The demanding course and sometimes treacherous conditions at the 86th International Six Days Enduro in Kotka, Finland, took a toll on Day Two, though Team USA benefitted quite a bit.
Fred Hoess, who excels in the tough stuff, is top American Club rider so far.
Due to a day of solid performances by all six Americans on the U.S. World Trophy team as well as attrition hitting the Australians, Team USA now sits in third place. Finland continues to stretch its lead with Spain in second place, over 10 minutes behind. The U.S. is 22-plus minutes behind the host nation with Kurt Caselli still leading the E2 division, though he slipped slightly in the overall individual standings to fourth behind E3 leader Marko Tarkkala of Finland. Russell Bobbitt
Team USA Trophy rider Russell Bobbitt helped the team move up to third.
Two-time GNCC champion Juha Salminen of Finland, who's second in E1 to teammate Eero Remes, reminded all that there's still a long way to go and individual glory doesn't mean much, though. "Of course it would be nice to win the overall [individual title], but it's still a team race," he pointed out. "Every rider on the team needs to go fast, as fast as you can, but there's no place for craziness. You have to think, 'It's a team race' and take no big risks. The situation where we are now, with a good lead, our goal is just to keep all together - all the bikes and the guys together. We just need to concentrate and not make too many mistakes."
In other words, this will be a survival race - but that's something that America has traditionally been good at.
Max Gerston leads the top U.S. Gofasters.com Club Team.
It was, however, the U.S. Junior World Trophy team that really vaulted up in the standings; after finishing seventh on Day One, they're now in fourth place behind Sweden, France and Great Britain.
Unfortunately, the good luck didn't carry over to the American women. While Kerry Schwartz was allowed by a jury decision last night to continue, neither she nor Mandi Mastin made it to the finish so all three American women are now spectators. France got all three of its women in to finish the day nearly 50 minutes ahead of Finland, which is just five seconds ahead of Sweden.