By Steve Berkner
NAVARRA, Spain – The U.S. National Enduro Team was the last official team to impound their motorcycles Monday evening, as the 28-rider team readied itself for Tuesday’s 8:15 a.m. start for the 91st International Six Days Enduro.
U.S. riders Fred Hoess (right) and Jimmy Jarrett look over Hoess’ vintage motorcycle. Photo by Steve Berkner
Five hundred four riders from 29 countries are ready for their quest for the gold.
Since arriving in Navarra almost a week ago, the American squad of riders and support people, which numbers more than 100, has been busy preparing for what is known to many as the “Olympics of Motorcycling.”
Along with making final preparations to their motorcycles, a majority of the American Six Days riders has been walking special tests to better acquaint themselves with what lies ahead. Day One of the competition is slated to be 192 miles, with riders scheduled to be on the course for more than eight hours.
“It's part of our routine. We spend part of our day in the work area but the majority of our time is spent walking tests,” U.S. World Trophy rider Kailub Russell said of the daily ritual of walking tests. “So far, we’ve walked them all at least a couple of times. With the three special tests to be used on Day One and Day Two (which are identical), we’ve walked them each at least four times, and, if we think it will make a difference for Day Two, we’ll walk them all again tomorrow night.”
But the preparation does not stop there.
“After a full day of riding on Day Two, we’ll walk the Day Three and Day Four stuff a couple times, so we can keep it fresh in our minds,” Russell said. “We’ll do the same thing to better prepare for Day Five.”
Monday also marked the first day of preparation for the lone U.S. competitor in the Enduro Vintage Trophy class, 25-time Six Days participant Fred Hoess.
Hoess, who is 51 years old and competed in his first Six Days in 1985, said he just couldn’t pass up the chance to ride another Six Days after earning his 20th gold medal last year during the Slovakian ISDE. He announced then that it would be his last Six Days.
Hoess said, “When it came out that this year they’d have a vintage class with a shortened version of a typical Six Days, I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’
“The newest bike that they’d allow was an ’86 model, and I actually found a 1986 Husqvarna WR250 that I owned and raced back in the U.S. (in 1986) and bought it back from its (last) owner.”
The vintage class, which has more than 130 riders entered, begins on Friday and runs on its own course for three consecutive days. The vintage class participants will compete in their own special tests during the Spanish Six Days final motocross tests.