It appears that the AMA and Team USA will be making a full-on assault on next year's International Six Days Enduro in Germany, and they made the first major step in that direction by already naming the team's manager - Antti Kallonen.
Kallonen, a former grand prix motocross racer, is the current off-road team manager for KTM North America, and he will oversea the operations of the U.S. Trophy team in Saxony on September 24-29. Robert Pearce, KTM North America's vice president of operations and a five-time ISDE participant, will assist Kallonen with team operations.
Kallonen got his feet wet in American when he wrenched for two-time GNCC Champion Juha Salminen. When Salminen returned to Europe to complete in the Enduro World Championships, Kallonen stayed in the U.S. and was named KTM North America's off-road manager. Since taking on that duty six years ago, KTM has won 28 National off-road titles.
"I'm honored and excited to take on the responsibility to lead the U.S. ISDE team in 2012," Kallonen said in a release. "The team is well established, but my goal is to bring the team together as a whole and work on the small details that are needed to take the team to the next level. One of my main focuses is going to be the riders and the preparation for the event. This will make the race-day operations easier so all the riders will need to do is to focus on doing their best on the track, knowing they have the best support possible behind them."
Added Pearce: "Antti and I work very well together on a day-to-day basis. Having the opportunity to work on such a project as the 2012 ISDE in Germany for the AMA and all the volunteers that it takes to be successful will be an awesome experience. I am honored to have been selected along with Antti to be a part of the U.S. support team."
Some of the long-time ISDE supporters and leaders will be heavily involved as well, such as Rick "Gunny" Claypoole, Bruce Whakeley and Jay Hall.
"In much the same way that Roger DeCoster guides the U.S. effort in the Motocross of Nations, Antti will lead us in our journey toward an FIM World Championship in ISDE competition," said AMA Off-Road Manager Chuck Weir. "Antti's experience running a race team is evident in KTM's success in premier U.S. racing series, and we're excited that he's on board to help lead us toward the United States' first ISDE title.
"Also, just as Roger works with riders from all teams, Antti will welcome and support riders regardless of what bike they ride," Weir continued. "While we obviously appreciate KTM North America's backing of riders every year, the U.S. team at the ISDE will continue to feature qualifying riders on any brand of motorcycle."
U.S. ISDE qualifiers will be organized by the Boise Ridge Riders June 2-3 in Idaho City, Idaho, and by the Appalachian Dirt Riders June 9-10 in Wellston, Ohio.
More information about the Idaho event can be found at BoiseRidgeRiders.com. Details for the Ohio event are at ADROhio.org.
More information about the U.S. ISDE team can be found at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Racing > ISDE.