Story and photos by Mark Kariya
Though team victories eluded the U.S. ISDE team this year at the 92nd International Six Days Enduro in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, the teams are not disappointed with a second, two thirds and a class win.
France won both the FIM World Trophy and Junior World Trophy divisions while settling for third in Women’s World Trophy.
The U.S. World Trophy team was destined for the basement after losing Thad Duvall to injury on the first day. Finishing 16th out of 19 countries was as good as the team could finish.
With the team title out of reach, the goal became getting the three remaining riders⏤Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes⏤class wins.
Robert achieved part of his goal and came away the E3 victor, though after being last year’s E2 and overall individual winner, he had to settle for being third overall.
Early in the Women’s World Trophy moto with Brandy Richards taking aim at early leader Laia Sanz. Rookie Richards made the pass to win the moto though Sanza topped the women for the week. The Americans finished second behind five-time winner Australia in the week’s results, though as a team, they beat the champs the last two days.
Sipes was runner-up in E1 after going into the sixth day’s final motocross tests in third place. He also climbed to fifth overall individual.
In their respective final motos, both Robert and Sipes took second while Russell came home fourth in the E2 moto to put him seventh in the final E2 standings.
“That was a big improvement because I don’t think we’ve ever had two Americans in the top five," Robert said. "That’s huge. It’s just something to build on for next year. We’ve got two guys that can definitely compete for wins, and Kailub’s won days before so Kailub can get back up there when he’s riding like himself."
Robert added: "We just need that fourth guy to be up there every day as well like the French team was a couple days this year. It was a good event. I wasn’t as close to the overall as I would’ve hoped⏤I lost a little bit of time the last couple days⏤but all in all, I felt like I rode really well, especially with the bike that I was on. There were like 30 guys in the E3 class and I think I was the only guy on a four-stroke. Grass tracks really aren’t my forte as well. I felt like we did good [all things considered], and next year’s in Chile in the sand, and I think we’re all looking forward to that.”
Layne Michael heads to fifth in the final E1 moto. For the week, he finished 10th in the class, helping lead the U.S. Tteam to third in Junior World Trophy.
The Italian Juniors actually bested France as a team in the final day’s results, but it wasn’t enough to completely erase their deficit and they remained second behind the host country’s team, while the U.S. Juniors were a strong third - two minutes and 2.9 seconds behind the French.
Of the Americans, Layne Michael finished with the best results, grabbing tenth in E1 and 27th overall, while Grant Baylor earned 13th E2 and 31st overall. Josh Toth had a one-minute penalty a few days ago and settled for fourteenth E1 and forty-first overall.
The week ended fairly spectacularly for the U.S. Women’s World Trophy team. For the second day in a row, the three first-timers went faster, as a team, than the leading trio from Australia by nearly 14 seconds.
E3 winner Taylor Robert (left) congratulates E1 winner Josep Garcia; E2 winner Loic Larrieu (right) also took overall individual honors.
Brandy Richards winning the WWT moto was the highlight of the day for American fans.
But Richard's win still wasn’t enough for the U.S. team to get close to the Aussies, who were 6:46.62 ahead at the end of the week, with France about 20 minutes behind for third.
Kacy Martinez-Coy got taken out and staged a comeback ride to eighth at the finish of the moto - about 40 seconds behind teammate Becca Sheets, who finished fifth.
The SRT Off-road trio of Ben Kelley, Ty Tremaine and Cody Webb held onto third place in the Club team standings behind winner Italy and MCC Wales/Welsh MCC. In his C2 moto, Tremaine worked his way to second - less than two seconds behind the moto winner and placing him fourth in C2.
Among C1 riders, Kelley got knocked down to seventh for the day but finished second in the class. Webb claimed sixth in the C3 final moto and, like Tremaine, ended up fourth in class for the week.