2019 International Six Days Enduro Midweek Recap

USA squads sitting pretty at the midway point of the 2019 ISDE.

Taylor Robert claimed his first special test win of the week in the fourth section, setting himself up for second overall on the day.
Taylor Robert claimed his first special test win of the week in the fourth section, setting himself up for second overall on the day.Darrin Chapman

At the 94th International Six Day Enduro in Portimão, Portugal, the United States teams are in good standing at the halfway point of the race.

The US World Trophy Team, consisting of Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell, Ryan Sipes, and Steward Baylor, took over first place in the division ahead of Team Australia, on a day that saw all but the World Trophy Team riders stopped after five tests due to conditions and bottlenecks on some of the transfers. When all seven tests were completed by the World Trophy riders, the US team sat 1:12.21 ahead of the Aussies, with Italy in third.

Taylor Robert led the individual overall at one point during the day, but finished third, 27.54 seconds behind leader Daniel Sanders of Australia. Meanwhile, Kailub Russell sits fourth overall.

Brandy Richards had another impressive day, winning three special tests and finishing inside the top three an additional three times.
Brandy Richards had another impressive day, winning three special tests and finishing inside the top three an additional three times.Darrin Chapman

“The second time through, it was almost identical conditions to how a GNCC shapes up with the ruts and I had a big swap-out in the middle of the test,” Russell said. “I still ended up doing pretty decent, but I felt like I left a lot on the table right there. As a team we’re doing really good, but for me individually, I’m not the best hard-packed silt rider there is, so I’m kind of hanging it out and making small mistakes here and there. But, for as many falls as I’ve had this week so far, I’m actually pretty happy.”

KTM-supported rider Ryan Sipes made a big push on day 3 with five top-10 finishes in the special tests to finish sixth overall for the day.
KTM-supported rider Ryan Sipes made a big push on day 3 with five top-10 finishes in the special tests to finish sixth overall for the day.Darrin Chapman

Robert and Russell are first and second in the E2 class, with US Junior Trophy riders Ben Kelley and Grant Baylor sitting fifth and seventh in the class, respectively. Grant had a couple of mishaps during the day.

“I went down three times today and that cost me a lot of time, but other than that it was a good day,” Grant said. “It was a lot better today not being in so much sand, but the weather was crazy. The first lap had completely different conditions—wet and slippery—compared to the second lap where it was a dust bowl. As a team, we’ll just keep plugging away and try to make up some time.”

Kailub Russell followed closely behind Robert in third as the only American rider to stay well inside the top 10 with consistent finishes in each of the day’s seven special tests.
Kailub Russell followed closely behind Robert in third as the only American rider to stay well inside the top 10 with consistent finishes in each of the day’s seven special tests.Darrin Chapman

Ryan Sipes is second individually in E1, while Steward Baylor sits fourth in E4. The US Women’s team took over the lead in the Women’s Trophy division on Tuesday and they continued with the lead on Wednesday, finishing 1:07.21 ahead of Team Australia, who made up a bit of ground. America’s Brandy Richards leads the Women’s individual standings, with Becca Sheets seventh and Tarah Gieger ninth.

The US Junior Trophy Team is second behind Australia by 1:20.92 at the end of day 3, after some good rides by Josh Toth, Ben Kelley, and Grant Baylor. US team manager Antti Kallonen summarized where the team sits at the halfway point of the race.

Steward Baylor had a solid day, finishing sixth in the E3 division.
Steward Baylor had a solid day, finishing sixth in the E3 division.Darrin Chapman

“Now we are in the lead by a little over a minute, which is a good comeback and it came at good timing as we are now halfway through the week, but every card is still in play, so we can’t let our guard down,” Kallonen explained. “Today’s tests seemed to suit us better as a team, so we’re hoping to have a similar day tomorrow so that we can continue to hold ground or even gain more on Team Australia going into the latter part of the week. The focus is still for every rider to do their best and fight for the overall.”