Interview: ISDE 2018 winner Daniel Milner – "we did our homework"

Catching five minutes with outright FIM International Six Days Enduro and World Trophy Team winner, Daniel Milner…

 

2018 International Six Days Enduro overall winner, E3 class winner, and World Trophy Team winner not to mention Australian Champion. An epic ISDE in Chile topped off a hell of a year for the KTM Australia rider, Daniel Milner. 

Despite losing Lyndon Snodgrass from the Trophy Team on day three, the collective performance from Milner, Daniel Sanders and Josh Strang was a lesson in how to win the ISDE. 

In a bid to understand more about the mentality behind that dominant victory (not to mention that of the Australian Women’s Trophy Team) we caught up with Milner post-ISDE.

What’s it like to top the ISDE overall and win the most coveted trophy in World Enduro? Did he expect to win? What was the feeling like in the team when Snodgrass retired? How did they make it look so easy?

 

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Looking at the whole week in Chile, how does it feel to stand on top of the world as team and overall winner? 

Daniel Milner: “To get through that week as solid as we did was awesome. Really it just feels totally awesome and I’m stoked to be able to take the win in the way we did.”

Winning overall at the ISDE must mean a lot to you?

“This is the first time I’ve got to win the scratch outright. I’ve been close with second place for two years. I was first loser twice! 

“This year was my eighth ISDE and my going rate hasn’t been that good – I had some DNFs – so to win the scratch is awesome, I’m really stoked with that result.”

 

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Did you travel to Chile and arrive at the start thinking, ‘I can do this’?

“Yeah, for sure. I had a good season back home and Chucky (Daniel Sanders) has been pushing me all season so I knew we had a really good team. I knew myself I was riding really good and all those ingredients were right heading to Chile. 

“Then when we arrived and walked all the tests it was kinda like being at home, even down to the gum trees and everything, so it suited us. We walked everything and did our homework.”

 

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You were walking tests all week before but you also went out each night to go through tests again?

“To be honest right now I’m buggered! We walked every night so we knew what was coming the next day, maybe not every part of every test again but the points we thought we needed to. 

“It took a lot of effort from the team but we wanted to make sure we did our homework. We worked hard all week to give ourselves as much benefit as we could possibly do.”

This year personally you began day one in third place, before going on to top the results each day following. Was that experience on day one telling you to take it easier to ease yourself in?

“In the past I’ve gone out on day one by pushing too hard. So for me this year the goal was to get through day one clean and go from there.

“I didn’t even expect to finish on the first minute. I just wanted to get through it especially with how dusty it was in among the other riders on day one. It was the biggest problem on day one to be able to pass people in the dust and not knowing what you were going to hit.”

 

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Day three you took the overall lead for yourself but Australian team-mate, Lyndon Snodgrass, retired leaving you with a three-rider team. It must have been a day for mixed emotions?

“For sure. I knew that with Lyndon out we couldn’t make mistakes and it had to be clean for us guys for the rest of the week. We just went out and rode our own race and tried not to do anything different and went from there.”

Day four and five things seemed to turn up a notch for you personally. You clocked up 11-straight test wins from day three, four and five. Were you riding at 100 per cent at that point, totally focused or how were you feeling riding at that level through so many tests? 

“I think I just got in the groove and felt comfortable. I could feel that my bike set-up was perfect for where we were racing, and I felt like I could put it where ever I wanted. Having that kind of confidence helps a lot. 

“Once I had that confidence, I knew I just had to keep smooth and run tests five or six seconds up through the day then I knew we just had to keep that going.”

 

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Heading in to the final day’s racing in the motocross test must be a little tough knowing five days hard work could be knocked on its head (Milner had a 1m:27s overall lead, the Australian Trophy Team had a 7m:29s cushion)?

“The night before was one of those sleepless nights worrying about it. Definitely one of those nights when you lie awake thinking about the worst that could happen. 

“To get through that race clean felt like a relief. I tried to ride a smooth and consistent race, and make no mistakes, which is what I did.”

 

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Were the team quite relaxed all week? Especially when you were collectively smashing it but nearing the end of the Six Days with a big lead?

“Yeah I think so. It actually was the most relaxed our team has been in the Six Days and the most relaxed it was all week in Chile when we got in to the thick end of things with the lead. 

“I think that comes with experience. A few years ago getting near the podium or the end of the week was always really stressy for us because we’d never been there before. But when you get higher up the results, things come better and the feeling gets better and better too.” 

Daniel finished with an individual lead of 1m:54s ahead of Taylor Robert after the Six Days. The Australian World Trophy Team rounded the week with 7m:09s over Team USA.

 

 

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Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com