In the Junior World Trophy Team competition, the leader board changed once more as it’s now France that take control of the race lead. Great Britain still chase them hard for second position while USA begin to pick up pace and slot into third place.
Here’s a summary of how the top ten countries faired after day three…
1. France – 16:41:02.24
As the race moves past the halfway distance, France continued to extend their lead in the World Trophy Team competition. With four of the six French riders locking out the top four positions in the individual overall classification, it seems that France are now fighting it out amongst themselves to claim not only victory in the team event but also for individual medals. The only drama they faced was Christophe Nambotin (KTM) needing to replace a silencer.
2. Australia – 16:59:42.16 +18:39.92
Australia are not only proving to be the surprise nation of the event but also one of the toughest. Although slipping behind the French they have now built up a healthy seven-minute cushion over Italy. All six riders remain intact though two are known to carry injuries. Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney’s knee took a beating as his knee brace carved a deep wound into his leg (see separate story), while KTM’s Toby Price is also in pain. A heavy crash has resulted in a cracked rib. Though he’s constantly feeling the bone ends grind together, Price starts day four.
“Day three was really long, almost 350km,” confirmed Price. “I’m a bit bruised and I think I’ve broken a rib. I crashed on one of the trail sections and landed on my chest. Right now it’s just a matter of keeping going. This is a team race so I need to suck it up!”
3. Italy – 17:07:39.33 +26:37.09
Day three took its toll on Italy as they lost Oscar Balletti (Beta) due to mechanical issues. Now with five riders, Italy need to rely on strong finishes by all of their riders to hang onto their top three position. They’re over three minutes clear of Spain in fourth but the six-man squad of USA are a team they need to keep their eye on.
4. Spain – 17:11:03.41 +30:01.17
After losing Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) on day two through injury, Spain has now settled back into the race. Still hanging onto their fourth place position, they remain in touch with Italy but like the Italians will have to watch their back as USA are beginning to find some extra speed.
5. USA – 17:11:58.81 +30:56:57
USA are quietly working their way up the leader board. A distant sixth after days one and two, USA now place fifth after day three but by maintaining a full team of riders they are capable of closing the gap to both Spain and Italy.
6. Finland – 17:14:14.65 +33:12.41
Day three was a difficult one for Finland as they lost one of their leading riders – Juha Salminen (Husqvarna). Mechanical issues caused numerous problems for Salminen and by the end of lap one he was forced to retire.
“My day was Ok,” remarked team member Antti Hellsten. “I had a few problems on the enduro test but otherwise everything was fine. I’m riding well in the cross tests but still need to find a couple of seconds here and there. The day was long and tough with some tricky uphill’s on the going but it’s all the little bumps on the trail that are beginning to hurt the wrists.”
7. Sweden – 17:17:03.95 +36:01.71
Sweden were another team to lose a rider as Husaberg’s Martin Larsson failed to make it past day three. However, they still remained stationed in seventh position thanks to the strong rides of Robert Kvarnstrom (Beta) and Husaberg’s Joakim Ljunggren.
8. Great Britain - 17:37:53.26 +56:51.02
There was no change for Great Britain on day three as they remain in eighth position. Again it’s TM mounted Jordan Rose that’s the fastest rider of the team with Husaberg’s Jamie McCanney backing him up. A crash in the final special test cost McCanney about twenty seconds when his leg got trapped under his bike. Jamie is still feeling the effect of his hay fever symptoms but is determined to not let it bother him.
Day three was a lot better for me,” remarked Paul Edmondson. “The course itself was a lot more technical with some challenging hill climbs on the trail. On the first two days I struggled a little to find my pace – it’s been a few years since I last raced a 125 but I’m beginning to adapt. Right now I’m trying my best to do my bit for the team. The team’s spirit is great and everybody is working well together.”
9. Netherlands – 17:47:12.56 +1:06:10.32
It’s stalemate for Netherlands as they finished ninth. Now ten minutes behind Great Britain but only six in front of an improving Germany, the Netherlands can’t afford to relax just yet.
10. Germany – 17:53:16.82 +1:12:14.58
Finally we see the host nation enter the top ten in the World Trophy Team competition. Fourteenth on day one, 11th on day two and now 10th on day three, Germany is moving in the right direction as the massive crowd of supporters will them on every step of the way.