Team USA completed Day Three of the 86th International Six Days Enduro in Kotka, Finland, intact for the most and settled into the grind to get to the finish of what will likely be remembered as the most difficult ISDE in quite a while.
Finland once again put time on the rest of the field in the World Trophy category, adding several minutes to its lead over Spain with the six Americans remaining third but also falling back a few minutes to the dominant home team.
"We're doing all right as a team," Destry Abbott noted. "I was hoping we'd be doing a little bit better, but Finland's super strong. If we pull off a podium, I think that'll be a success for us. With the weather conditions, it's been tough for us West Coast guys. The last two tests today, it was so cold and wet - it was kind of miserable. It was a tough, tough day. It was a true test, for sure, of a Six Days here." Andrew Delong
U.S. Junior World rider Andrew Delong charges hard in a special test.
Finland's Eero Remes continued to lead the E1 class, though teammate Juha Salminen was fastest in class on the day and cut a little time out of Remes' lead. Two crashes in the last test dropped America's Kurt Caselli to fifth in E2 for the day, though he remains a fairly comfortable 32 seconds ahead of Spain's Cristobal Guerrero. Russell Bobbitt is seventh in E2, while Abbott, after crashing hard yesterday, dropped to 14th.
Finland's Marko Tarkkala once again proved the fastest in E3 and continues to lead that class, putting him third overall (just ahead of Caselli). Nathan Kanney is the best American in that division at eighth, though he put in a strong seventh-place ride today in conditions he didn't enjoy.
Jimmy Jarrett goes through his mental check list before leaving pit three.
"Today, I guess, it was the most painful and least fun of all the days because of the weather, but it wasn't necessarily difficult," he said. Referring to the three new special tests in the day's new loop of nearly 240 kilometers, he added, "The new tests were really good, and it was pretty interesting on the second lap on the ski hill one. It downpoured on it and it was such a steep test [to begin with]."
The U.S. Junior World Trophy team continued to hold a rather distant fourth behind Sweden, France and Great Britain. Cory Buttrick went fastest among the American quartet, placing 12th in E2 for the day, which puts him in 14th, just behind Abbott for the week so far.
In the Women's World Trophy competition, France now has more than an hour lead on Finland, despite Ludivine Puy losing a toenail yesterday and having to install a new head gasket after damaging her radiator and overheating her Gas Gas. All three Americans were DNFs yesterday, leaving the team last.Glenn Scherer
U.S. Club rider Glenn Scherer continues to get the job done in wet weather on the Uuperi ski slope.
Club West of Sweden leads the Club teams; the best American trio is GoFasters.com in 14th, with Max Gerston leading that trio.
Days Four and Five will utilize a different loop again, this one done twice and taking riders farther to the east, not far from the Russian border. The weather forecast is for more rain, which will no doubt add to the difficulty.