Team USA Leads ISDE

Mark Kariya | September 7, 2015
Kailub Russell day one at Slovakia ISDE

Though disappointed by his slow time in the first test when he was the first one on course, Kailub Russell kept chipping away and ended the day with the fastest overall time of the field, leading the American World Trophy team which holds the lead after the first day. Photography by Mark Kariya

Traditionally, Team USA starts relatively slowly and builds speed when it comes to the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). It simply takes a little while to get used to the terrain, the requisite ecology tires, the rules and the format.

That strategy has let the Europeans build quick leads from the outset, and once in front, it’s hard for anyone to catch up in this game.

So, the Americans decided to go for it at the 90th ISDE which started this morning in Kosice, Slovakia, and finished the first day of racing by leading the FIM World Trophy category with Australia one minute and 14 seconds back. Defending champion France lies third after the first day, 1:32 behind Team USA.

Kailub Russell stepped onto the world stage for the first time this year and provided ample evidence as to why he’s leading three different series at home, as he dominated the E1 class (125cc two-stroke/250cc four-stroke), winning two of the six tests today for a total time of 43 minutes, 52.82 seconds. Sophomore teammate Ryan Sipes proved his worth as well by winning the first two tests and leading the E2 category (250cc two-stroke/450cc four-stroke) with the 43:54.42 he set, a time second only to Russell in the overall consideration.

“It showed. The guys are riding really well—Kailub Russell, Ryan Sipes, all of the guys but especially those two; they’re standing first and second in overall,” Team Manager Antti Kallonen said. “[But] it’s not a two-man team; it’s a six-man team and they’re all doing great so hats off to all six guys.

“It’s going as we were hoping.”

As the first rider to hit the first special test, Russell was at somewhat of a disadvantage and it showed as he was 19th overall, almost 14 seconds behind Sipes. “After that, I didn’t really have any expectations of being able to get back in the lead today,” Russell admitted. “I was hoping to be top five, be within 10, 15 seconds, but it ended up going really well and I was riding well [after that] so it worked out.”

“I didn’t really expect to win those first two [tests],” Sipes said. “I kind of felt like I was riding a little bit too cautious, but I wanted to stay on the bike [and] didn’t want to crash.

“I should’ve kept riding the same, but I was like, ‘Well, I can go even faster,’ and that’s when I started crashing.

“I just want to stay focused, stay on top of it and just keep doing the same thing all week.”

Taylor Robert and Thad Duvall were fifth and sixth in E2, with Gary Sutherlin not getting along that well in the tight tree sections to place 18th in E2. Mike Brown was sixth in E3 (300cc two-stroke/650cc four-stroke).

As defending champs in the Junior World Trophy competition, Team USA had high hopes of repeating, but those hopes took a hit when ISDE rookie Layne Michael crashed in the first test, suffering a possible dislocated wrist. Then in the last test, Steward Baylor went down hard and ended up with a possible shoulder injury, though he gutted it out to finish the day before heading to a local hospital with Michael.

That left Grant Baylor as the top U.S. Junior, finishing 14th in E2 while first-timer Nick Davis was a minute late to a check after a fork swap took a little too long, putting him 61st in E2.

Thus, the U.S. Juniors are fourth behind Australia, Sweden and France.

In the Women’s World Trophy division, the three Australian girls swept the top three spots individually so the defending champs started out in the best way possible. France and Sweden lie second and third with the American trio (Rachel Gutish, Mandi Mastin and Jamie Wells) fourth.

The squad (Reid Brown, Nate Ferderer and Brian Garrahan) is the best American threesome after one day in the Club team category, sitting eighth.

Tomorrow’s route retraces the first day’s course, the loop being repeated twice. While the weather today varied from some clouds to rain and hail higher up in the mountains, it’s expected to be on the drier side tomorrow.

ISDE Photos


Mark Kariya | Contributor

Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.