Competing on the event’s Valle di Staffora route for the third and final time, day three of the ninety-fifth International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) saw Italy extend their lead in both the World Trophy and Junior World Trophy competitions, once again mastering the rough, dry, and dusty special tests. Just as on days one and two, the USA topped the Women’s World Trophy class while Josep Garcia (KTM) was again the day’s outright fastest rider.
Marking the mid-way point of the race, it was again Italy that led the way in the World Trophy competition, extending their overall advantage from one-minute twenty-two seconds to three minutes and twenty seconds. Edging ever further ahead of Spain, Italy’s riders Andrea Verona (GASGAS), Davide Guarneri (Fantic), Thomas Oldrati (Honda), and Matteo Cavallo (TM), all delivered strong performances.
With gaps starting to increase between teams, despite dropping further behind Italy, Spain were able to edge further ahead of the USA, extending their advantage to one-minute and forty-eight seconds. Once again led by the day’s overall fastest rider Josep Garcia (KTM), Spain remains best placed to capitalise should any issues beset Italy during the last half of the event.
“I’ve really enjoyed battling with Andrea (Verona) today, when you have to fight for every second and keep pushing, pushing, pushing all the day, it’s the best way to race,” commented Garcia following a day-long battle with Italy’s fastest World Trophy rider. “I knew coming into today that it would be like that, and my goal was just to keep on pushing. It’s been a good day for the team as well. We can all look forward to a new course tomorrow.”
With France having held down the fourth-place spot through days one and two, at the end of day three it was Sweden, helped by strong performances by both Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) and Mikael Persson (KTM) who moved into fourth. After three days of competition the two nations are separated by less than ten seconds.
The end of day three saw no change in the overall top five in the Junior World Trophy category with Italy now more than three minutes ahead and finishing fastest on the day. Comfortably ahead of the USA, who in turn sit ahead of France, Italy’s juniors seem determined to match their senior teammates every step of the way at this year’s ISDE.
Just over a minute outside of the top three in fourth, Sweden enjoyed a strong day three, unquestionably helped by Max Ahlin (Husqvarna), who ended the day as the eighth fastest rider overall. “I’m really pleased with the way things have gone today, and a little surprised,” admitted Ahlin. “I tried to push a little more on the last test on day two and found some good speed. I guess I brought that speed into today and everything worked out great. I liked today’s test, but I’m looking forward to new tests tomorrow. Let’s see how the last few days go for our team.”
One notable change in the Junior World Trophy competition was Finland dropping from sixth at the end of day two to fourteenth and last at the close of day three. With team rider Peetu Juupaluoma (Husqvarna), are exiting the event, Finland became the first Junior World Trophy team to drop to two riders. Benefiting the most, Chile moved into sixth.
The top three nations in the Women’s World Trophy class are the same as they were at the end of day two with the USA ahead of Great Britain and Spain. Now close to nine minutes ahead of Great Britain, team USA once again saw Brandy Richards (KTM) lead the way as she set the pace as the fastest outright female competitor.
Just as the USA extended their advantage over Great Britain, so did Great Britain extend their lead over Spain. The two countries are now separated by close to one minute. More than one hour now separates the fastest Women’s World Trophy team, the USA, from Italy, who sit eighth in class.
After enjoying a sizeable margin of victory as the outright fastest rider on day two, on day three Josep Garcia (KTM) was just under three seconds faster than Andrea Verona (GASGAS) with Mikael Persson (KTM) third.
Verona and Persson also sat at the top of the Enduro1 class results on day three with Italy’s Davide Guarneri (Fantic) enjoying his best day of the event so far in third.
In Enduro2 it was again all about Josep Garcia (KTM) with USA’s Taylor Robert second fastest despite a big crash in the opening special test. Producing his best result of the event so far, Sweden’s Albin Elowson (Husqvarna) placed third fastest E2 class rider.
“It’s been a strange day for me,” confirmed Taylor Robert. “I crashed hard on the first test, then felt great on the final test, but my times don’t seem to tell the same story. Other than that, I’m just pleased to get through today. The tests and some of the time controls are super beat up now, tomorrow’s new trails and tests can’t come soon enough.”
Italian riders Matteo Cavallo (TM) and Matteo Pavoni (TM) put in the two fastest Enduro3 class times on day three, closely followed by Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) in third.
The FIM International Six Days of Enduro continues on day four with competitors taking on the new one hundred and ninety-eight-kilometre Valle di Curone lap.
Visit fim-isde.com for more information.
Photo: © Dario Agrati