PORTIMAO, Portugal – Day three of the 2019 FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) brought on a welcomed change in both terrain and momentum for the U.S. World Trophy Team, who overtook the lead outright with consistently fast performances by KTM riders Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes. The U.S. Women’s World Trophy Team continues to lead the way in their respective division with KTM-supported riders Brandy Richards and Becca Sheets at the helm, while the U.S. Junior World Trophy Team fights for the lead from the second-place position.
Riders were given three new special tests on Wednesday, incorporating hard-packed clay dirt and some high-speed sections along the way. Despite some early rainfall that left the first loop a little muddy and slick, the U.S. riders seemed to thrive on the new conditions and they continued to adapt as the course dried up and changed throughout the day.
WORLD TROPHY (WT) TEAM
Now sitting over a minute ahead of Team Australia, the U.S. World Trophy Team had a great performance on Wednesday with all three point-scoring riders sitting inside the top-five overall. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Taylor Robert remains the top performing American in third overall/first in E2, while Kailub Russell sits fourth overall/second in E2 and Ryan Sipes has now moved into fifth overall/second in E1. Up against one very fast Aussie – Daniel Sanders – the U.S. team will continue to work as a group to build a gap over the rest of the field in the second half of the week.
Team Manager, Antti Kallonen: “Now we are in the lead by a little over a minute, which is a good comeback and it came at good timing as we are now halfway through the week, but every card is still in play so we can’t let our guard down. Today’s tests seemed to suit us better as a team, so we’re hoping to have a similar day tomorrow so that we can continue to hold ground or even gain more on Team Australia going into the latter part of the week. The focus is still for every rider to do their best and fight for the overall.”
Individually, Robert was able to get his first special test-win of the week in the fourth section, followed by a trio of thirds and a second-place finish to give himself second overall on the day. Russell followed closely behind in third as the only U.S. rider to stay well-inside the top-10 with consistent finishes in each of the day’s seven special tests.
Russell: “The second time through, it was almost identical conditions to how a GNCC shapes up with the ruts and I had a big swap out in the middle of the test. I still ended up doing pretty decent but I felt like I left a lot on the table right there. As a team we’re doing really good but for me individually, I’m not the best hard-pack silt rider there is so I’m kind of hanging it out and making small mistakes here and there. But, for as many falls as I’ve had this week so far, I’m actually pretty happy.”
KTM-supported rider Ryan Sipes made a big push on day three with five top-10s in the special tests to finish sixth overall for the day.
JUNIOR WORLD TROPHY TEAM (JWT)
KTM riders Grant Baylor and Ben Kelley continue to put down solid times in the Junior World Trophy division, where the team sits 1:20.92 behind the Australians in the overall running.
Grant Baylor: “I went down three times today and that cost me a lot of time but other than that it was a good day. It was a lot better today not being in so much sand but the weather was crazy, the first lap had completely different conditions – wet and slippery – compared to the second lap where it was a dust bowl. As a team, we’ll just keep plugging away and try to make up some time.”
WOMEN’S WORLD TROPHY (WWT) TEAM\
The U.S. Women’s World Trophy Team continues to lead the way by 1:07.21 over Team Australia. Brandy Richards had another impressive day, winning three special tests and finishing inside the top-three an additional three times. Richards continues to lead the overall Women’s classification at the halfway point. Her teammate, Becca Sheets, remained consistent with top-10 finishes all day long to maintain seventh overall in the Women’s class.
Racing from the 2019 International Six Days Enduro will resume on Thursday, November 14 with day four of six from Portimao, Portugal. For a list of complete results, please visit http://www.fim-isde-live.info.
World Trophy Classification (After Day 3 of 6)
1. USA, 7:31:07.90
2. Australia, +1:12.41
3. Italy, +7:00.40
4. Finland, +11:09.15
5. France, +15:40.33
Junior World Trophy Classification (After Day 3 of 6)
1. Australia, 7:41:58.72
2. USA, +1:20.92
3. Italy, +4:12.45
4. France, +4:30.72
5. Great Britain, +10:59.70
Women’s World Trophy Classification (After Day 3 of 6)
1. USA, 5:43:41.34
2. Australia, +1:07.21
3. Great Britain, +10:34.02
4. Spain, +13:49.44
5. Germany, +15:30.43