DAY 6: Team Dirt Rider will be returning with a Silver!

So much for having a short, easy day. Well, at least Day 6 was relatively easy for the riders, get your bike out of impound, fuss over it for 10 minutes then ride over to the race track to re-impound the bike and wait for the entire contingent of riders to arrive. And then wait some more while things get rolling. Classes were divided by displacement, then by the standings at the end of Day 5. This meant about 30 riders per wave and almost a dozen motos.With the riders grouped by bike category, our morning got off to an earlier start, which wasn't so terrible, although Jason was glad not to be tackling a sixth day of grueling trail and special tests. We only had to do a filter change and check fluid's and it was off to the start line. Everyone else had about the same level of work, some were doing tire changes or adjusting the suspension or even wiping down the bike to look nicer.The SuperMotard course, located a mere 15 kilometers from the pits, was a blend of 40 percent pavement and 60 percent grasstrack/dirt with the pavement being a road racecourse. Spectating was easy if you didn't mind the dust and heat. The wind was up so the dust did clear between laps but everyone was nearly brown from dirt in the air. The temperature was hovering around 100 by time the last three races took place in the middle of the afternoon.Just looking at the start, which was a standard motocross gate on a dirt section transitioning into an off camber paved first turn practically guaranteed a few crashes. The first wave had a big pile-up into the outside corner's tire barrier. After getting the second wave holeshot, US Junior Trophy Team rider Wally Palmer got bumped and went down in the first turn. Nothing serious, he was back up on going in seconds but it knocked him to the back of the pack. However, the second moto was possibly the most dramatic with Rodney Smith and Czech Martin Malat dueling for the entire race. About mid-way, Smith set him up over the jump, dove inside and pushed Malat outside for the pass. The crowd was ecstatic (Smith is kind of a local hero here) and the American pits were jubilant as well, especially when Smith held on for the win. His moto heritage definitely showed on the grass track section.The main 250 moto saw Stefan Merriman not even a factor. The surprise leader and winner was ISDE vet Giovanni Sala. The Italian enduro ace simply walked away from the pack with unreal throttle control. He was so smooth through the corners, taking inside lines and carrying so much speed. The big race that kept the crowd waiting was the 400cc 4-stroke race with the Stefan Everts the favored rider. He didn't disappoint, but Finland's Juha Salminen made him work for the win, even passing Everts in the second lap. But the Belgium wore him down and eventually Salminen just went wide and let him by.Perhaps the best part of the entire day was the appearance and "intermission" performance of the Sheep Skull riders. They pulled off some amazing stunts on their "works" CT70's; things we've only seen done on water skis. Tricks like the pyramid (how many riders can you stack on a little Honda?), the bike walk (where one riders walks from bike to bike as they ride side-by-side down the road) and the most incredible the human jump (where one chap holds the plywood ramp over his body and about 10 more lay down like cars at a monster truck rally and then three more riders proceed to jump the entire group). The charades are so engrossing that many in the crowd didn't even notice the 250 4-stroke race was underway!So for the final results, now that we kept you waiting through all this blathering...Finland's World Trophy Team won with Italy and France rounding out the top three. No big surprises here. Team USA ended in seventh. On the Junior Trophy end, it was almost a repeat with France, Finland and Italy on the podium. Our boys finished out the week in ninth. On a brighter note, an American Club team won the Club Class - the GNCC crew (Randy Hawkins, Doug Blackwell and Robbie Jenks) topped the list.The end of race action meant it was time in the American pits to crate up the bikes and tools so it's done and we can get our party on, which is what Team DR has planned - after a trip back to the hotel to wash the track off and a stop at Pizza Hut for dinner. With this in sight, Jason broke new records for KTM dismantling and crating. He was so fast that Rich Caselli was in shock - we were heading for the Press Room before Caselli was even ready to stuff his in a box.And best of all, it looks like it's a Silver finish for Jason and Bryan's buying the first round ("finish Six-Days and I'll buy you a beer").

Rodney Smith does a tire change under the close watch of Mark Hyde.
The prerace and the half-time show was provided by those insane blokes from the Isle of Man. Here they do a parade lap for the crowd, sheepskin coats flapping proud.
The final test was a supermoto - Jason Webb rode conservatively, no need to crash out on the last day. Good enough for a Silver medal though.
Freddy Blanc was another nemesis to the US team. He and Mike Kiedrowski had a good battle in the 250 main today, passing each other several times.
Kurt Caselli was the top American this week. He walks his KTM250 into the work area one last time.
ISDE Vet Giovanni Sala proved he still has some speed - he smoked the 250 competition in the final moto.
Stefan Merrimans and Brad Peterson prep his CRE250 for the final day of racing. However, unlike the previous five days, Merriman finished mid-pack for a change.