The United States defend their FIM World Trophy lead on day four of the FIM International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) in Portugal. Drama has struck six-time FIM Women’s World Trophy winner’s RecoverR8 Team Australia as they exit the competition, while their compatriots continue to head the FIM Junior World Trophy classification.
The FIM Enduro Vintage Trophy took to the track with Italy’s Mario Rinaldi topping the eighty-one rider entry on the opening day of racing.
The twists and turns of the ninety-fourth FIM ISDE continued on what proved to be a wet, windy and at times blustery fourth day of competition in Portimao. The beaten trails of the technically demanding two hundred and sixty-six-kilometre-long Monchique Route pushed the five hundred plus entry from twenty-six nations to their limits.
Moving another step closer to securing their second FIM World Trophy victory, the United States edged out their closest rivals and defending champions RecoveR8 Team Australia for victory on day four. Despite the best efforts of Australian Daniel Sanders – Husqvarna who secured his fourth consecutive outright win, collectively the United States proved too strong. Taylor Robert – KTM, Steward Baylor – KTM and Kailub Russell – KTM all finished inside the top seven, extending their lead to one minute and twenty-seven seconds.
Behind the top two, Italy maintain their position of third overall with the third fastest time on the day. Extending their advantage over Spain in fourth, they now hold a sizeable seven-minute lead over the Spaniards. However, while both Italy and Spain are now down to three riders, Finland and France – in fifth and sixth respectively – have all riders intact and are ready to capitalise on any further errors from the teams ahead of them.
Host nation Portugal remain inside the top-ten with ninth. Team leader Diego Ventura – Yamaha is enjoying having the FIM ISDE on his home soil.
“It’s been an amazing week so far having the FIM ISDE here in Portugal,” tells Ventura. “I raced in the Junior team when it was in Portugal in 2009 and now here, we are in 2019 and I get to compete again for my country, this time on the World Trophy team.”
“It’s an incredible feeling to race an event like this in your home country. There is so much support and it really pushes you on. We still have some way to go, so hopefully we can improve more and finish higher up.”
RecoveR8 Team Australia put in a definitive charge on day four to cement their position at the head of the FIM Junior World Trophy category. Untouchable today, they claimed a commanding four-minute victory over Italy. That result moves them close to a nine-minute advantage over the United States, who sit in second position, with only two days of competition remaining.
Gaining time on the United States, Italy’s second place on day four closes the gap to two minutes and thirty seconds. Spain drop further behind the leading trio, sitting almost fourteen minutes behind Italy in fourth. Host nation Portugal delivered another consistent showing to move inside the top-five – capitalising on the exit of Great Britain.
Day four delivered a true shakeup in the FIM Women’s World Trophy class, which saw RecoveR8 Team Australia’s hopes of a coveted seventh consecutive victory come to an end. Following yesterday’s exit of Makenzie Tricker – KTM, today team leader Tayla Jones – Husqvarna crashed hard and was forced to withdraw. The outcome sees the United States move clear of closest challengers Great Britain by a sizeable thirteen minutes and eight seconds.
Great Britain – in what is their debut FIM ISDE – are on course to claim a memorable result. Sitting second overall, they head Germany in third by just over three minutes. Second fastest on day four, Germany will be motivated to bridge that gap to Great Britain and have two more days of racing to do so. Three minutes behind Germany in fourth, Spain are not out of the running for a podium result either, while Sweden complete the top-five.
Spain’s Josep Garcia – KTM produced another dominant display of riding in Enduro 1 to claim his fourth win of the week. Sweeping all seven special tests, he also ended his day as outright second fastest rider to Sanders. He tops the category by over five minutes from the United States’ Ryan Sipes – KTM, with Italy’s Andrea Verona – TM in third and leading Junior.
Taylor Robert was again quickest in Enduro 2. Robert continues to prove himself as the rider to beat and now moves further clear of fellow countryman Kailub Russell in second. Italy’s Davide Guarneri – Honda completes the top three, with Australian’s Fraser Higlett – Husqvarna and Josh Green – Yamaha fourth and fifth overall respectively.
As now expected, Daniel Sanders showed his rivals the way to go for the fourth day running. Untouchable, taking seven test wins from seven, he puts himself six minutes and twenty-five seconds clear of Great Britain’s Danny McCanney – TM. Delivering his best result of the week, Steward Baylor moves up to third overall — passing Italy’s Rudi Moroni – KTM — thanks to the third fastest time on the day.
The Enduro Women’s class witnessed some of the day’s biggest developments with the exit of Tayla Jones and Germany’s Maria Franke – KTM taking over the race lead from United States’ Brandy Richards – KTM. Franke was on flying form, topping five of the day’s seven tests to win over Jane Daniels, while overall leader Brandy Richards – KTM had a difficult day in third.
Franke now leads the classification by one minute and twenty-six seconds from Richards, with Daniels close behind in third. Jessica Gardiner – Yamaha is the sole remaining Australian in fourth with Spain’s Mireia Badia – Husqvarna fifth.
Day four of the FIM ISDE also saw the FIM Enduro Vintage Trophy competition get underway in earnest. Led by Mario Rinaldi – KTM, Italy swept the top four positions. Rinaldi beat Maurizio Casartelli – Puch by thirteen seconds, with Giovanni Sala – KTM just six tenths behind in third. Stefano Passeri placed fourth and France’s Philippe Barthomeuf completed the top-five.
Day five, the penultimate day of the FIM ISDE, sees competitors tackle a new course. Crossing the Barocal, which takes place to the south west of the Algarve region and will be characterised by gravel and rocks and will feature two hundred and eighty-five kilometres of riding.