Barring catastrophe, it appears that Team USA's World Trophy team will earn third place in the 86th International Six Days Enduro in Kotka, Finland, when the race ends tomorrow afternoon with the sixth and final day's motocross tests. In addition, America's Junior World Trophy team should finish fourth despite losing team leader Cory Buttrick late in the day when his bike broke.
Today's course bypassed the Uuperi special test, nicknamed the "ski slope test," since rain from the previous days rendered it practically unrideable. So, that left only two tests, run twice for a total of four tests - not much for the nearly 340 kilometers of riding, putting even greater importance on the results of the those tests.Nate Kanney
Nate Kanney has been a strong force on the U.S. Trophy team, holding down seventh in the E3 class with one day left.
"They're longer tests and they're real rough so it was still tough, but there were a lot of roads [as transport sections]," Kurt Caselli said. "Personally, I was pushing too hard or something and I crashed in three out of four tests so it wasn't the greatest, but I didn't lose too much time, I don't think."
Despite losing out on the day's E2 honors to Portugal's Luis Correira by just over 11 seconds, Caselli remains the class leader through five days and maintains fourth overall individual behind Finland's Eero Remes (the E1 leader), Juha Salminen (runner-up in E1) and Marko Tarkkala (the E3 leader).
More importantly, Caselli pointed out, "The team's still in third - from what I know - which is awesome. Top three was always a goal when we came here. To be able to be sitting in third somewhat comfortably - obviously, we're not very close to second [Spain] or first [Finland], but a podium's good. I'm really happy about that and I know all the other guys are, too. It was kind of a rough week - a lot of stuff happened with the rain, the weather conditions and the way the course was and everything. It was a tough Six Days."
DNFing on Day Five was certainly tough for Buttrick, who'd been putting in good test times before his bike expired before the last test of the day.
"The biggest bummer is you've put so much effort into it, and this week hasn't exactly been easy," he said. "It's one of those things that happens, so I'm upset, but the sooner I let it go, the better I'll be."Andrew Delong
Andrew Delong enjoys sunny weather and a smooth section of the course during what has been a gruelling ISDE.
Despite losing Buttrick and his test times, the remaining three U.S. Juniors put in solid times, led by Andrew Delong, to stay about six minutes ahead of Sweden but far enough behind third-place Great Britain that a podium is out of the question. France continues to lead the category, 12-plus minutes ahead of Sweden. France also continues to dominate the Women's World Trophy division, thanks to being the only country with all three women still going. Finland holds second with two riders, including class leader Marita Nyqvist, while Australia holds third, veteran Allison Parker the only Aussie still rolling.
In the Club team chase, the best U.S. team is now GoFasters.com in 17th thanks to Max Gerston's scores. The Missouri Mudders is now 19th with Ben Smith leading that team, and Jafmar Racing slipped to 22nd after Jake Vainio struggled after losing his chain guide. Jeff Fredette has the best score among that trio as he heads toward what could be his 31st Six Days finish in 31 events.
Tomorrow will see racers go about 40 kilometers from the start in Kotka to a motocross track north of town. Once there, they will be separated into groups according to standings in class. After the motos are over and the FIM jury approves the results, the awards ceremony will take place tomorrow night back in Kotka, bringing the Finnish Six Days to a close.