli and 10-time ISDE rider says that he’s confident in the team’s chances.

“Where we are right now is really good,” he says. “All the bikes are in, they all past sound and now we can concentrate on riding. It was the smoothest week leading up to impound I’ve ever experienced. Now we can concentrate of walking a few more tests and spot walking those sections that we don’t feel comfortable with. The whole team has been working hard all week, even the newer guys like Zach Osborne, Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes. They’re all working hard on trying to learn the routine.”Caselli says the team atmosphere is evident.

“It’s so nice to see where we are as a team and country today,” he says. “We’ve come a long way over the years and regardless of how we finish we’ve got a real organized effort today, and that’s what it takes to be competitive.”

Impound photo link here!i=2795566557&k=NngMDD8

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

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:

and here:

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.

Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013

AMA announces 2013 US ISDE Team

There are three premier teams that represent the U.S. at the ISDE. The World Trophy Team features six riders who compete in all three displacement classes that contest the ISDE: the E1 class, which features 100cc to 125cc two-stroke and 175cc to 250cc four-stroke motorcycles; the E2 class, which features 175cc to 250cc two-stroke and 290cc to 450cc four-stroke motorcycles; and the E3 class, which features 290cc to 500cc two-stroke and 475cc to 650cc four-stroke motorcycles.

The Junior Trophy Team fields four riders younger than 23 years old, competing in a minimum of two classes, and the Women’s Trophy Team fields three riders. Also part of the U.S. team are members on various club teams made up of riders from all over the country.

Traveling and competing in the ISDE is an expensive undertaking, and many riders have to race on their own dime. In some cases, riders have provided contact information so you can learn more about helping back their program. For those riders, hyperlinks are provided below.

World Trophy Team

Michael Brown, Kurt Caselli, Thaddeus Duvall, Charlie Mullins, Zach Osborne and Taylor Robert

Junior Trophy Team

Grant Baylor, Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Kailub Russell

Women’s Trophy Team

Rachel Gutish, Brooke Hodges, Mandi Mastin

Senior Club Team (Team JAFMAR Racing)

Scott Bright, Jeff Fredette, Brian T. Storrie

Club Teams

  • Wellard Team (Nich Fahringer, Jimmy Jarrett, Ryan Sipes)
  • (Ian Blythe, Alex Dorsey, Justin Sode)
  • DeWITT Powersports (Jeff O’Leary, Shawn O’Leary, Jeremy Shoning)
  • Tony Agonis team (Keith Curtis, Fred Hoess, Josh Knight)
  • AMA District 37 (Sam Buffa, Trevor Kline, Ryan Kudla).
Posted in Six Days of Italy 2013
Posted in Six Days of Germany 2012

Posted in Six Days of Germany 2012

U.S. team rebounds on final day of German Six Days

L-R: U.S. Junior Team riders Andrew Delong, Travis Coy, Thad Duvall, Jesse Groemm

The U.S. International Six Days Enduro Trophy and Junior teams finished strong during the final motocross test at the 2012 Six Days in Saxony, Germany. The U.S. Trophy Team moved up to fourth overall and the Junior Team took home a third-place podium finish.

“Our trophy team came up a little short on meeting our goal of making the podium,” said U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen. “But they moved up from sixth to fourth in the final motocross test. The team never gave up and pushed hard overtaking two teams (Spain and Finland) on the final day.

U.S. Trophy Team rider Charlie Mullins

“Mike Brown did an excellent job winning his moto and Charlie (Mullins) and Taylor (Robert) had good final motos as well. The whole team did,” Kallonen added. “It’s not much of a consolation when you come up just short of the podium, but it shows they never gave up.”

Kallonen said that injuries played a significant factor in the U.S. team’s performance this year.

“We still have to be pleased pulling off a fourth place finish with three of our six guys — Kurt (Caselli), Taylor and Charlie — being hurt,” he said. “It proves this team was a good starting point. We need to work at getting up to speed faster instead of it taking a couple of days to figure things out.”

Destry Abbott and Russell Bobbitt rounded out the six-rider US Trophy Team.

The top three finishing teams in the World Trophy Team division were France, Australia and Italy.

France (center), Great Britain (left) and the U.S. Junior Team at the final awards ceremony

“The Junior Team did excellent with its third-place finish,” Kallonen said. “Only one of their riders (Andrew Delong) had previous Six Days experience, and we used this team to give our younger, faster riders a chance to ride a Six Days. Maybe it’s a stepping stone to getting them on our Trophy Team, as they all have to start somewhere.

“Junior team rider Thad Duvall really came through for the team,” Kallonen added. “He showed he was more than ready. He had good tests scores, he was in good physical condition and he could work on his bike.  His teammate Andrew Delong did extremely well, as did Jesse Groemm and Travis Coy. They all worked hard and they deserve the third place finish they got.”

Finishing ahead of the U.S. team were France and Great Britain.

U.S. Club team rider Jeff Fredette finished his 32nd Six Days — a world record finishing tally that just keeps growing.

Mandi Mastin was the only U.S. women’s rider to finish this year’s ISDE. Her teammates Rachel Gutish and Sarah Whitmore both retired on day four when an overnight rain made long uphill sections of the course nearly impassable for riders that lost momentum or stalled out. Gutish and Whitmore both were riding injured, and both houred out.

The U.S. Women’s Trophy Team finished sixth.

