As the 93rd International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) reached its halfway point in Viña del Mar, Chile, Wednesday, November 14, the three elite squads on the U.S. team find themselves solidifying their hold on second place in their respective categories. The U.S. World Trophy team (Steward Baylor, Zach Bell, Taylor Robert and Ryan Sipes) is second to Australia by three minutes, 23.47 seconds; the U.S. Junior World Trophy team (Grant Baylor, Ben Kelley and Josh Toth) trails Italy by 3:27.46 and the U.S. Women’s World Trophy team (Tarah Gieger, Brandy Richards and Becca Sheets) is now 6:17.34 behind Australia.
After leading the individual overall standings for two days, Robert surrendered that lead to Australia’s Daniel Milner and is now 13.26 second in arrears of the former GNCC regular. However, Robert still leads the E2 class since Milner is in E3.
Forced to play catch-up since bouncing his face off his handlebar on the first day, Toth finally saw his efforts pay off, finishing the day with the third-fastest Junior time and 13th best overall. That grants him an earlier starting position, meaning fewer slower riders to contend with in the tests and less dust.
2018 ISDE Chile Day Three Update
“It’s hard to compete with the guys up front when I’m braking on the straightaways and I can’t see anything,” he said.
Dust also factored into the Women’s World Trophy standings, as Sheets explained: “On [the] La Gloria [test] the second time around, we girls kind of got hung up with some [of the slower] Trophy riders. They made really bad dust on this hill—it really wasn’t even that hard of a hill, but you couldn’t see through the dust until you got to the top of it where people were crashed and once you got to the top of it, you couldn’t make it [because of riders laying in the trail].
“I think almost every girl in the front had a struggle there. I lost three minutes there today and Tarah lost six minutes there today on the one hill!”
While the American women lost ground to the Australians, they also opened up the gap on third-place Spain.
Though the Club team standings weren’t available when at this time, the Elizabeth Scott Community team from the U.S. lost veteran Destry Abbott to a big crash early in the day that left him too battered and sore to continue, and he’ll have to accept a DNF in his 10th ISDE.
“I honestly didn’t come here with the highest expectations,” he admitted. “I’m still recovering; my body’s still not where it should be [after finishing chemo just last month].
“I’m bummed because this’ll probably be my last one. I wanted to end on a good note, but that’s the way racing goes.”
He’ll now shift gears to support son, Cooper, who’s enjoying a good debut ISDE on the RPM/Mt. Baker Club team with Ryan Kudla and Dante Oliveira. They finished day two fifth among the 106 Club teams, the top American Club after two days.
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