In order to get a head start and begin plans for the International Six Days Enduro in Portugal, October 12-17, the AMA has already named the six riders who will represent the United States in the premier World Trophy division, where, last year, the American team finished third and came home with a bronze medal. They're looking for gold this time.
The following is a release from the AMA regarding this year's ISDE:
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the riders who will contest the 84th International Six Days Enduro for the U.S. World Trophy Team. Returning to take on the world this Oct. 12-17 in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, are the riders who rode to a third-place team finish on Team USA at last year's event: Destry Abbott, Kurt Caselli, Ricky Dietrich, Jimmy Jarrett, Nathan Kanney and Nathan Woods.
"In 2008, Team USA had its best performance at the ISDE in years, and it was only appropriate to reunite the riders who brought us so close to victory," said AMA Off-Road Racing Manager Chuck Weir. "We are reloaded. We are ready. We are looking forward to showing the best off-roaders in the world that Team USA is not just a threat to place, but a threat to win at this storied international competition."
Returning to represent the U.S. Trophy team for the third time is Team Captain Caselli. The 25-year-old Caselli, who races the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series for Shock Doctor/KTM, battled for the overall lead at the 2008 ISDE before crashing out on day three. In 2007, Caselli also led a significant portion of the event en route to winning the E3 class. In 2006, Caselli was a member of the championship Junior Trophy Team.
"We're going with the same team we had last year, and we're just as motivated and excited to ride this year's ISDE and just as motivated to win," said Caselli, who likely will ride a KTM 300XC in the E3 class. "We like the location this year. Portugal is dry, rocky and dusty -- kind of like what we have out west, where the majority of our team is from."
Caselli said the team is confident for the '09 event.
"As long as we stay healthy and the bikes hold together, I really like our chances of getting on the podium this year," Caselli said. "It's not going to be easy, though. I know Finland is going to have a strong team. The Europeans bring a lot of talent. It's not going to be any easier than it has in the past, but I think we have a good shot."
Another Team USA veteran will be Abbott, who is contesting the AMA Racing National Hare & Hound Championship Series and the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) for Monster Energy Kawasaki. The 36-year-old five-time AMA National Hare & Hound Champion is a three-time ISDE Gold Medalist and will represent the U.S. on the Trophy Team for the fifth time. Last year, Abbott finished ninth in the E2 class.
"I was pretty excited to hear that we were bringing back all the same guys," said Abbott, who will ride a KXF450, most likely in the E3 class. "I think the team's better this year. It looks like we picked up more speed, we know we can do it, and we have the experience. From everything I see, the location is going to suit us West Coast guys, and Nate and Jimmy adapt well to whatever conditions the race presents."
Abbott added that a real team environment surrounds the ISDE effort.
"We are all committed to doing what's best for the team. It's not an individual thing," Abbott said. "We're all about team, and that's what you need to do when you race something like this. The manufacturers are behind it. Last year, we went in hoping for top five and we got third, and that was with Kurt getting hurt and some other guys having bike trouble. Now we know we can podium, and we believe we have a shot at first or second."
Dietrich, 21, was the top-finishing American at the 2008 ISDE, where he took second to Spain's Ivan Cervantes in both the overall and in the E1 class. Dietrich also joined Caselli on the championship 2006 Junior Trophy Team and currently races off-road events for Monster Energy Kawasaki. This will be Dietrich's second time representing the U.S. on the Trophy Team and his third time representing the U.S. in the ISDE.
Jarrett, 32, also brings several years of experience to the team. Jarrett races the GNCC Series for GEICO Monster Kawasaki. This will be the Ohioan's sixth year representing the U.S. on the Trophy Team. Jarrett finished 13th in the E2 class in 2008.
This will be second trip to the ISDE for the 31-year-old Woods, who races WORCS for Team FMF Suzuki and competes in the AMA Endurocross series. Woods finished 29th in the E2 class at last year's ISDE.
Kanney, 26, is currently contesting the AMA GNCC Series for Shock Doctor/KTM. Kanney is an experienced ISDE and World Enduro Championship rider. Last year, he finished eighth in the E3 class.
The World Trophy Team is one of three premier teams that represent the U.S. at the ISDE. The Trophy Team features six riders who compete in all three displacement classes that contest the ISDE: the E1 class, which features 100cc to 125cc two-stroke and 175cc to 250cc four-stroke motorcycles; the E2 class, which features 175cc to 250cc two-stroke and 290cc to 450cc four-stroke motorcycles; and the E3 class, which features 290cc to 500cc two-stroke and 475cc to 650cc four-stroke motorcycles.
The other premier teams are the Junior Trophy Team, which fields four riders younger than 23 years old, competing in a minimum of two classes, and the Women's Trophy Team, which fields three riders.
Also part of Team USA are members on various club teams made up of riders from all over the country. These teams are determined by qualifier events held this year on April 18-19 in Park Hills, Mo., and on May 30-31 in Idaho City, Idaho.