Photos courtesy of FIM-ISDE.com and Sarah Kinrade
The 2018 installment of the International Six Days Enduro begins in Vina del Mar, Chile, and will start this Monday. The event invites national teams from all over the world to send their best off-road motorcycle riders to compete in a six-day endurance event that tests both men (and women) and machines over grueling desert, rock formations, rutted forest trails, and mountainous terrain. The object of the event is to accumulate time scores for the entire team, and the country with the lowest overall team score is declared the winner in each classification. First held in Carlisle, England, in 1913, the ISDE is one of the longest-running events on the calendar of the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme.
The British first had the idea for a contest for teams of three riders who had to use bikes manufactured in their own countries. Over the years since, the Enduro has seen many changes, with teams expanding to as many as six bikes before being trimmed back down to its current four-member format. The “in your own country” requirement for the bikes has also been discontinued, and the event for many years was known as the International Six Days Trials, but was renamed in the early 1980s to reflect the type of riding the entrants now participate in. Actor Steve McQueen famously participated in the 1964 ISDT in Erfurt, Germany, aboard a Triumph Trophy TR6/SC motorcycle; the team also included Bud and Dave Ekins, John Steen, and Cliff Coleman. Steve and Bud both crashed on Day 3 and did not finish the event.
The World Trophy teams feature four of their best riders, with additional team competition. Junior riders under 23 years old compete in teams of three, chasing after the ISDE Junior Trophy, and women in teams of three also compete for the Women’s Trophy. An additional group of Club entries can also win the event’s Club Trophy. Each day of the event, the racers will face at least one enduro test, a cross test, and several time checks, and they will cover more than 1,000 miles during the six days. Motorcycles can only be repaired or serviced at designated points along the racing circuit without incurring a time delay penalty.
This year’s Team USA includes:
- Ryan Sipes of Flaherty, Kentucky, aboard a Husqvarna FE 250
- Taylor Robert of Rio Verde, Arizona, riding a KTM 450 XC-F
- Steward Baylor Jr. of Belton, South Carolina, on a KTM 450 XC-F
- Zach Bell of Beaumont, California, riding a Husqvarna TX 300
- Steward Baylor Jr. is filling in as a replacement rider for Kailub Russell, who sustained a shoulder injury in a recent event and was unable to compete at this year’s event
The Junior Trophy Team includes:
- Josh Toth of Winsted, Connecticut, on a KTM 250 XC-F
- Grant Baylor of Belton, South Carolina, riding a KTM 450 XC-F (Steward Baylor’s brother)
- Ben Kelley of Burlington, Connecticut, on a KTM 350 XC-F
The Women’s Trophy Team includes:
- Tarah Gieger of Winter Garden, Florida, on a Honda CRF250R
- Brandy Richards of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, riding a KTM 350 XC-F
- Becca Sheets of Circleville, Ohio, on a KTM 250 XC-F
The American Motorcycle Association’s ISDE Qualifier rounds, run at several different track across the country throughout the year, determine who will compete on six of the seven national club teams, while the AMA ISDE Advisory Committee selects the World Trophy, Junior Trophy, and Women’s Trophy teams representing the United States in the event.
ISDE riders compete in one of three displacement classes as well:
- E1 class for 100-cc to 125-cc two-stroke and 175-cc to 250-cc four-stroke motorcycles
- E2 class features 175-cc to 250-cc two-stroke and 290-cc to 450-cc four-stroke motorcycles
- E3 class features 290-cc to 500-cc two-stroke and 475-cc to 650-cc four-stroke motorcycles
The ISDE World Trophy winner is determined by totaling the team’s four riders’ scores each day for six days, with the lowest team score after six days being the winner.
The Junior World Trophy is determined by totaling the team’s three riders’ scores each day for six days, with the lowest team score after six days being the winner.
The Women’s World Cup is determined by totaling the team’s top two of three riders’ scores each day for six days, with the lowest team score after six days being the winner.
The Club Teams will score the team’s top two of three riders’ each day, with the lowest combined team score after six days determined to be the winner.
This year’s team also has some help in the pits from Jeff Fredette, a member of the AMA Hall of Fame and 33-time International Six Days Enduro and the ISDT medalist, who retired from competition in 2016. Jeff went on to win the 2018 Great Race with his son Eric in their 1933 Ford pickup truck, and keeps close to endurance racing between his motorcycle business and continuing to participate in local AMA-sanctioned dirt races.