Team USA survives last-day scares for third in Junior, fifth in World Trophy
The fat lady finally sang on Saturday afternoon in Agueda, Portugal, where the final motocross tests took place to close out the competition phase of the 84th Maxxis FIM International Six Days Enduro.
Though he didn’t win the moto–settling for fourth–Kurt Caselli was satisfied overall with a week where he was fourth in E3 and won several tests overall.
Instead of being a cruise day as the final day of the ISDE often is, this one provided continuing drama, not only for the Team USA but also for a couple other teams.
Fortunately, the injuries and breakdowns of both the last day and the ones leading up to it didn’t affect the American contingent too adversely. In fact, the U.S. World Trophy team benefited greatly after Swedish rider Niklas Gustafsson’s bike broke, giving the Swedes only four to make it to the finish.
As a result, the U.S. World Trophy team vaulted to fifth in the final standings behind France, Italy, Finland and Australia, with the five remaining American racers all putting in inspiring performances. Kurt Caselli retained his fourth in E3 after speeding to fourth in his final moto, thrilling the crowd by being one of the few to clear one uphill triple on a perfectly prepped and fun track that will host a round of the MX world championships next year. Teammate Nathan Kanney had the eighth-fastest time for the class.
Destry Abbott finished out his week with an E2 moto that ended painfully. After getting a good start and running in fourth place, he fell and ripped up a couple fingers (he’ll likely lose at least one fingernail), but he remounted to gut out a result that was seventh fastest in the class for the day. His body-bending crash earlier in the week dashed his original goal of finishing among the top 20 overall individuals, but he did rebound to end up 25th, the second best among Americans behind Caselli who was seventh.
Both first-timers, Damon Huffman and Timmy Weigand, dug deep to even get to the final moto for E1. Huffman’s tendonitis left him unable to perform anywhere close to 100 percent while Weigand—minus part on one finger and still not recovered from food poisoning—ignored his issues and made it to the checkered flag with the fourth-fastest E1 time, Huffman fifth.
In all, it was an excellent team effort, and as Caselli said
Jamie Lanza got a great start in the E1 race and finished second, with the fifth-fastest time of the entire field.
the previous afternoon, “It’s been a pretty eventful Six Days for the Trophy team. Obviously our results aren’t what we really wanted, but at the same time, considering everything that’s happened that hasn’t gone our way, I think we’re doing just fine.”
The U.S. Junior World Trophy team started the day in third behind Spain and France, but two things took place on the ride to the track in Agueda, some 50 miles away from the parc ferme in Figueira da Foz.
Freshman Cory Buttrick ended up losing a minute after losing one of the oil caps in his bike at a check and, with it, much of the oil en route to the moto. He dropped a minute, hurting his score for the day, though he still finished 20th in E1, right behind Huffman.
Then there was Russell Bobbitt, the veteran of the four and a member, of course, of the winning team in 2006 in New Zealand. While in fifth gear in one particularly dusty section, he hit a stump and crashed violently. Despite fearing he’d broken a bone in his shoulder, he was able to get going again and make it to the motocross track where the doctor patched him up as well as possible given the situation.
Bobbitt then went out and put in an excellent effort, finishing 35th for the day in E2 but 15th for the week, five spots behind Abbott.
Jamie Lanza provided the day’s best MX result for Team USA when he rounded the first turn in the E1 moto and found himself behind only Eero Remes, the Finnish World Trophy team standout and eventual class winner for the week.
As he heads up the coast to the final motocross test venue, Jeff Fredette heads towards his 29th Six Days finish in 29 starts. Yes, that’s a record–by a long ways!
Despite a bike that was understandably a bit tired and possibly in need of a valve adjustment since it was a bit reluctant to fire up today whenever he shut it off, Lanza kept the Finn in sight and even closed on him a bit in the early laps before arm pump and the realization that passing wouldn’t improve his score left him satisfied to maintain second. Lanza would end up with the fifth-fastest time for the day for the entire field of 377 finishers (out of 428 who started), the test’s fastest American by 13 seconds over Weigand (who was 11th fastest) and 14 over Caselli (who was 12th quickest for the day).
