France fired a huge first shot on the opening day of the 84th Maxxis FIM International Six DTeam France's Christophe Nambotinays Enduro in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, by topping all three major categories: World Trophy, Junior World Trophy and Women's Trophy. Unofficially, Team USA's squads sit in fifth, second and third, respectively.
Things got off to a disappointing start for the American contingent when World Trophy team member Ricky Dietrich returned to the parc ferme prematurely after breaking a muffler and then losing his clutch in the very first special test. Efforts to repair the clutch proved fruitless, as the replacement unit also fried, so last year's fastest American has been relegated to the role of involved spectator.
But the U.S. conTeam USA's Kurt Casellitingent did have quite a bit go its way. Veteran Kurt Caselli proved, once again, to be a contender when he sped to the best time of the field in that same first special test. Unfortunately for him, the remainder of the day turned out to be inconsistent, with several spills slowing him.
"Personally, it was a mediocre day; it wasn't the best," he confessed. "We still have five other guys who are riding really well and everybody's feeling good and our bikes are still good," Caselli pointed out.
And indeed they are. While Caselli is fourth in the E3 division and 10th overall, unofficially, Destry Abbott sits in 10th in E2, while rookie Tim Weigand holds seventh in E1. But with Dietrich out, all five remaining racers will have no room for mistakes or off days.
The Junior World Trophy team from the U.S. put in four consistently good performances, with Russell Bobbitt leading the way by placing 21st in E2 with Six Days newbie Jamie Lanza 21st in E1 and David Kamo 14th in E3. ISDE freshman Cory Buttrick had competitive test times, but he apparently dropped a couple minutes at the end of the day when he botched a tire change.
"They said we were leading after test two, and I think we all made minimal mistakes after that, so I'm hoping we have the lead, but we'll find out," Lanza said.
Despite his mistake at the end of the day, Buttrick tried to keep a positive outlook, noting, "Man, it was a blast! All the trails were fun - there were a bunch of people everywhere and it was nice. All the sand tests; that stuff, it's hard to explain how much fun it is, but those [top Europeans] are good at it; those guys definitely don't play around. If you lose a second in a corner, man, it shows - you drop 20 positions overalTeam USA's Russell Bobbittl!"
Among the Club teams, America's Gofasters.com trio holds third behind teams from the Czech Republic and Italy. Fred Hoess (third in C1), Ryan Powell (C2 leader) and Jordan Brandt (fifth in C3) were the standout individual Americans in the Club team standings.
Day Two will repeat today's course, and Team USA hopes to take advantage of that, with early-minute riders Weigand and Damon Huffman especially likely to benefit from the distinctly carved lines now available.
Results: Day 1
WORLD TROPHY: 1. France; 2. Finland; 3. Italy; 4. Australia; 5. USA; 6. Sweden; 7. Portugal; 8. Great Britain; 9. Netherlands; 10. Spain; 11. Germany; 12. Poland; 13. Switzerland; 14. Mexico; 15. Belgium; 16. Canada.
JUNIOR WORLD TROPHY: 1. France; 2. USA; 3. Spain; 4. Portugal; 5. Italy; 6. Finland; 7. Sweden; 8. Germany; 9. Great Britain; 10. Czech Republic; 11. Argentina; 12. Slovakia; 13. Mexico.
US CLUB TEAMS: 3. GoFasters.com; 11. Tony Agonis; 23. Team Carter Engineering; 25. Missouri Mudders; 26. Desert MC; 28. Jafmar Racing; 32. Boise Ridge Riders.
WOMEN'S CUP: 1. France; 2. Sweden; 3. USA.
Damon Huffman, who is competing in his first ISDE, is currently 20th in the E1 class... The course has been described as being extremely hard on machinery because of the ultra-sandy special tests... David Knight leads the E2 class on his Kawasaki. He leads Frenchman and former motocrosser Rodrig Thain by eight seconds. Knight is also fourth overall... Gas Gas rider Christophe Nambotin is the top rider overall and leads the E3 class... Juha Salminen is third in the E2 class on the BMW.