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U.S. Trophy Team slips to third at ISDE

October 04, 2013

Story and photos by Steve Berkner | Click here for additional photos from the 2013 ISDE 

Day 4 of the International Six Days Enduro in Olbia, Italy, saw the U.S. Trophy Team give up its second-place position to Australia. The American team again sits in third place while France continues its dominance in the World Trophy Team division.

The back-and-forth second-place battle between the U.S. and the Australians, which has seen each team lead the other two times over the first four days of the six-day event, has come down to which team can make the fewer mistakes. France now leads both the U.S. and Australian teams by just over 11 minutes.

“Unfortunately, we did loose some time to Australia today where we now trail them by 45 seconds," said U.S. ISDE Team Manager Antti Kallonen. "Our riders have still been very consistent in their test scores. Like I predicted yesterday, I’m sure it’s going to come down to the wire with Australia as we are very evenly matched.”

U.S. Trophy Team rider Mike Brown navigates a water crossing on Day 4.

Much of that time was lost to clutch problems encountered by trophy team rider Mike Brown who had to change out his second clutch for the week. By the end of the day, Brown had replaced his clutch.

“Right now, everything is good to go for the next two days,” Brown said.

Brown’s misfortunes dropped him from fifth in E3 through Day 3 to seventh E3 rider on Day 4.

“France is still advancing on both of us, but all they have to do is lose a key rider and both of us could possibly challenge them," Kallonen said. "Then it will come down to the final moto where on paper we have the edge as we have more experienced motocrossers. But first we have to get through Day 5.”

Rounding out the top five in the World Trophy Team division are Italy and Spain.

U.S. Trophy Team rider Thad Duvall.

This year’s U.S. Trophy Team is being represented by Brown, Taylor Robert, Zach Osborne, whom were all pro-class motocrossers back in the United States, as well as Thad Duvall, Charlie Mullins and Team Captain Kurt Caselli.

After four days of competition, Robert remains top American in eighth place overall.

In the Junior Team category, the U.S. team remained in fourth behind first-place France, second-place Italy and third-place Great Britain.

“We are still struggling to move up, but considering there are two new riders [on the four-rider team], they are doing pretty good," Kallonen said. "Kailub Russell has been doing very well for his first Six Days. His scores are holding up where he was in the top five of the Juniors for the day.”

Joining Russell on the team are Andrew Delong, Jesse Groemm and Grant Baylor.

U.S. Junior Trophy Team rider Kailub Russell has turned in some impressive times during his first Six Days where his overall times have him in the top five of his division.

The U.S. Women’s Trophy Team remained in sixth place.

“Today was the toughest day by far," said U.S. women’s team rider Brooke Hodges. "We all had a few trail points today. It was mostly single track with a couple of road sections thrown in, opposite of what Day 1, 2 and 3 were like."

“Yesterday [Day 3] was a really rough day for me, even though the trails were tougher today, mentally, yesterday was harder for me," Hodges said. "I’m really looking forward to getting tomorrow over with and on to the final moto.”

Along with Hodges, this year’s U.S. women’s team roster is made up of Mandi Mastin and Rachel Gutish.

The U.S. Wellard Club team, made up of riders Ryan Sipes, Nick Fahringer and Jimmy Jarrett, continued their quest for that club team championship where the team finished the day in second place.

“The Wellard team has been doing very well with all three riders turning in very respectable times," Kallonen said. "Sipes is doing extremely well where he now leads the C2 division. Some of his test times would hold up very well in the Trophy Team division.

“Tomorrow is the last hard day, so a lot of energy and effort has to go into it. Day 6 is just a 15-minute motocross test.”

GoFasters.com club rider Justin Sode rides a paved road section on Day-four. His three-rider club team, made up of himself, Ian Blythe and Alex Dorsey, is in fifth place.

U.S. club team rider Sam Buffa receives tools while performing his end-of-day tire change.

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