In the FIM Junior World Trophy team event, France continued to hold onto the lead. However, at the end of a tough day of racing they were only able to increase their advantage over Great Britain by twenty-four seconds. With two days left in the FIM ISDE the margin between the two leading nations remains tight with Great Britain trailing France by only one-minute and fifty-two seconds. Day four saw another solid USA performance as they held onto their third place position. With Australia in fourth, Portugal completed the top five positions after four days of racing.
Here’s how the top ten teams in the World Trophy Team Competition fair:
1. France – 22:04:08.90
With a 32-minute lead France have all but got this race won. With just two days of racing left it’s a comfortable advantage that should see them coast their way to the chequered flag. But they’re still racing hard – all still trying to beat each other for individual overall honours. Day four saw Christophe Nambotin (KTM) take the win and with it the lead in the individual overall classification. At the end of day’s work area the majority of the team changed fork legs while Nambotin also changed a front and rear exhaust pipe, not because it was damage or noisy but because he wanted to try a different power curve. Soon after day four they left to walk day fives special tests.
2. Australia – 22:36:21.50 +32:12.60
Australia are doing everything they need to see this race out. Even with two of their top riders hurting, they show now signs of quitting.
As the fastest Aussie rider of the day, Matt Philips remarked, “Day four was tough with all rain that fell overnight. It mixed things up a little, and I think as the ninth rider starting each test it allowed me to see other peoples lines, the faster ones, so I knew where to go and which bog holes to avoid. It worked in my favour, as I was able to set up each obstacle a bit easier. I didn’t mind the rain and mud, coming from Tasmania it suits me so I was pleased to see it.”
3. Italy – 22:43:01.23 +38:52.33
With only five riders left, Italy are still putting in a good race. Husqvarna’s Alex Salvini is the fastest rider of the team but the rest of the squad are keeping pace. About six minutes in front of fourth placed Finland, they are getting ever closer to securing a podium finish.
“The mud was strange today,” claimed Salvini. “In the beginning it was very slippery but as it cut away it became very hard underneath. The enduro test was terrible, even worse than day three. With lots of mud holes, steep uphill’s and lots of fallen branches it was easy to get stuck.”
4. Finland – 22:49:33.59 +45:24.69
In the fight for fourth place the battle between Spain, Finland and now Sweden continues to tighten. After four days of racing Finland jump back up from sixth to fourth though the margin is only one-minute and 20 seconds. A couple of crashes or errors by the Finnish team and they may slip in the clutches of Spain. On a side note, Antti Hellsten (TM) has lifted his game and is now the second fastest rider on the team behind Eero Remes (KTM).
5. Spain – 22:50:51.96 +46:43.06
As mentioned Spain are currently fifth but not too far adrift of their Finnish rivals. Sandwiched between Finland and Sweden, the Spaniards can’t afford to relax just yet – two more decisive days of racing remain.
6. Sweden – 22:52:46.90 +48:38.00
Sweden move up one spot to sixth after day four and sit less than two minutes away from a top five result. If not for a costly one-minute time penalty that Husaberg’s Joakim Ljunggren was given on day three (which is still under protest) they may be even closer. The mud and axle deep ruts of day four suited the Swedes and they were one of the few nations still smiling after the torturous enduro test.
“I liked the enduro test, it was just like home,” laughed Joakim Ljunggren. “Of course it was tough with only two lines to choose from but that’s a kind of test I enjoy.”
7. USA – 22:56:30.91 +52:22.01
After ending day three in fifth, USA slipped back to seventh on day four. Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert was the fastest rider of the team. The deep ruts caught numerous riders out and KTM’s Charlie Mullins was one of them. Crashing hard enough to dislocate his shoulder, Mullins was almost ruled out of the event. Losing upwards of fifty minutes, he managed to carry on by popping it back in. Although in pain he somehow set the fastest time in the final special test of the day – seems USA are equally tough as the Aussies.
8. Great Britain – 23:20:47.66 +1:16:38.76
There’s no change for Great Britain as they hold down eight place. TM’s Jordan Rose was again the fastest rider of the day even though he didn’t like the enduro test too much – he’s also caught the same bug that bit both Jamie McCanney and Tom Sagar. Groggy is the word of the day in team GB.
9. Germany – 23:34:47.32 +1:30:38.42
Germany are continuing to climb the leader board. On the wettest and toughest day of the race, local knowledge may have played into their hands. Now ninth it’s unlikely they’ll pass Great Britain who are 14 minutes ahead. Nevertheless it’s been a strong ride up the leader board for Germany.
10. Netherlands – 23:41:00.84 +1:36:51.94
The Netherlands slipped back one spot but still hang on to a top ten position and have all six riders in play.