Our digest from day six soaks up the whole week at the 2018 International Six Days Enduro in Chile where Australia have dominated, USA put up a fight and Italian Juniors impressed.
The smell of burning engine oil was hanging in the air for the sixth and final day’s action at the 2018 ISDE. After a week of hard work, engines were blowing through their backsides as riders gave it everything for one last time on a sandy final motocross test.
Alongside glorious rolling Pacific waves on the beach at Concon, it was a dramatic and frantic end to the 2018 ISDE.
For a select few machines the party wasn’t over there either. Rattling off their rev-limiters through podium celebrations, Italian Juniors and Australian Seniors showed no mercy.
The Australian Women’s Trophy were more sympathetic with their celebrations, leaving the bikes to rest while they sank beers and swapped stories with runners-up team USA and the delighted Spanish Women’s team.
Those triumphant Italian Juniors, headed by E1 individual winner Andrea Verona, put on the kind of collective performance needed to win this prestigious ISDE prize. “We are really happy for the win today because last year we lose the Junior Trophy by just 15 seconds so to get the win today is really good for us.” Says Verona.
Conditions were fast all week in Chile and that clearly suited the TM rider who has played second fiddle to his Italian team-mate, Matteo Cavallo, all season in EnduroGP. Turning the tables at the ISDE, Verona has taken the E1 individual win, Junior Trophy winner and sixth overall in category 1 (E1, E2, E3).
Italian riders placed fifth though ninth individually, Giacomo Redondi taking the best performance in fifth. None of them, however had the answer in the E3 race for a whippet-like performance from Zach Bell who bumped the trend for four-strokes on the final day, making his 300 Husky sing in the sand.
If it was a good week for Italy then was it a bad week for France? It is hard not to think otherwise for the out-going ISDE winners who dropped well below the bar: third in the Juniors was their best team result with the World Trophy team dropping to fourth at the finish after a yo-yo week in Chile.
Third for the Junior team is a prize of course but at 18 minutes adrift of the Italians it wasn’t where they wanted to be. The best placed French rider in the scratch class was Loic Larrieu in 12th, one place ahead of Christophe Charlier.
Loic ended his 2018 ISDE and his time racing for Yamaha (that’s another story) with a win on day six. In fact he made it look easy. As did Livia Lancelot taking the final test win in the Women’s category – Lancelot finished third overall in class (C2).
USA could feel disappointed, “our goal was to win” explains team manager, Antii Kallonen. “We were hopeful that we would put it to the Australians, but you got to take second in every class as a positive.” By any measure the World, Junior and Women’s Trophy runners-up positions is the model of consistency needed to win the ISDE. The trouble is they came up against a super-dominant Australian team. “It shows we have the talent and the depth in our team in every category. We’ll build on that.” Antii concludes.
Did Australia have it good in the hard and dry conditions? Milner says it suited them because the Aussies have had a dry year domestically but that belittles the performance of himself and Daniel Sanders particularly who’ve romped the results all week long.
“Chucky (Sanders) has pushed me all the way here and all season and that’s why I knew we had a strong team for ISDE." Says Milner. "It’s been kind of like back home a lot of the time, even down to racing between the gum trees, so it suited us and we did our homework and it paid off.”
How did it feel to cross the finish line on top of the Enduro world? “Awesome! Last night was one of those sleepless nights thinking about stuff so to get through that clean was a relief. But I tried to ride a smooth and consistent race and make no mistakes and I did that.
“This is the first time I’ve won outright – I’ve been close two years where I was the first loser twice so be able to win the scratch I’m absolutely stoked. I’ve done eight ISDEs now and haven’t had the best record, I’ve had a lot of DNFs and a lot of stupid stuff that went wrong so really this year it couldn’t have gone better.” Amen to that Daniel.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the Aussie Women’s Trophy team too. Six wins on the bounce at ISDE – six! “It’s been a long week but I’m so happy right now” Tayla Jones told us after taking victory at the Concon MX test on day six. “I got the overall but winning the team trophy is obviously what we’re here for. All three of us finished, we had a good week and we made it six in a row!”
You’d expect Jones to find the last day’s MX test a nerve-wracking race on the sandy track. Though she had a 2m:44s lead after day five, errors are so easily made in the race format on a track surface like this. Cool as a cucumber, Jones shoots down the idea, “not really, I had a pretty big lead coming in to today and I was confident I just had to finish really so I had a lot of fun out there, Livia smashed it, but it was cool and a fun way to end the week.”
It is a statement which says plenty about the confidence of Jones but also about the way Australia have gone about their business this week in Chile.
'Till the next one, over and out...
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org