Host nation Italy has made the best possible start to the ninety-fifth edition of the FIM International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) with winning team performances in both the World Trophy and Junior World trophy classes.
The much-anticipated opening day of competition also saw the USA top the Women’s World Trophy result with Josep Garcia posting the day’s fastest overall individual performance.
A largely dry and dusty day of competition with little in the way of shock results or unfortunate DNFs, it was Andrea Verona, Davide Guarneri, Thomas Oldrati, and Matteo Cavallo who, at the end of the one hundred and ninety five-kilometre, six special test day, collectively sat at the top of the World Trophy team results, 52.37 seconds ahead of Spain, with the USA close behind in third.
Right from the off, the three nations all delivered impressive collective performances, with Italy unquestionably helped by the strong showings of Andrea Verona and Matteo Cavallo. Fast from the off, Verona held a slender outright individual lead with just one special test to go, falling twice on the final test and allowing Spain’s Josep Garcia to go on and top the individual results with relative ease. In doing so Garcia helped Spain secure a strong second.
“I had a big battle with Josep Garcia all day, which was really good,” explained Verona at the end of the day. “I was ahead after the penultimate test and, well, I had a small fall in the final test and lost time. I somehow got some soil into my front brake lever, which meant the front brake was stuck on for a while. It was very strange. Then we had some rain and with the brake not so good I crashed again. Anyway, I’m happy. I had a good day and so did the team.”
While Italy hold the provisional World Trophy team lead at the end of day one, their advantage is anything but substantial. Less than one minute behind Italy, Spain’s Jaume Betriu, Josep Garcia, Marc Sans, and Cristobal Guerrero all successfully completed the day, keeping up the pressure on their European rivals and managing to stay ahead of the USA.
Sitting strong in third, the USA, led by former outright ISDE winner Taylor Robert, completed the day with incredibly similar overall special test times from each of their four riders. Despite Robert crashing on the opening test, the team looks set to battle with Spain and Italy throughout the event.
“I felt really good in the first test, but went down pretty hard and busted up my elbow a little,” explained Robert after the race. “It took a little while to get my rhythm back again. Josep and Andrea were on fire, but I had a decent day, and importantly so did the USA Trophy team. The enduro test wasn’t easy on a 450, but the tests were great. We’re in for a good week of racing.”
Behind the top three, France rounded out the opening day in fourth, a little under thirty seconds behind the USA. With Sweden fifth, helped by an impressive ride by Mikael Persson, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, the Czech Republic and Finland rounded out the top ten.
As it was in the World Trophy class, in the Junior World Trophy category Italy ended day one on top. Just over one minute ahead of France, who in turn finished less than two seconds up on the USA, the three Italians of Lorenzo Macoritto, Manolo Morettini, and Matteo Pavoni showed that just like their senior countrymen they are focused on doing just one thing this week – winning. So fast was team member Matteo Pavoni that he finished as the day’s outright second fastest rider, just twenty-one seconds behind Josep Garcia.
Not allowing Italy to get too far ahead, France secured a deserved runner-up result thanks to Luc Fargier, Leo Le Quere, and Antoine Criq as the trio also kept themselves ahead of the USA. France, who sit one minute behind Italy, but also narrowly ahead of the USA, have a lot to play for on day two. Equally, they have a lot to lose to the USA should any of their riders make any costly mistakes.
One better than their World Trophy teammates who sit fifth, Sweden holds fourth in the Junior World Trophy standings ahead of Spain and Finland, with Chile, Portugal, Czech Republic, and Norway rounding out the top ten.
Ending day one with the biggest advantage of all the national teams, the USA stamped their authority on the Women’s World Trophy class with a highly impressive winning result. Collectively Brandy Richards, Rachel Gutish, and Britney Gallegos sit three minutes and eighteen seconds ahead of Spain.
“I started out riding a little tight, but I progressed throughout the day,” commented Richards. “The tests were mostly long and fast, but they were fun to ride. The dirt and traction was different from place to place, but it was a good day for me.”
With Spain holding down second, and Great Britain third, it was Portugal and France who rounded out the top five with all eight Women’s World Trophy teams making it to the finish of the day.
Despite his falls in the final special test of the day, Andrea Verona finished day one at the top of the Enduro1 class results, close to ten seconds ahead of Sweden’s Mikael Persson. Delivering one of the standout rides of the day, Persson found himself as the Swedish filling in an Italian sandwich with Verona ahead of him and Junior World Trophy team rider Lorenzo Macoritto behind him.
Although not entirely happy with the way he rode throughout the day, Spain’s Jose Garcia has already opened up a near one-minute advantage at the top of the Enduro2 class, ahead of USA’s Taylor Robert and Italy’s Thomas Oldrati.
“My day was good, even if I took a lot of dust in some of the special tests, which made things tricky,” explained Garcia. “Also, I didn’t feel perfect on my bike. I’m not sure why, but anyway the day was good and I managed to win the overall too. I hope that tomorrow I can ride like I did on the final test today, and we’ll keep pushing as a team.”
With World Trophy team riders topping the Enduro1 and Enduro2 class result, in Enduro3 it was Italian Junior World Trophy team rider Matteo Pavoni who topped the time sheets. Fifteen seconds ahead of countryman Matteo Cavallo (TM), Pavoni kept experienced racers like the USA’s Ryan Sipes and Spain’s Jaume Betriu behind him.
At the top of the individual Women’s class results, it was the USA’s Brandy Richards, one minute and forty-seven ahead of Great Britain’s Jane Daniels, with Spain’s Mireia Badia third.
The FIM International Six Days of Enduro continues on day two with riders repeating the one hundred and ninety five-kilometre Valle di Staffora lap