The start of the second half of the ninety-fifth running of the FIM International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) saw riders tackle a new and much-welcomed course, taking competitors south from the event’s base at the Rivanazzano Terme Airport and featuring one-hundred and ninety-eight kilometres of fresh trails as well as several new special tests.
In the World Trophy team competition there was no change at the top of the class results, with Italy continuing to lead on home soil. In the Women’s World Trophy, the USA once again dominated, while in the Junior World Trophy, the USA dropped from second to fourth following a costly crash from Austin Walton (Husqvarna). Andrea Verona (GASGAS) ended the day as the fastest outright rider.
With team rider Andrea Verona (GASGAS) arguably hitting his best form of the competition to date, and with three of their four riders placed inside the top five of the overall individual results, Italy was again the team to beat in the World Trophy competition. Placing one-minute and forty seconds ahead of Spain, with two days of competition remaining, Italy extended their overall lead to just over five minutes.
“It took me four days, but finally I managed to get an overall day win,” enthused Verona at the end of the day. “I really enjoyed the tests today, but the ground was very hard, which made them very, very slippery. It was easy to make mistakes with no ruts or berms, like we had on the previous days. It’s been a great day for the team also, taking a few more seconds from Spain. I’m here as part of the Italian team, so I’ll continue doing my best for them as well as pushing hard for the best individual result I can get.”
Although unable to stop Italy claiming yet another World Trophy day win, Spain again produced a spirited team performance, despite a heavy crash for their fastest rider Josep Garcia (KTM) early in the day. Collectively, Spain’s riders extended their advantage over third-placed USA by twelve seconds. Outside of the top three, but well-positioned to strike if any of the leading teams run into troubles, Sweden rode well, with another notably strong performance from Mikael Persson (KTM).
The day’s biggest result shake-up came in the World Junior Trophy category. Second behind Italy at the end of day three, following a big crash from Austin Walton (Husqvarna), which resulted in a sizeable loss of time, the USA dropped to fourth on day four.
Italy was the fastest team in the Junior World Trophy, completing the day more than one-minute ahead of France to now sit six minutes and twenty-six seconds ahead in the overall results. With the USA running into troubles, France was able to capitalise and inherited the runner-up position, but sit a long way behind Italy. Sweden is holding strong, and now hold third behind Italy and France.
Despite their troubles in the Junior World Trophy class, the USA powered ahead in the Women’s World Trophy competition on day four, much like on every other day of this year’s ISDE. With no change in the top three in the class, USA remain ahead of Great Britain and Spain. With one full day of competition and the final motocross races remaining, the USA sit a sizeable eleven minutes and thirty-four seconds ahead.
On day four alone the USA were close to three minutes faster than their closest challengers, with Brandy Richards (KTM) the only female competitor to end the day with combined special test times of less than sixty minutes.
With Great Britain’s trio of Jane Daniels (Fantic), Nieve Holmes (GASGAS), and Rosie Rowett (KTM), standing firm in second, Spain hold third, and like the USA and Great Britain ahead of them, Spain look all-but assured of a podium finish.
“We’re in third, Mireia (Badia – GASGAS) is flying, so we have to stay focused on these final two days and keep pushing to the very end,” confirmed Sandra Gomez. “I started the event really well, which was a little unexpected. The special tests are really fast, and I’m a much better rider on technical special tests. I’ll keep pushing, I’m doing my very best, and I’m enjoying the race. I just want to do my best for the team and hope we finish on the podium.”
In Enduro1, the day’s overall fastest rider Andrea Verona (GASGAS) topped the class comfortably. With Sweden’s Mikael Persson (KTM) continuing his impressive performances to claim the runner-up spot, just as he had on day three Davide Guarneri (Fantic) rounded out the day four as third fastest in E1.
“I arrived at the ISDE with a big ankle problem,” explained Guarneri. “I twisted it five days before the race. I wasn’t able to walk the tests so well, but thankfully things have got better. I made two big mistakes on the first day, and since then I’ve been getting my rhythm back, and improving, which is the most important thing. I’m feeling better and better, but now I have to think about our position as a team in the World Trophy competition.”
Enduro2 was topped for the fourth day running by Josep Garcia (KTM). Finishing ahead of Taylor Robert (KTM), and Michael Layne (Yamaha), Garcia was one of a number of riders to crash on day four.
“I started the day well but in the long enduro test I had a big crash and then exited the track twice,” explained Spain’s World Trophy team leader. “I found it difficult to concentrate and lost a lot of time after that. I kept pushing, took some time back, but with one of today’s special tests cancelled I ran out of time to close the gap. I was close to the overall win, but finally second behind Verona.”
Italian teammates Matteo Cavallo (TM), and Matteo Pavoni (TM), again finished as the top two in the Enduro3 class, with Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) making it three E3 class riders inside the overall top three.
The FIM International Six Days of Enduro continues on day five with competitors taking on the one-hundred and ninety-eight-kilometre Valle di Curone lap for the second and final time.
Visit fim-isde.com for more information.
Photo: © Dario Agrati