By Steve Berkner
NAVARRA, Spain – For this first time in the 91-year history of the International Six Days Enduro, the United States the World Trophy, defeating second-place Great Britain by 3 minutes, 38.66 seconds.
The Czech Republic finished third, 29 minutes, 42.34 seconds behind the Americans.
The first-place U.S. Trophy Team (left to right) Thad Duvall, Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell and Layne Michaels. Photo by Steve Berkner
U.S. rider Taylor Robert claimed the overall title by besting Australia’s Daniel Sanders by just 17.9 seconds. Josep Garcia of Spain finished the individual overall in third, 46.24 seconds behind Robert.
“We’ve finally got it done,” said U.S. National Off-road Enduro Team manager Antti Kallonen. “Not only did we win the world championship, but we also won the (individual) overall. All of our (trophy team) guys did exactly as we had hoped. Taylor was phenomenal winning the overall. It’s just as special as last year when Ryan Sipes won the overall except this year we also won the championship.”
Robert said, “Obviously, the whole week was successful for the team and for me. We all had our problems–even I only won one day–but we all rode consistently, and that was the key.”
Kallonen said Trophy Team riders “did what we expected them to do.”
“Kailub (Russell) and Thad (Duvall) rode extremely well,” he said. “But we have to identify what Layne Michaels did for the team. At the last minute, Layne was the rider who was asked to fill in for Ryan (Sipes, last year’s overall ISDE champion) who got hurt the day before we were scheduled to travel to Spain.
“I know he was a little nervous, but all we asked him to do was ride consistently,” Kallonen explained. “He did more than that, as he got better each day, working his way up.”
Over the six days of competition, Michaels moved from 41st to 21st place overall.
The U.S. Junior Trophy Team–Trevor Bollinger and brothers Grant and Steward Baylor–also made the podium. They worked their way from a fourth-place finish on Day One to second place, behind Sweden, which bested the U.S. team by 45.23 seconds. Italy finished third, 4 minutes, 21.5 seconds behind the American team.
“Going into the final-moto, we were down 27 seconds, and Trevor nailed his moto and picked up something like six seconds,” Grant Baylor said. “Then, Stew and I went out in our moto and weren’t able to make up any time. Both Swedish riders got out in front of us.
“It’s a real bummer to make our way up to second and get within 21 seconds and not get it done,” he continued. “You think back over the week to all the mistakes you made. Individually, we did pretty well. We both finished in the top 20.”
Steward Baylor finished 18th overall, while Grant Baylor finished 20th.
The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team–Tarah Gieger, Nicole Bradford and Racheal Gutish–finished fourth, more than 32 minutes behind the Australian women’s team. The Australians have won four consecutive ISDE titles.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Gieger said after finishing her first Six days. “I’m getting to the end of my motocross carrier, and I need to look at the next thing to do.
“I can see by competing here (on the U.S. Women’s Trophy Team) that we have a lot to do to get up to the level of the Australians and the Europeans, but I think it’s something we can do. If we can put together the right teams, we should be able to at least consistently make the podium.”
Gutish DNF’d on Day Four with a mechanical problem, the only U.S. rider not to finish this year’s ISDE.
In the three-rider club team division, the United States placed two teams in the top three, behind an Italian club team. The Trail Jesters team–Josh Toth, Ben Kelley and Jason Klammer–finished second, and the Eric Cleveland Memorial team–Jimmy Jarrett, Broc Hepler and Alex Dorsey–finished third.
Toth was the overall fastest individual club team rider for this year’s ISDE, riding in the C1 class. Kelley won the C2 class. and Hepler placed third in the C3 class.
“My week went extremely well,” Toth said. “I didn’t really have any troubles, and to finish in second (in the club team division) and winning the (club team) overall, I’m real happy. It’s so exciting to be part of this year’s whole US Team, especially when you take in what the Taylor, the trophy team and the juniors did.”
This year’s ISDE was the first for the FIM’s Enduro Vintage Trophy, in which American Fred Hoess, competing on a 1986 WR250 Husqvarna, won the overall.
Hoess has competed in 25 Six Days prior to this year’s special vintage competition.
“You know, I rode here in Spain in 1985 on (basically) the same bike I rode this year and I’d have to say on Day Five, when we were riding in the mountains and you’d look up at the scenery and smell the two-stroke oil and the smell of burning clutch plates, I’d swear just for a second I was back in Spain and it was 1985 again,” Hoess said.