In the Women’s final moto, week-long leader Ludivine Puy of France led out of the first turn with American Maria Forsberg tucked in close behind. But both of them would soon yield to Swedish speedster Sandra Adriansson who quickly built a nice cushion over Puy, who in turn had six seconds on Forsberg at the finish.
That did nothing to change the final results. Puy and her teammates won for the second year in a row over Sweden while Australia’s first entry into the class yielded a solid third with the U.S. settling for fourth after injuries and bike problems prevented Amanda Mastin and Lacy Jones from netting the results they would’ve liked.
The Club team challenge wasn’t quite so good for Team USA, with the Team Carter Engineering trio of Zach Lipana, Rory Sullivan and Troy Swettenam ending up 10th. Sullivan gated well in his C3 heat and appeared ready to go after the leaders when he lost the front end and went down; he would remount and still post the fourth-fastest class time for the day, ending up third in class for the week behind two standout Czechs.
The Missouri Mudders (Toby Atkins, Billy Burns and Lars
Valin) took 12th with the Desert Motorcycle Club (Joel Burkett, Nick Hamill and Shawn O’Leary) claiming 14th.
Jeff Fredette notched his 29th Six Days finish to keep his completion record a perfect 100 percent. The JAFMAR Racing team he was on with Don Grahn and Chilly White were 17th Club team, the fourth best American result.
Also of note, the Tony Agonis team featured a pair of racers who turned in best-finish-in-class-by-an-American results:
Fred Hoess (fourth in C1) and Nick Fahringer (seventh in C3). Had it not been for losing former Junior World Trophy team member Ben Smith to a crash on the second day, they were a much faster team than their 61st among the 91 teams indicated.
The Portuguese Six Days drew almost universal praise for being a challenging, well-run event with a great atmosphere. Team USA may have achieved just one podium finish, but the unexpected mechanical issues and injuries dashed those hopes for the most part. Still, the potential for a top podium finish is there, though luck will also have to shine. Most of those who participated look forward to being part of a future ISDE team. As Lanza said, “I can’t believe it went by so fast.” Well, Mexico 2011 is just 13 months away!
Day 6 Video Recap – Produced by IGNITION3, courtesy of ISDE.TV
World Trophy Standings:
1. France, 15:44:24.56
2. Italy, 15:48:47.25
3. Finland, 16:08:00.18
4. Australia, 16:08:12.78
5. USA, 16:15:00.62
Junior Trophy Standings:
1. Spain, 9:48:13.77
2. France, 9:49:00.18
3. USA, 9:52:58.64
4. Italy, 9:56:44.59
5. Sweden, 10:09:53.34
French riders and supporters hoist team manager Fred Weil after their teams won the World Trophy, the Women’s World Cup and took runner-up in Junior World Trophy.
Women’s Cup Standings:
1. France, 7:44:06.96
2. Sweden, 7:52:54.10
3. Australia, 7:58:50.44
4. USA, 8:10:34.67
5. Finland, 12:14:22.42
1. Eero Remes, FIN
2. Simone Albergoni, ITA
3. Michal Szuster, POL
4. Fabio Mossini, ITA
5. Christopher Hollis, AUS
13. Timmy Weigand, USA
19. Damon Huffman, USA
1. Rodrig Thain, FRA
2. Luis Correia, POR
3. Cristobal Guerrero, ESP
4. Alessandro Belometti, ITA
5. Oscar Balletti, ITA
11. Destry Abbott, USA
DNF. Ricky Dietrich, USA
1. Chrisophe Nambotin, FRA
2. Samuli Aro, FIN
3. Antoine Meo, FRA
4. Kurt Caselli, USA
5. Alex Salvini, ITA
10. Nathan Kanney, USA