2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France

Mark Kariya | August 27, 2017

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France – For the first time in its 92-year history, the FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) will see the U.S. ISDE team start the weeklong event as defending champion in its most prestigious category, the FIM World Trophy.

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France
For the first time ever, the defending FIM World Trophy team champions are Americans. From left: Ryan Sipes, Kailub Russel, Thad Duvall and Taylor Robert hope to make it two in a row and having the fastest overall individuals from the last two ISDEs certainly makes them a strong team. Photo: Mark Kariya

The team’s approach to the race in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France⏤which also hosted the race in 2001—hasn’t differed significantly from last year in Spain when it first climbed to the top of the podium. Three of those four riders are returnees: Thad Duvall, Taylor Robert and Kailub Russell. The fourth member of last year’s squad, Layne Michel, was assigned to the U.S. Junior World Trophy team to make room for the man he replaced last year at the last minute, Ryan Sipes, who also broke new ground by becoming the first American to not only win his class but emerge as the fastest overall individual when he pulled that off in Slovakia in 2015. Sipes, of course, missed last year’s race due to injury when another rider collided with him before the GNCC the day before he was to fly to Spain.

“It’s going to be hard to defend [the title],” Robert acknowledged. “Now, with all four [riders’ scores] counting, we’ve just got to make sure everybody stays healthy throughout the week and everybody’s bike stays together, which has been a big problem in the past.

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France
Much of the week has been hiking each of the 10 special tests, some of which are almost two hours from Brive. But since you’re not allowed to ride them before the race, hiking each of the hilly, predominantly grass circuits is the only way to learn where they go. Photo: Mark Kariya

“I think if we get through it again this year without any bike malfunctions and riders getting hurt, I think we have a great shot at taking the overall because we have a super-strong team. Everybody as far as I know, unless somebody’s hiding something, everybody’s really healthy, nobody has any little nagging injuries or anything like that so I’m pretty confident we have a good shot at it this year.”

After being cheated out of a chance to be on last year’s winning squad, Sipes is eager to put his name on the World Trophy and be among those challenging for overall individual glory as well.

“I think I’m more prepared now that I’ve been to a few, I know what to expect,” he shared. “Before 2015, I’d only done it [in 2014 in Italy] on the Club team. One year’s good, but two years is better experience-wise. I’m definitely more prepared this year.”

There are lots of new faces on the 31-rider U.S. contingent, among them Becca Sheets who joins Kacy Martinez-Coy and Brandy Richards on the strong U.S. Women’s World Trophy team.

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France

2017 U.S. ISDE Team Ready To Get Started In France
Once they and their mechanics got their bikes together, it was time to hit the very flat test track to make sure things worked properly. Taylor Robert, the fastest overall individual as well as being a member of the winning U.S. World Trophy team, played with different lines. Photo: Mark Kariya

Being in another country, much less racing in it, is an entirely new experience for newbies like Sheets who said, “Anything that I’ve been expecting is everything that’s been told to me so far, so nothing unexpected yet.

“It’s really cool; I’ve never been overseas before; my first time out of the country, and France is pretty awesome. I like the town that we’re in. It’s pretty cool to see the [old] stone buildings and stuff.”

However, the coolest thing for all, first-timers and veterans alike, would surely have to be joining their teammates on the podium at the end of the week.

Click here for more information on the French ISDE.

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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.