Day three of the FIM International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) saw a major shakeup of the leader board with the United States coming out on top in Portugal. As the ninety-fourth edition of the FIM ISDE reaches the halfway point in Portimao, the United States capitalised on a trip into the mountains, powering past RecoveR8 Team Australia in the FIM World Trophy class.
RecoveR8 team Australia still hold the lead in the FIM Junior World Trophy category, while the United States maintain their advantage in the FIM Women’s World Trophy competition.
With day three marking the halfway point in this year’s race, the five hundred competitors from twenty-six nations embarked on a new course known as the Monchique Route. Taking them deep into southern Portugal’s highest mountain range, added rain ensured demanding conditions and a testing day for all.
The United States came strong on day three as they sought to find a weakness in RecoveR8 Team Australia. After three special tests, they were pressuring their Australian rivals with three riders making up the top-four overall positions. However, at the end of the seventh and final test Australian Daniel Sanders - Husqvarna had fought his way back to the top to win the day. But with strength in numbers, the United States’ Taylor Robert - KTM, Kailub Russell - KTM and Ryan Sipes - KTM all slotted inside the top-six to lead as a team by one-minute and twelve seconds.
“The weather has been a bit crazy – it wasn’t quite raining hard, but still made things slippery,” told Russell. “It’s been hard to hit the lines you want on the tests. But as a team we’ve come good today. We’ve come strong at the right time and with all of us having solid results it’s put us into the overall lead. We’ll sleep well tonight and fight again tomorrow.”
Behind the top two there was no change in third position with Italy holding strong. While they have extended their lead over Finland in fourth, they slip to seven minutes behind the USA. Previously sitting fourth, Great Britain’s hopes of a podium result ended on day three with Joe Wootton - Husqvarna exiting the race. Finland moved up to fourth with France fifth and Germany sixth. Host nation Portugal are now eighth, with seventh-placed Sweden in their sights.
While RecoveR8 Team Australia did not have the best day at the office in the FIM World Trophy category, it also was not the best day for their FIM Junior World Trophy teammates. Although still holding onto the provisional class lead, they lost nearly two minutes to the United States. Taking a confidence-boosting victory on day three, the United States will now look to close the one minute and twenty second deficit to their rivals.
France upped their pace in the difficult conditions to place second on the day, closing in on Italy who hold third overall. With eighteen seconds separating the duo, it is all to play for regards a place on the podium. Great Britain are fifth, while Spain are clear of Portugal in sixth.
The FIM Women’s World Trophy saw the leader-board change drastically behind leaders the United States. Closest rivals Germany endured a difficult day dropping from second to fifth in the standings.
RecoveR8 Team Australia took victory on day three by seven seconds over the United States, moving them up to second overall. However, losing team member Makenzie Tricker - KTM from the race means any further issues for the defending champions could prove disastrous. Great Britain keep a chasing Spain at bay, but now find themselves in medal contention with third. Sweden complete the top-six.
“I’ve been trying to tough out a finger injury for the last few days,” explained Australian Tayla Jones - Husqvarna. “I’m glad to be on the hard-packed special tests today. We’ve done well today in the results, but losing Makenzie makes things tricky. All is not lost yet, but we can’t afford any more problems from here on out.”
After a troubled opening test, Enduro 1 category leader Josep Garcia - KTM of Spain showed his class by charging back to secure his third victory of the week. The win sees him extend his lead to nearly three minutes over Ryan Sipes. Italian Junior Andrea Verona - TM continues to impress. Third on day three, he sits just ten seconds behind Sipes in the standings. Australian Luke Styke - Yamaha is fourth, with his Junior teammate Lyndon Snodgrass - KTM fifth.
Delivering a winning ride on day three, Taylor Robert controls the proceedings in the Enduro 2 class. Battling hard with teammate Russell, Robert holds a thirty-seven second cushion over his countryman. Italy’s Davide Guarneri - Honda remains third, while Australian Fraser Higlett - Husqvarna is top Junior in fourth, followed by the United States’ Junior Ben Kelley - KTM in fifth.
There was no change in the Enduro 3 class with Daniel Sanders securing his third consecutive win. Sanders topped the category by forty-eight seconds over Great Britain’s Danny McCanney - TM. Although over five minutes behind Sanders, McCanney holds second in class, building his advantage over Italy’s Rudi Moroni - KTM to one minute and twenty-seven seconds. With both the United States’ Steward Baylor - KTM and Great Britain’s Alex Snow - Gas Gas close behind Moroni in fourth and fifth respectively, there’s still a lot to be decided in the remaining days.
While collectively Germany had a day to forget in the FIM Women’s World Trophy class, team leader Maria Franke - KTM enjoyed a winning result in the Enduro Women’s classification. In what was a fierce battle with United States’ Brandy Richards - KTM and Tayla Jones, Franke took the win by just four seconds. That result helps her close the gap to overall leader Richards to seventeen seconds. Jones remains third overall, with Jane Daniels - Husqvarna of Great Britain in fourth.
Day four of the FIM ISDE will see competitors battle another loop of the two hundred and sixty-six-kilometre-long Monchique Route.