Enduro

Matt Phillips makes stunning ISDE debut

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Ballard's Yamaha racer Matt Phillips stunned the off road world with an amazing performance at the International Six Day Enduro event held in Finland as competition was wrapped up last weekend.

Phillips, the 18 year old Tasmanian racer, competing in his first international off road event and in only his second season of off road racing took on the world's best riders in the grueling six day event and bought home a fifth place finish in the E2 championship ( 450cc) and a ninth outright.

And while that sounds impressive enough, up until the final day Phillips was inside the top two in his class and confident of a strong finish to the event. He was also inside the top five outright, a remarkable performance regardless of his age and inexperience. Throughout the six days of competition, Phillips won several special tests outright and also had class honours in others that made the world stand back and take notice.

Unfortunately that result slipped when he received a time penalty just prior to the final motocross test and he dropped a few places in the class and overall standings.

"It was a bitter sweet event," Phillips said from Finland. "If you had of offered me a top 10 outright finish before the event, I would have taken it every time, but after being in the position I was in I have mixed emotions about it."

"So, on one hand I'm happy with the result and the way I raced. On the other, I'm a little disappointed to work so hard for five days and get in a podium position in my class only to let it slip on the last day."

"But, it was a huge effort from everyone and I must thank the Ballards' Yamaha team for their support in 2011. My YZ450F was a great bike to ride and stayed in great shape all week long."

Phillips will now return to Australia to take up the battle at the next round of the Australia Off-Road Championships at Callington in South Australia.

The ISDE is jewel in the crown of off road racing events where riders and team all around the world meet to tough it out through six days trail time, special tests and a final motocross test. The Finland event was seen as one of the most challenging in recent times and only adds weight to the result Matt Phillips bought home.

Main Photo: Phillips on the gas as he took on the world at the 2011 ISDE

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