U.S. riders bounce back on day five of ISDE
September 29, 2012
Story and photos by Steve Berkner
The U.S. International Six Days Enduro team saved its best performance for the penultimate day of the German ISDE. The team put in its best results on day five of the six-day event.
“We’re real happy with the results of the Junior Team, which has a solid lock on third,” said U.S. Team manager Antti Kallonen. “We knew we had a good group of riders, but we only had one returning rider with Six Days experience in Andrew (Delong). He, with first year riders Thad (Duvall), Jesse (Groemm) and Travis (Coy), came through. All they have to do is finish the final moto without any problems, and the results will be final.”
The third-place U.S. Junior team has an insurmountable gap to make up to move up in the final standings where France and Great Britain are ahead of the U.S. team by 14 minutes, 37 seconds, and 11 minutes, 45 seconds, respectively. However, the U.S. Junior Team enjoys a 15 minute, 30 second, lead over Australia in fourth.
“The whole week has just been a lot of fun even though day four was a little tough,” said U.S. Junior Team rider Jesse Groemm. “I’ve learned a lot this week about how to ride at Six Days. I was just trying too hard in the beginning, and my scores weren’t quite good enough.
“Other than that, it has been a great experience, especially when you’re riding through a small town and a whole bunch of people are lined up to watch you go by and they're waving and screaming and giving you high fives.”
Kallonen said that injuries played a role in how the U.S. Trophy Team's week has played out so far.
“If you’re looking for something on the bright side our scores today show that we had the right team coming here as (they) had their best scores for the week and lived up to their potential,” Kallonen said. “But with the injuries of Caselli (on day one), Robert (on day three) and Mullins (on day four), and a slower-than-average start, our overall finish is a little disappointing. But today’s results show that the team never gave up where they are still giving it their best even though making it on the podium is all but out of reach.”
U.S. Trophy Team rider Charlie Mullins, who led the U.S. Team’s efforts for the first three days before getting hurt on day four, said that he was able to ride with a taped shoulder.
“I know to some people it probably sounds like it’s pointless to go out and ride with no chance of getting (the team) back on the podium, but I really wanted to finish for myself and for the team,” he said.
Mullins rode the day for the third fastest time in the E2 class, his best performance for the week.
“Right now I’m not real excited about even riding a motorcycle tomorrow (for the final moto) but I’ll take a couple days off once we get back to the states,” Mullins added.
U.S. Trophy Team rider Taylor Robert, who currently has the best overall score for any American rider for this year’s Six Days, said that he's enjoyed the week.
“The week has been really tough, but it has also been a lot of fun riding with these guys,” he said. “I’m not much of a rider when it comes to riding on the slippery roots and rocks, which is something I don’t have back home where I live in Arizona, but I got through it. I wish we could have had a healthier team and a little better start. It really sucked when Kurt and Charlie got hurt. I hope we get a chance to ride another Six Days together.”
Day six has only a final moto test that will be held at the Sachsenring racing circuit, and 60% of the test will take place on the tarmac raceway.
“Our riders have to be careful (in the final moto),” Kallonen said. “We’re not used to racing on asphalt so precautions need to be made to not make mistakes.”
Day five saw all 27 U.S. riders that started the day finish, with the U.S. Wellard three-rider club team moving up one position from 14th to 13th.