To the surprise of no one, Finland leads the FIM World Trophy standings after day one of the 86th International Six Days Enduro in Kotka, Finland. Led by Eero Remes who also tops the E1 class, the Finns also hold the top spot in E3 thanks to Marko Tarkkala.
U.S. fortunes proved mixed on a day that started cloudy with occasional showers but ended partly cloudy and breezy. Team captain Kurt Caselli leads the way in E2, sitting third overall individual behind Remes and Finnish teammate Juha Salminen. Team USA also got great performances from first-year World Trophy team member Russell Bobbitt, who's seventh, and veteran Destry Abbott, who's 11th, also in E2. Nathan Kanney is a solid ninth in E3.Kurt Caselli
Kurt Caselli leads the E2 class at the end of the day.
On the other hand, last-minute team draftee Colton Udall endured a rough first Six Days after breaking off the left footpeg on his CR250R, forcing him to ride about 80 miles either on one leg or sitting down. And Jimmy Jarrett also lost time when he fell in a test and was unable to restart his bike, having forgotten it doesn't start when the headlight is on.
As a result, the U.S. Trophy team is fourth, almost 10 minutes behind the Finns, who lead Spain by a remarkable five and a half minutes. Australia holds third, nearly eight minutes down on the host nation's sextet.
In the Junior World Trophy standings, Sweden leads over France and Great Britain after Finland lost two riders to injury. The U.S. foursome is seventh after Ian Blythe had problem after problem, starting with a speeding ticket (one of many for all countries) and compounded by a shoulder injury as well as a few bike problems. Cory Buttrick leads the American Juniors, holding down 17th in E2.Cory Buttrick
Cory Buttrick lead the U.S. Juniors.
Things were far bleaker for the American trio in the Women's World Trophy, with Kerry Schwartz houring out and Nicole Bradford dislocating a shoulder less than halfway through the day. That leaves only Mandi Mastin, who's been struggling with engine problems as well as with the gnarly course. The U.S.is last of the five teams entered, but to give a better idea of the difficulty, only the French team has all three riders still going and runner-up Australia has two still on the move. Third-place Sweden dropped half of its team (only two started) and Finland also has only one woman going.
"After riding today, I think EnduroCross would've been easy!" Mastin exclaimed. "It was like eight hours of EnduroCross today!"
Caselli concurred, "This is, technically, the most difficult Six Days I've ever done as far as the controls and the tests. I've never ridden anything like this where you're riding sand with rocks and roots in it, then you get on the hard-packed dirt roads - it's got everything. Mandi Mastin
Mandi Mastin is the lone American female still in action.
"It's still the first day today. I think we'll do a lot better towards the end of the week where the tests are going to change quite a bit - they're going to open up quite a bit and be a little sandier and faster, and that's definitely, I think, where we're going to hopefully move up."