86th International Six Days Enduro
Kotka-Hammina, Southern Finland
Story by Sandy Carter
MAY 10, 2011
The ISDE Team for the United States will be slightly smaller than in previous years. The number of competitors allowed, as set by the Federation of International Motorcycling (FIM), has been reduced for 2011, but the United States will be sending the maximum allowed, 28 – less than the usual 35. However, returning to the international competition are many ISDE veterans that make up this team; they are seasoned and ready, meaning this will be one of the best prepared teams, with a few rookies added in, just to keep things fresh.
The Trophy Team is made up of veteran ISDE riders Destry Abbott from Arizona, Kurt Caselli from California, Russell Bobbitt from Georgia, Jimmy Jarrett from Ohio, Nate Kanney from New York, and the new rider on the ISDE trail, Kyle Summers from Florissant, Colorado. These riders were evaluated by members of the ISDE selection committee and chosen based on past performance in their respective series as well as performances at past ISDEs.
The Junior Trophy Team is comprised of Virginia’s Brad Bakken, Colorado’s Ian Blythe, Ohio’s Cory Buttrick, and Pennsylvania’s Andrew DeLong. The Junior Team riders are under 23 years of age and were selected based on their scores at ISDE qualifiers in Texas and Tennessee. These riders stated their desire to be considered for the United States team by completing a Letter of Intent at the qualifiers.
At the 2010 ISDE in Mexico, the riders who represented the United States in the race for the Women’s World Cup were seasoned veteran ISDE competitors Nicole Bradford from Colorado and Mandi Mastin of Ohio. These ladies were on the initial ISDE Women’s team 10 years ago in France, along with Suzy Moody. In 2010, Oklahoma’s Kerrie Swartz joined these women for a podium finish in Mexico. They are together again for 2011, and they are determined to be at the top of that podium in Finland.
Jafmar Racing’s senior club team – comprised of New Yorker Dennis Decker, Illinois’ Jeff Fredette and Utah’s Jarrko Vainio – will also compete with the ISDE Club teams. Fredette is continuing his long tradition of attending ISDEs: The 86th ISDE in Finland will be Jeff’s 31st; he has only missed three since1978.
The Club Teams this year include GoFasters.com, comprised of Utah’s Greg Gillian, Arizona’s Max Gerston and Idaho’s Brent Martell; Tony Agonis, comprised of New Jersey’s Fred Hoess and Glenn Scherer, and Colorado’s Cody Schafer; the Missouri Mudders, comprised of Wisconsin’s J.D. Friebel, Missouri’s Caleb Wohletz, and North Carolina’s Morgan Moss; Carter Engineering, comprised of Tennessee’s Chase Bishop and Michael Sanders, and Alabama’s Bryan Petty. Club Teams compete as rider units against other club rider units from other countries. They also provide a place where future Trophy and Junior Trophy teams may develop.
The FIM International Six Days Enduro is a six-day off-road event that will attract national enduro teams from all over the world. ISDE 2011 – or simply “Six Days,” as off-road racers call it – will include five days of special tests, almost a thousand miles of off-road riding, and an eagerly anticipated final sixth day, which is a motocross. This international event also includes magnificent opening and closing ceremonies not unlike those of the International Olympics. The opening ceremonies in Finland will take place in Hammina, near Kotka, on the grounds of an ancient castle.
Historically, the ISDE’s roots go back to 1913 in Carlyle, England. This was the International Six Days Trials (ISDT), which had nothing to do with the observed trials of today but was practically born at the same time, with the FIM evolving from the ACU, or Auto Cycle Union, in England. The ISDE is the supreme test of stamina, featuring trials that evolved into off-road racing. Off-road was here to stay.
T.K. Hastings was the first American to compete in the forerunner of the 1912 ISDT/ISDE, the Thousand Mile Reliability Race, held in England in 1905. He sailed from New York on July 27, 1907, and arrived in London, where the competition started on August 17 and ended in London on six days later. He rode a specially prepared Indian motorcycle with a smoking-hot 4-hp, chain-driven engine, which, for the harsh environment, was superior to the leather-belt methods. Hastings went on to be an American reliability racer and set records all over the world. He was the first American to medal with an American machine on British soil in the forerunner of the ISDE 100 years ago.
Hastings was a newspaper reporter assigned to cover the 1904 Ormond Beach, Florida, trials (in what is now Daytona Beach) for a New York newspaper. He thought a motorcycle would allow him to cover the speed trials more efficiently, so that winter he purchased a used Metz motorcycle. American off-road racing was born. He was inducted into the American Motorcyclist Hall of Fame in 2000.
A century of off-road racing is fascinating in and of itself, and many of the changes in technology are obvious, but some things remain the same – such as fundraising to ride. In 1912, Mr. Hastings had to solicit support. In 2011, the competitors for the ISDE Team have to dig into really deep pockets to fund their efforts, and that includes fundraising. There are many methods of raising money for the cause: Sales of T-shirts, bake sales, sales of personal assets (such as a motorcycle or, in one case, a horse), taking out second mortgages on homes, and direct soliciting for funding are all among the methods that fuel this effort. The financial responsibility of each rider can be close to $20,000 to ride the ISDE. This year there is a short period of time until ISDE Finland 2011 begins on August 8, and efforts to raise funds are happening now. Information regarding contributions or sponsorship to individuals will be forthcoming very soon.
“The three women representing the ISDE USA Women’s World Cup Team [Nicole Bradford, Mandi Mastin, Kerrie Swartz] have one goal this year, and that is to bring home the World Cup Trophy!” said Mandi Mastin, “We are looking for support and sponsorship that can help us do just that. Help make our dream come true and the USA proud of our women riders!”