As the 93rd International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) slides into the final half, all three of the elite U.S. teams—FIM World Trophy (WT), Junior World Trophy (JWT) and Women’s World Trophy (WWT)—solidified their holds on second in each of their categories.
Team USA Holding Steady In Second Place
That’s not to say something could happen to each class-leading team (or the U.S., for that matter) that impacts the standings, but as it stands after four days, it’s looking like second place on the podium is each one’s destiny, though individual riders will still have a chance to shine in Viña del Mar, Chile.
For example, while Taylor Robert set the class-leading time in E2 once again, he admitted before leaving parc ferme to walk one or two of tomorrow’s tests, “Today was my worst day. It’s really tough out there, and I didn’t really feel good in any test; I felt like I was fighting the bike all day. I was still top three in almost every test (fifth being his worst for the day), but [Australia’s Daniel] Milner was just on another level today. He won every single test. He was not only winning but smoking us, like winning by 15, 18 seconds!
“We’re going to walk [tests] right now and figure what he was doing because we need to pick it up a little bit tomorrow.”
He’s now 59.41 seconds behind E3 leader Milner in the individual overall after four days.
Conversely, Steward Baylor enjoyed probably his best day so far, his times for the day making him second fastest behind only teammate Robert. After four days, he’s fifth individual overall.
“Today was good,” Baylor declared. “I ended up fourth overall on the day; that’s my best day yet. My goal was to come here and compete for top-five overall, and I had a really bad crash the first day. I think it took the wind out of my sails.”
He continued, “Today, I went in and just tried to nail my lines and not make any mistakes. We only had two crashes all day so that was a little bit costly, but I couldn’t have got third [overall individual for the day] anyway.”
Teammates Zach Bell and Ryan Sipes had their issues, Sipes hit with a one-minute penalty that will likely be contested in tonight’s jury meeting. Bell was 10th in E3 for the day while Sipes’ penalty dropped him from fourth to 10th for the day.
But the WT race is mostly about Australian dominance now and they proved it. Not only did former GNCC regular Daniel Milner win each of the five special tests, Daniel “Chucky” Sanders backed him up with the day’s second-fastest times, though his total was an astounding 39.86 seconds slower than Milner’s!
“They’re riding great,” Baylor praised. “We’ve had some mistakes; as a whole, I think we’ve had a lot more mistakes than they have. It’s very treacherous cross tests, enduro tests—everything’s been extremely rough this year, not necessarily rough as far as the way the track broke down, but they’re very technical. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and make those costly mistakes.”
In JWT, Italy also padded its lead over the U.S., the margin now standing at 4:24.22. Josh Toth stepped up with the second-fastest E1 time of the day, moving him up to fifth-best E1 for the week so far, just behind Sipes.
Grant Baylor had a bad second test and it cost him; he was 13th E2 for the day, slipping to seventh E2 after four days. Ben Kelley is also in E2 and sped to the seventh-best times of the class for the day, putting him 12th best for the week so far in the division.
Australia continued to lead WWT, but American Brandy Richards seems to have found a way to nearly match Tayla Jones’ speed. Second-fastest woman on the day 7.80 seconds behind Jones, Richards is now third behind Jones and France’s Livia Lancelot, the American just 1.07 seconds slower than the French motocross star who’s competing in her first Six Days.
“I’ve been working on more consistency [in the tests],” Richards shared. “I was really struggling with that [at first]. Every day I’ve been improving. Yesterday, I struggled in just one test and today I kind of did a little bit better—I didn’t have any crazy incidents; I was pretty consistent today.”
Teammates Tarah Gieger and Becca Sheets finished the day seventh and ninth, respectively.
Since the Club team results are still being tabulated, yesterday’s results saw the U.S. trio of Cooper Abbott, Ryan Kudla and Dante Oliveira move up to fourth in the standings, though their RPM/Mt. Baker team is about 12 minutes behind the third-place team.
Tomorrow’s day five course will once again see competitors face two laps, but the course will be mostly new terrain and tests, the day totaling 273 kilometers with only seven hours of saddle time. Dust will again be a factor as it was today, with the organizers throwing out the first test of the day since it was so dusty there yesterday.
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