Day four also saw the retirement of U.S. Club team rider Scott Bright, who crashed hard on one of the muddy transfer sections where he broke three ribs, cracked two vertebrae and suffered a partially collapsed long. He was released from the hospital in time to watch the final moto on day six.

U.S. Club team rider Fred Hoess (fourth from right) at the start of his final moto

The U.S. Wellard club team, made up of Fred Hoess, Jordan Brandt and John Barber, finished in 13th place.

“It was a tough Six Days,” Kallonen said. “Any rider who finished deserves the medal they got, as it was a very difficult event. Overall we didn’t meet all our goals, but we can learn from our performance here and build for the future.

“To be good at Six Days you obviously have to have the talent,” Kallonen said. “It has to come from the heart to make the podium, especially when you have some injuries. It was nice to see the U.S. Team never give up.”

U.S. Medals at 2012 ISDE

  • Taylor Robert – Gold    Mike Brown – Gold
  • Thad Duvall – Gold
  • Kurt Caselli – Gold
  • Andrew Delong – Gold
  • Destry Abbott – Gold
  • Russell Bobbitt – Gold
  • Jesse Groemm – Gold
  • Jordan Brandt – Gold
  • Fred Hoess – Gold
  • Devan Bolin – Gold
  • Zach Klamfoth – Gold
  • Brian Storrie – Silver
  • Reid Brown – Silver
  • Derek Steahly – Silver
  • John Barber – Silver
  • Jeff Fredette – Silver
  • Ron Schmelzle – Silver
  • Billy Burns – Silver
  • Joshua Knight – Silver
  • Michael Jolly – Silver
  • John Maier – Silver
  • Charlie Mullins – Bronze
  • Travis Coy – Bronze
  • Mandi Mastin – Bronze
  • Nick Canny – Bronze
  • Brian Chris Storrie – Finish
  • Rachel Gutish – Retired day four
  • Sarah Whitmore – Retired day four
  • Scott Bright – Retired day four
  • Nick Hamill – Retired day three
Posted in Six Days of Germany 2012

U.S. riders bounce back on day five of ISDE

U.S. Women's Team rider Mandi Mastin.

U.S. Women’s Team rider Mandi Mastin.

The U.S. International Six Days Enduro team saved its best performance for the penultimate day of the German ISDE. The team put in its best results on day five of the six-day event.

“We’re real happy with the results of the Junior Team, which has a solid lock on third,” said U.S. Team manager Antti Kallonen. “We knew we had a good group of riders, but we only had one returning rider with Six Days experience in Andrew (Delong). He, with first year riders Thad (Duvall), Jesse (Groemm) and Travis (Coy), came through. All they have to do is finish the final moto without any problems, and the results will be final.”

U.S. Junior Team rider Thad Duvall.

U.S. Junior Team rider Thad Duvall.

The third-place U.S. Junior team has an insurmountable gap to make up to move up in the final standings where France and Great Britain are ahead of the U.S. team by 14 minutes, 37 seconds, and 11 minutes, 45 seconds, respectively. However, the U.S. Junior Team enjoys a 15 minute, 30 second, lead over Australia in fourth.

“The whole week has just been a lot of fun even though day four was a little tough,” said U.S. Junior Team rider Jesse Groemm. “I’ve learned a lot this week about how to ride at Six Days. I was just trying too hard in the beginning, and my scores weren’t quite good enough.

“Other than that, it has been a great experience, especially when you’re riding through a small town and a whole bunch of people are lined up to watch you go by and they’re waving and screaming and giving you high fives.”

Kallonen said that injuries played a role in how the U.S. Trophy Team’s week has played out so far.

“If you’re looking for something on the bright side our scores today show that we had the right team coming here as (they) had their best scores for the week and lived up to their potential,” Kallonen said. “But with the injuries of Caselli (on day one), Robert (on day three) and Mullins (on day four), and a slower-than-average start, our overall finish is a little disappointing. But today’s results show that the team never gave up where they are still giving it their best even though making it on the podium is all but out of reach.”

U.S. Trophy Team rider Charlie Mullins, who led the U.S. Team’s efforts for the first three days before getting hurt on day four, said that he was able to ride with a taped shoulder.

“I know to some people it probably sounds like it’s pointless to go out and ride with no chance of getting (the team) back on the podium, but I really wanted to finish for myself and for the team,” he said.

Mullins rode the day for the third fastest time in the E2 class, his best performance for the week.

“Right now I’m not real excited about even riding a motorcycle tomorrow (for the final moto) but I’ll take a couple days off once we get back to the states,” Mullins added.

U.S. Trophy Team rider Taylor Robert, who currently has the best overall score for any American rider for this year’s Six Days, said that he’s enjoyed the week.

“The week has been really tough, but it has also been a lot of fun riding with these guys,” he said. “I’m not much of a rider when it comes to riding on the slippery roots and rocks, which is something I don’t have back home where I live in Arizona, but I got through it. I wish we could have had a healthier team and a little better start. It really sucked when Kurt and Charlie got hurt. I hope we get a chance to ride another Six Days together.”

Day six has only a final moto test that will be held at the Sachsenring racing circuit, and 60% of the test will take place on the tarmac raceway.

“Our riders have to be careful (in the final moto),” Kallonen said. “We’re not used to racing on asphalt so precautions need to be made to not make mistakes.”

Day five saw all 27 U.S. riders that started the day finish, with the U.S. Wellard three-rider club team moving up one position from 14th to 13th.

Posted in Six Days of Germany 2012