Story and photos by Mark Kariya
All three of the U.S. ISDE Trophy teams solidified their runner-up position in their respective standings Wednesday at the 93rd International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Vina del Mar, Chile.
After seeing a new loop with new tests and fresh challenges, the members of the U.S. ISDE World Trophy team (Steward Baylor, Zach Bell, Taylor Robert and Ryan Sipes) put in good rides but lost ground to the Australian World Trophy team. The margin between the two teams grew to 3:23.47 seconds.
Taylor Robert continues to lead the E2 Class but forfeited the individual lead to Australia's Daniel Milner, the E3 class leader and former AMA GNCC regular. Milner won or was second fastest in the day's five tests, while Robert was 16.22 seconds slower for the day. He now trails Milner by 13.26 seconds after three days while the U.S. World Trophy team is 3:23.47 behind the Australian World Trophy team.
Australian World Trophy team rider and former AMA Grand National Cross Country Series competitor Daniel Milner edged Robert for top individual honors for the day and passed the American leader in the overall standings as well. Robert remains the E2 Class leader, while Milner leads the E3 class.
The American Junior World Trophy team (Grant Baylor, Ben Kelley and Josh Toth) lost time to leader Italy on Wednesday, with the gap growing to 3:27.46 by the end of the day. Toth has been playing catch up all week after slamming his face on his handlebar Monday and taking a chunk out of his tongue.
"It's hard to compete with the guys up front when I'm braking on the straightaways and I can't see anything," Toth said.
After a bad start to the week, U.S. Junior World Trophy team rider Josh Toth has made huge gains and found himself the third-fastest Junior and 13th-fastest individual for the day Wednesday. That'll help since it gives him an earlier start Thursday, meaning less dust and slower riders to pass in the tests. The U.S. Junior World Trophy team remains second behind Italy, though the gap grew to 3:27.46 Wednesday.
He improved his overall individual standing on Wednesday, finishing 13th compared to 30th on Tuesday. Toth was the third-fastest Junior of the day behind riders from Italy and host nation Chile.
U.S. Women's Trophy team rider Brandy Richard enjoyed a banner day, finishing just three seconds back of perennial leader Tayla Jones of the leading Australian Women's World Trophy team. Richard, Tarah Gieger and Becca Sheets maintained their second place in the standings, but their gap to the Australian team grew to 6:17.34.
Though Becca Sheets and teammates Brandy Richards and Tarah Gieger had pretty decent tests, getting stuck on one particular hill behind several of the slower Trophy riders cost them many minutes. They ended up ceding time to the Australian Women's World Trophy team, though the U.S. trio is comfortably ahead of third-place Spain.
"On [the] La Gloria [test] the second time around, we girls kind of got hung up with some [of the slower] Trophy riders," Sheets said. "They made really bad dust on this hill. It really wasn't even that hard of a hill, but you couldn't see through the dust until you got to the top of it where people were crashed and once you got to the top of it, you couldn't make it [because of riders laying in the trail]. I think almost every girl in the front had a struggle there. I lost three minutes there today and Tarah lost six minutes there today on the one hill!"
Though Cooper Abbott (left) put in another solid day, Destry Abbott had a race-ending crash early in the day and will switch to supporting his son for the rest of the week-as much as his sore back and neck will allow anyway.
Angel Urushima is a proud U.S. ISDE team supporter.
The U.S. Club team Elizabeth Scott Community had a tough day Wednesday, losing Destry Abbott who crashed out early. The five-time AMA Hare & Hound National Champion got pitched off his motorcycle and thrown down a hill, injuring his neck and back. He was able to remount and ride an hour to the next check, where the pain made clear he'd have to accept a DNF in his 10th ISDE appearance.
"I honestly didn't come here with the highest expectations," Abbott said. "I'm still recovering. My body's still not where it should be [after finishing chemo just last month]. I'm bummed because this'll probably be my last one. I wanted to end on a good note, but that's the way racing goes."
Watch video highlights from Day Two of the 2018 FIM ISDE: youtu.be/a5Wz_4Iksz0