With only the final day motocross races left to run, the ninety-fifth running of the International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) is all but over. Delivering one last long day in the saddle, the fifth ‘full’ day of racing saw some of the event’s closest action at the top of the World Trophy team competition. Italy took the day win, but were chased every step of the way by Spain, who finished just twenty one seconds behind. Italy also took another victory in the Junior World Trophy class while the USA once more topped the Women’s World Trophy class.
Baring a final day disaster, Italy are now all but assured of winning the World Trophy competition, carrying a five minute and twenty two second advantage into the Saturday’s motocross races. Although only extending their team lead by just over twenty seconds, it was a case of taking no risks for Andrea Verona (GASGAS), Davide Guarneri (Fantic), Thomas Oldrati (Honda), and Matteo Cavallo (TM).
Pushing hard to the very end of the competition, Spain, just as they have throughout this year’s ISDE, were the team that got closest to Italy and sit well-placed to secure a World Trophy runner-up result, once again helped by Josep Garcia (KTM) finishing as the day’s fastest overall rider.
“To be honest, today was really good,” explained a very happy Garcia. “I had one goal, not to crash in the enduro test like I did yesterday, but I crashed again. But I’ve ridden well today, and it was all about managing the gap over the other riders. I was pushing, but not taking big risks. This week has been awesome – I’ve won four of the five days and many, many tests, so it’s been great. Now I have to finish the work with the final motocross tomorrow.”
For the USA, day five was similar to previous days with solid performances from all team members but unable to significantly reduce the gap to Spain ahead of them. Sweden also had a good day to finish fourth, while France dropped from fifth to nineteenth following DNFs from both Theo Espinasse (Honda) and Hugo Blanjoue (KTM) after crashes.
Carrying a seven minute and ten second advantage into the sixth and final day, Italy’s Junior World Trophy team of Lorenzo Macoritto (TM), Manalo Morettini (KTM), and Matteo Pavoni (TM) managed the fifth day perfectly, doing enough to win by fourty four seconds, but not overstepping the mark and making mistakes or crashing.
With France’s World Trophy team’s hopes of a strong result ended on day five, their Junior World Trophy team stepped up with another strong performance to finish second and position themselves perfectly for an expected final runner-up result. Going one better than their senior teammates, Sweden sit third in the Junior World Trophy class going into the final day, just nine-and-a-half minutes down on Italy.
Holding fourth and looking very much like they will finish in the same position come the end of the event, Chile continue to fly the flag for South American enduro, followed by the Czech Republic, Norway, The Netherlands, and Germany.
With Austin Walton (Husqvarna) unable to make the start of day five following a crash on day four, the USA dropped from fourth to eleventh. While it was a disappointing day for the USA squad, for team member Dante Olivera (KTM), it turned out to be his best of the event so far.
“Yeah, today certainly felt like the best day of the week for me,” he explained. “Like a lot of riders, I guess, I felt a little better every day. I was on edge the first few days, didn’t want to lay the bike down in any of the tests. Getting used to this terrain getting comfortable sliding the bike around, that’s been really important this week. I’d been close to the top ten overall, so today I really just wanted to go for it and break the top ten, which thankfully I managed to do. It’s disappointing to be out as a team, but I’ll do my best tomorrow.”
Now more than thirteen minutes ahead in the Women’s World Trophy competition, day five was again all about team USA and their lead rider Brandy Richards (KTM). All but assured of the class win, the USA’s women’s team leader completed another day of test wins, needing just to win the final day’s motocross race to have finished the week undefeated.
“I’m stoked with how this week has gone for me. I had one clear goal – to go for the overall women’s class win and keep the USA at the top of the Women’s World Trophy class results, and I’ve done that,” said Brandy. “There’re so many fast riders here, to also be inside the top 100 of the overall is really cool. It’s been a tough week, the terrain here in Italy has been unique and pretty hard to master, but with one day to go things are looking good.”
With no changes of position to any of the Women’s World Trophy teams, Great Britain and Spain go into the sixth day separated by one minute and thirteen seconds and with everything to play for.
“We have to push the most we can and see what happens,” explained Spain’s fastest rider Mireia Badia. “It’s been a really good day for us today as Sandra (Gomez) made some good times in the special tests. Today was more technical, and that suited here much better. I had another good battle with Jane (Daniels – Fantic), which is the story of the race for me. It’s been fun and for me, it’s been a good week. I’ve had some days with mistakes, but overall, it’s been good.”
With Josep Garcia (KTM) again finishing as the day’s outright fastest rider, in the Enduro1 class it was Italy’s Andrea Verona (GASGAS) who topped the results, ahead of Mikael Persson (KTM) and Davide Guarneri (Fantic).
“My goal was to do my best for Italy and also to try and win the Enduro1 class,” commented Verona. “I can say that, so far, I have done all I can to achieve those two goals. I’ve also enjoyed some great battles with Josep Garcia in the overall. It’s been fantastic to race an ISDE at home – wearing the Italian jersey in Italy has been everything I expected it to be. It’s been an incredible week, now I want to finish safely and with a good result in the final motocross.”
Behind Garcia in Enduro2 it was again the USA’s Taylor Robert (KTM) in second with USA Junior World Trophy team rider Dante Oliveira (KTM) third fastest.
“I’m not exactly where I wanted to be this week, coming into the event I really wanted to try and compete for the overall, but maybe I expected a little too much of myself,” explained Robert. “I broke my collarbone and didn’t ride for six weeks before getting here, so I only had four days on a bike before flying to Italy. As a team we’ve given the event our best shots. It’s been fun.”
In Enduro3 it was again the two-stroke of Matteo Cavallo (TM) that was fastest. With teammate Matteo Pavoni (TM) not wanting to take any chances and risk crashing, he finished third. Second went to Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM).
“I only spent two weeks on this bike before racing at the ISDE, so I am very, very happy with the way everything has gone this week,” confirmed Cavallo. “Also, in June I broke my leg and also crashed very hard at the world championship race in Sweden and injured my back. So, I’m really pleased that I have been able to ride well, ride without problems, and help Italy all of this week. It’s been a fantastic experience for me.”
The 2021 FIM International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) will conclude tomorrow with the sixth and final day motocross races at the Crossodromo Valle Scrivia.
Visit fim-isde.com for more information.
Photo: © Dario Agrati