2012 ISDE Kicks Off In Germany

Team USA hams it up during team pictures on Saturday
Team manager Antti Kallonen enjoys a German Brawt while Russell Bobbitt looks on
Mike Brown leads the American contingent during opening ceremonies
FAR Husqvarna mechanic Joey Mauer putts onng the final touche Andrew DeLong’s bike before it went into impound on Friday.

Erzgebirge, Germany, (Sept 22, 2012) - Although competition doesn't start until Monday, the 87th running of the Red Bull International Six Days Enduro got underway today at Sachsenring Motor Racing Circuit in Erzgebirge, Germany, with the traditional glitz and glamour of the opening ceremonies. Over 470 riders representing 31 countries are participating in this year's event, which marks the first time in 23 years that the event has been held in Germany.

During six days of competition, each rider will complete approximately 1250 miles during this year’s course, which winds up and down and around the many farms that dot this part of then country.

Finland comes in as defending champions for this year’s race, having won on their home turf last year. However, the United States brings a strong Trophy Team, led by KTM’s Kurt Caselli, and hopes to improve on last year’s third place finish.

Caselli won the E2 division in Finland – the second time he has won his class in ISDE competition – and this year he’s looking for an American team victory.

“I’m real excited to come over here with a good team like this year,” said Caselli. “It’s gotten better every year and I’ve seen (our team) progress over the last few years.”

Joining Caselli on the Trophy Team are Russell Bobbitt (E3), Mike Brown (E1), Destry Abbott (E2), Robert Taylor (E2), and Charlie Mullins (E2).

Finland will be tough again this year, but Sweden and Italy will be in the hunt, as well, as will the French team, which sat out last year’s event for financial reasons.

The U.S. Junior Team, which is for riders 23 and younger, is comprised of Travis Coy (E2), Andrew DeLong (E2), Thad DuVall (E2) and last minute replacement for the injured Stu Baylor, Jesse Greomm (E3). Meanwhile, the US Women’s squad is made up of Rachel Gutish, Mandi Mastin, and Sarah Whitmore.

Sunday is a rest day and since the bikes have already been impounded and can’t be touched until after the race starts on Monday, the riders will spend tomorrow walking the special test sections while the mechanics will be driving the narrow German roads throughout the Saxony region finding the best routes to the work areas.

The first rider out on Monday is at 7:45 am.