ISDE: Tough Day For Team USA

Mark Kariya | October 13, 2009

Day two of the 84th Maxxis FIM International Six Days Enduro in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, saw Team USA take a step down in the standings of all three major categories compared to the opening day. The U.S. World Trophy team is now sixth, the Junior World Trophy team is third and the Women’s Cup team is fourth. France remains the leader of two categories, with Spain now leading the Junior division.

The second day of racing mimicked the first as far as the trail, tests and conditions, but it extracted a greater toll on bikes and bodies. World Trophy team rider Destry Abbott crashed hard in one fast, sandy test, describing it as “…the hardest crash I’ve done in over five years,” though he slowly got back up and resumed riding at a markedly slower pace.

But at least he continued. Junior World Team veteran David Kamo had another good day going until he started hearing a clicking noise from his engine late in the day. Despite taking it easy and trying to baby it through to the finish, the bike stopped on the far end of one test, so Kamo ran back to the start/finish area where he’d left his fanny pack (with a spare black box inside) and then ran back to his dead mount.

Unfortunately, he discovered it wasn’t a faulty black box; instead, the engine had built up so much heat that it melted both an ignition wire and the carb boot! Replacing the black box would do nothing, so Kamo grappled with the prospect of facing his first DNF in five ISDEs.

Even America’s Club riders didn’t escape similar fates. Ben Smith called it a day after crashing hard and ringing his bell, and day one’s C2 leader, Ryan Powell, dropped out with a seized piston.David Kamo

Just to assure Team USA that it didn’t have its personal black cloud, Great Britain’s David Knight crashed in the first test and tweaked himself badly enough that he took a trip to the hospital to get a very sore neck examined. Tests apparently showed no major damage, and he reportedly was back in time to watch one of the later tests. Finland’s Juha Salminen stopped in one test with an overheated bike and ended up losing 10 minutes, plummeting to 20th in E2 as a result.

“I think these first two days have been hardest on the bikes as far as the whole race is going to go,” U.S. World Trophy team leader Kurt Caselli observed. “The next couple days aren’t even going to be as bad. Obviously, if the bikes are still running [after two days here], they’re going to be pretty good for the rest of the week.

“I think all of us are going to pick up the pace in the next few days,” he predicted. “I think Damon (Huffman) and Timmy (Weigand) are kind of used to the whole deal now so they’re not doing anything drastic or anything like that.

“We definitely have a shot to get on the podium if we keep pushing.”

Mark Kariya | Contributor

Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.