Story and photos by Mark Kariya
Day Five at the 92nd International Six Days Enduro in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, saw the U.S. ISDE team make incremental steps forward in the standings.
The host country still leads both the FIM World Trophy and Junior World Trophy classes, and the American representatives simply maintained team position for the most part. The U.S. World Trophy team remained near the bottom of the order since losing Thad Duvall to injury on the first day. France’s lead over current runner-up Italy is more than seven and a half minutes while Finland is an additional two and a half minutes behind the Italians.
On the other hand, the U.S. Juniors are a near lock for a podium behind France and Italy, though with only the final motocross tests to run tomorrow, it’s unlikely positions will change, barring a catastrophe.
Brandy Richards and U.S. Women’s Trophy team teammates Kacy Martinez-Coy and Becca Sheets have learned a lot in a short time. This is the first ISDE for all three, yet Richards won two tests today and ended up second overall woman for the day.
While American Taylor Robert continued to control E3, he found himself six seconds further adrift overall. Combined with French rider Loic Larrieu getting a gift in the form of a rescinded penalty and now leading both E2 as well as the overall individual standings, Robert is now third overall behind Larrieu and E1 leader Josep Garcia of Spain. Curiously, no one else in the top 10 is an E3 entrant.
“I was off [pace] in the first test then the second test is super-tight,” Robert said. “Honestly⏤not to make any excuses⏤but I just had a lot of bike in that test! It’s like the tightest [test] we’ve had all week and I was just struggling to turn on that [KTM 500 XC-F of mine]. I lost quite a bit of time in the first two tests then the last three tests I rode really good and kind of made some time back up. Me and Kailub [Russell] and [Daniel] Milner [from Australia] are winning the Manufacturer’s Cup [for KTM] so there’s a few positives out of it, just not the big one. But anything could happen tomorrow, I guess.”
The U.S. Juniors continued their good run, though they’re not quite within striking distance of the French who are two minutes and nine seconds ahead. It’s unlikely that gap will go away completely. Italy is 1:41 ahead of the U.S. trio.
Ben Kelley once again led the way for the SRT Off-road team, who moved up to third today, combined with the efforts of Ty Tremaine and Cody Webb.
Looking strictly at the day’s result, though, it buoys American hopes as Italy won the class for the day, 16 seconds ahead of France while the U.S. was a tick under 10 seconds behind.
Where the U.S. team really shined to day was in Women’s World Trophy. While the three girls didn’t pass the leading Australians as a team, Brandy Richards won two tests and finished the day second overall to Laia Sanz of Spain, who is the fastest overall woman after five days and a Six Days veteran. For Richards and teammates Kacy Martinez-Coy and Becca Sheets, on the other hand, it’s the first ISDE for all.
After sitting in fourth all week, the SRT Off-road team moved to third in the Club ranking behind an Italian club and one from Wales, which includes GNCC regular Jason Thomas. Ben Kelley once again led the way for not only the team but all American Club riders, finishing the day fifth overall. Ty Tremaine claimed 12th and Cody Webb finished 15th.
For the week, Kelley is fourth and 23.61 seconds behind third place holder Welshman Jamie Lewis. Tremaine is 10th for the week so far with Webb 18th.