Team GB of Danny McCanney, Jamie Lewis, Nathan Watson and Jamie McCanney took a fine second place in the ISDE in Spain as America won the event for the first time ever. KTM’s Taylor Robert (USA) emerged as the overall winner with his KTM 350 EXC-F and also won the E2 class behind US teammate and KTM rider Kailub Russell. E1 went Josep Garcia (ESP) with KTM factory riders Nathan Watson(GBR) second and Victor Guerrero (ESP) third.
Robert said: “The team rode well all week. Everyone made some mistakes but we helped each other and I know a few had banged up knees and arms but they all went out there and put in their best effort. I was super stressed out the last days. I lost time yesterday and the Motocross test was super sketchy. It was such a good feeling when I got the phone call to say Thad had finished and I had beaten Sanders. Being in Europe this year has finally paid off.” Robert spent the 2016 team racing the World Enduro Championship with the KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team.
Watson raced his first Six Days after making the switch from Motocross to join the KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team at the beginning of the season. “It was difficult and the first two days were a disaster. It was a good experience but I could have been better,” he commented.
Russell said it had been a bittersweet experience. “I really wasn’t prepared as I could have been with my bike and I missed my setup by miles. I struggled and I got pushed back as the tracks got rougher so I definitely need to do a bit more preparation with the bike and figure out the terrain. But I had a few good tests and I was pretty consistent all week. I’m happy we got the win. Its been out goal since 2013, but I’m frustrated with how I was 20 seconds off in some tests I know I could do well in.”
Team USA made a solid start to their bid for the World Trophy with an early lead in day one but in general, the fight for glory delivered plenty of close finishes and drama, especially on day five, to make this an ISDE to remember.
Day two saw the World Trophy action tighten between the three leaders, USA, Italy and Spain, who were only 10 second apart at the end of the day. Riders contested the same tracks as day one and despite a heavy crash in the third test, Robert ended his day second overall in the individual rider battle behind Josep Garcia of Spain. The second day also exacted revenge on Team Australia, one of the pre-race favorites. Josh Strang went out on day one with a broken ankle and teammate Daniel Milner retired with a technical issue on the second day. In the Junior Trophy Spain topped the rankings after the second day with Sweden and USA at 2-3. The women’s trophy saw Australia at the top, ahead of Spain with KTM’s Sanz, and Germany in third with Maria Franke, the fastest woman of the day. Riders covered six tests over 310 km and ended the day in the rain.
Riders, by now accustomed to dust had to contend with rain and extremely slippery conditions on the third day, where they also rode on different trails. Conditions seemed to suit the Americans who extended their lead in the World Trophy by 1.5 minutes over Italy, with Spain and Great Britain in 3-4. Robert was again fastest individual rider and continued to head the E2 class ahead of Russell. Meanwhile Sweden consolidated their lead in the Junior Trophy, as did Australia in the women’s competition. Riders were on the trails for 247 km.
Riding conditions in the morning were very slippery after overnight rain but cleared during the day to again throw up the dust. Italy won the day in the World Trophy, finishing 14 seconds ahead of the Americans but USA stayed ahead in the overall rankings despite Robert’s mistake in the opening test. Great Britain, with Watson was third on a day that saw USA take a lead of one minute 22 seconds over Italy. Riders commented that there had been very little traction on the wet rocks. In the Junior Trophy, Sweden’s overall advantage dropped to just 24 seconds after USA (with KTM’s Steward Baylor) won the day. Finland was second, followed by Italy and Sweden in the day’s ranking. After four days riding less than 30 seconds separated the top two teams to set the stage for intense competition in the final two days. Sanz (KTM) was the fastest woman on the fourth day. Robert was second fastest rider but maintained his overall lead, also in the E2 class. Watson had a very close battle with Garcia in E1 to finish the day trailing by two seconds.
Day five saw the riders tackle 200 km and six tests over a mix of trails from the previous days, but over a new route and as the day progressed the World Trophy competition was completely shaken up. First KTM factory veteran Ivan Cervantes was unable to start after an injury the previous day, which was a huge blow to the home team but also for the Spanish rider who was contesting his career final Enduro competition. Spain thus dropped from fourth to 15th in the World Trophy before the day began. Then Italy saw their hopes of the top place dashed after Manuel Monni crashed in the first test and broke his hand. USA claimed the day victory ahead of Great Britain and the Czech Republic and at the end of the day USA led the overall by four minutes over those same teams. In the Junior Trophy Sweden led the overall by just 27 seconds over USA with Italy third, some four minutes off the winning pace. Robert hung onto his lead in the overall individual riders competition but Team Australia’s Daniel Sanders (E3, KTM) was only 12 seconds behind going into the final day. Robert also went into the final day with a two and a half minute lead over US teammate Kailub Russell in the E2 class. The competition wrapped up in the traditional way on the final day with a single motocross test.
Final Standings ISDE 2016 after 6 of 6 days
1. Taylor Robert (USA), KTM, 3:22:46.65 h (E2 class winner)
2. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, +17.90 sec (E3 class winner)
3. Josep Garcia (ESP), Husqvarna, +46.24 (E1 class winner)
4. Giacomo Redondi (ITA), Honda, +1:14.05 min (E3)
5. Luis Correia (POR), Beta, + 1:28.70 (E3)
7. Kailub Russell (USA), KTM, +2:35.86 (E2)
9. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, +3:50.62 (E1)
Final Standings Women ISDE 2016 after 6 of 6 days
1. Maria Franke (GER), KTM, 3:51:58.61 (E1 class)
2. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, +52.35 (E1)
3. Tayla Jones (AUS), Yamaha, +2:26.71 min (E1)
4. Tarah Gieger (USA), Honda, +14:51.97 (E1)
5. Jemma Wilson (AUS), Yamaha, +14:54.33 (E1)
Final Standings World Trophy ISDE 2016 after 6 of 6 days
1. USA (Kailub Russell, Michael Layne, Robert, Thad Duvall), 13:46:40.93 h
2. United Kingdom (Daniel McCanney, Jamie Lewis, Watson, Jamie McCanney), +3:38.66 min
3. Czech Republic (Ondrej Helmich, Patrik Markvart, Jaromir Romancik, Jiri Hadek), +29:42.34
Final Standings Women’s World Trophy ISDE 2016 after 6 of 6 days
1. Australia (Jessica Gardiner, Tayla Jones, Jemma Wilson), 7:57:39.29 h
2. Spain (Sanz, Mireia Badia, Sandra Gomez), +3:48.67 min
3. Germany (Maria Franke, Vanessa Danz, Heike Petrick), +18:08.46
Final Standings Manufacturers Award ISDE 2016 after 6 of 6 days
1. Beta Boano 1 (Deny Philippaerts, Matteo Cavallo, Luis Correia), 9:55:27.88 h
2. KTM 1 (Watson, Russell, Robert), +9.26 sec
3. Husqvarna 1 (Pascal Rauchenecker, Josep Garcia, Daniel McCanney), +11:50.77 min