American Women’s World Trophy team maintains class lead, Junior Trophy team holds onto second
Story and photos by Mark Kariya
PORTIMAO, Portugal — After enduring a tough day on Tuesday, the U.S. ISDE World Trophy team put in a stellar performance on Wednesday to capture the overall lead of the 2019 FIM International Six Days Enduro.
American World Trophy riders Steward Baylor, Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes took advantage of new terrain to wrest the lead from Australia on the third day of the event, while the U.S. Women’s World Trophy team held onto the class lead they claimed on Day 2.
The entire ISDE field faced wet, slick conditions on Wednesday in the mountains of the new course. Riders completed two laps of the course for a 165-mile day.
After finishing Day 2 50.43 seconds behind Australia, the U.S. World Trophy team now owns a lead of 1:04.12 seconds over the Aussies. Italy remains third place, but fell nearly two minutes farther behind.
In the Junior World Trophy Class, the American trio of Grant Baylor, Ben Kelley and Josh Toth put in consistently fast times on Day 3 to best class leader Australia, cutting more than two minutes into the Aussie’s lead. Australia now leads the U.S. squad by 1:20.92. Italy is in third place and closing in on the Americans, but is still 4:12.45 in arrears.
Australia was about seven seconds faster than the U.S. Women’s World Trophy team Wednesday and moved into second place in class. However, the American team of Tarah Gieger, Brandy Richards and Becca Sheets had enough of a lead going into the day to remain 1:07.21 ahead of Australia when competition ended on Day 3. Great Britain is now third, while Germany fell from third to fifth in the standings behind Spain.
“We did exactly what I was saying yesterday, what we needed to do,” Robert said. “Kailub and I just keep doing our thing and Ryan is back up with us. That’s exactly what happened. I was [third fastest] on the day, Kailub was [fourth] and Ryan was sixth. To have all three of us there in the top six is great, and we closed that gap to [E3 class leader] Daniel Sanders. He was kind of carrying the Australian team there for a little bit.”
U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen was happy with how Wednesday unfolded for the American Trophy teams.
“New terrain and new tests obviously helped us,” he said. “Although we thought we were going to be good in the sand [tests] on Days 1 and 2, we weren’t quite as good as the Australians there. So, they pulled a gap on us, but now we’re on more of a clay [surface] and no sand anymore. We were able to close on them and actually pulled away a little bit.
“It’s something that our guys are getting extra motivation from and extra boost on Day 3. Now we have two more full days and then the final motocross. So, I think this came at the right time, this turn of events. They all rode well.”
American Junior World Trophy rider Grant Baylor had one of his better days so far at the 2019 edition of the event, though mistakes continued to downgrade his day-end result.
“I had some really good test runs in the beginning of the day and then the second lap around, I just wrecked a few too many times and lost a bunch of time laying on the ground,” he said. “I was in the top 10 overall before that, and at the end of the day, I ended up [18th] so not too bad.”
In addition, Toth enjoyed his best day yet. His time on Day 3 was about 15 seconds behind Baylor, and he finished the day with the 29th best individual overall time.
With the Australian Women’s Trophy team losing Mackenzie Tricker, GNCC champion Tayla Jones and Jessica Gardiner can’t afford a mistake the rest of the week if they want to catch the American team. Australia actually finished the day more than seconds faster than the Americans.
“[Becca and I] will keep putting pressure on Jess, and Brandy will keep putting pressure on Tayla,” Gieger said.
While the German Women’s Trophy team plummeted in the standings, German rider Maria Franke beat Richards for the day’s best time in class by 4.73 seconds. Overall, Richards leads Franke by 17.58 seconds.
In the Club team standings, the American XC Gear of Dante Oliveira, Ricky Russell and Austin Walton remained atop the Club team standings, though they lost five seconds to the second-place team from France. The gap between them is now 9:50.84.
The Gas Gas USA squad (J.T. Baker, Tyler Vore and Trent Whisenant) held onto ninth place, Mojo Motorsports (Anson Maloney, Josh Knight and Tanner Whipple) slipped a spot to 13th and the Eric Cleveland Memorial team (Kevin DeJongh, Nic Garvin and Austin Serpa) remained 16th despite Garvin having some motorcycle issues.
The Elizabeth Scott Community team (Jayson Densley, Paul Krause and Brian Storrie) moved up two positions to 31st.
After losing Anthony Krivi to a suspected tendon problem, Missouri Mudders (James King and Nathan Rector) dropped to 75th. And after Blayne Thompson’s bike issues on Day 2, the AMA District 37 team got rocked again with Jacob Argubright exiting due to an oil issue in his bike. Rider Nate Ferderer is now the sole representative of the team still competing.
A huge bottleneck at one point slowed down many of the Club riders, so the event organizers declared the final two tests of the day null and void.