Here’s what’s happening with Team USA’s Trophy Team.
Technically, day four is the day I took off. Since I was totally over putting my life in the hands of race team managers behind the wheel of their rental cars, I stuck around the pits today and got some work done. I did jump up the mountain for the first Red Bull MX test.
The only positive I can find through the loss of Kurt Caselli to our Trophy Team is the apparent kick in the ace it gave everyone else on the squad. There is no time to throw out now and, while I haven’t asked anyone specifically, I have a feeling everyone is stepping it up with this in mind.
First on my props list is Nathan Woods. He should start an hour behind his teammates at every race he does because since doing so from day two on he’s won four special test fastest times, grabbed two seconds and on third. He’s gone from 67th place in the E2 standings to 32nd. And he’s dropping fast times when the team needs him the most. He owns the motocross track right outside the pits and hasn’t lost a test there since the first day.
An interesting factoid: Nathan Woods’ time in the MX test was matched today by USA C3 rider Kyle Kubitsheck!
Next up is Destry Abbott. His day three performance throughout the ISDE course was his best of the week and he admitted he finally rode like himself. He said the course was the best for him on day three and is totally happy that his times are coming down as the race hits its second half. Destry and I chatted for a while as we watched the Women’s team change tires on their bikes (that sounds bad, but we can’t help because it’s against the rules…not that they need any help). When I listened to Abbott talk about the ISDE it became clear that he really enjoys the competition.
“I really like this race,” Abbott said. “It’s a lot of fun for us I just wish more people in the States would get into it and support the effort.”
So, that’s as good as a call out anyone can give. There is a need for support of this race in the United States and even the top racers can feel it. The few hard working volunteers and family members who make the trip to this event make it all possible and it’s a tremendous effort on their part. Just think of the advantage the team could get if more off-roaders got behind them? Ok, there’s my sales pitch. Had to do it. Once you’re here, you’ll understand what support can mean to someone a long way away from home.
Abbott is the other member of Team USA in the stacked E2 class. Let’s put it this way: Juha Salminen was down by TK until Cristobal Guerrero crashed out on day three. Yes, that Juha Salminen who has handily won the overall at ISDE competition.
Our man Destry has climbed from as low as 15th in the class to a solid 12th at the end of day four. That number might not sound like much to you podium hungry American race fans, but it’s performances like Abbott’s consistent top-ten class finishes per day that have the American Trophy Team sitting in 3rd place overall. If they can hold off the strong Finnish team (down by a minute at the end of day four) then Team USA will be on the box.
What do we really have left to say about Ricky Dietrich? I had a German journalist interrupt my serious typing fury yesterday evening with this question:
“Who the @#$* is this Ricky Dietrich? He’s going extremely well.”
Going extremely well for sure, my German friend. Ricky is the man. Right now, he’s 34 seconds behind Spain’s Ivan Cervantes. Ivan Cervantes is a World Enduro Champion. That means Ricky Dietrich is, as I’ve said before, the man.
Yesterday, Dietrich won the first round at the brand new Enduro Test (the same one Caselli crashed in). It was a new loop for day three and Ricky ripped through it almost six seconds faster than second place. Second place was Juha Salminen. Yes, that Juha Salminen.
This Enduro Test has developed a rut down the single track that can swallow a bike and somehow, Dietrich, Cervantes and Salminen can get through the course in crazy-fast times. The Fin and the Spaniard have figured it out and kept Dietrich honest since then, but tomorrow has another new test…will Dietrich rip through it? Time will tell.
We’ve got to send some love to the East Coast and Nathan Kanney. He’s sitting solidly in 8th overall in the big-daddy E3 class and leads the American effort there after Caselli’s leadership ended with his get-off. Kanney told me on day three, after it was clear that Caselli couldn’t go on, that there was a little pressure on everyone now. He also said he likes pressure. Well, he’s handling it well with consistently fast performances. And consistency is what Team USA needs if they want to stay on the podium.
There hasn’t been anyone as consistent as Jimmy Jarrett on our Trophy Team. His solid rides and consistent times are needed worse now than ever. Plus, if anyone needs a tire changed after the event, I’d recommend Jarrett. At one stop, he pulled in after some riders and had both his tires done before they had one done. The other riders shall remain nameless to protect their egos back in the States.
That’s all for now. It’s midnight in Greece and I’m going to bed.
Keep singing “America….%$#* Yeah!” I think it’s helping.