The ISDE kicked off in Italy and Canada’s women’s team has three brand new competitors (Felicia Robichaud of Cornwall Ontario, Lexi Pechout of Calgary, Alberta and Shelby Turner of Barons, Alberta). Canada’s first women’s ISDE finisher from Vernon, B.C., Victoria Hett, with the taste of gold on the tip of her tongue last year in Germany, had to sit this year out due to lack of financial support but plans to return to the team next year as the ISDE makes it way to San Juan, Argentina.
France is walking tall after Day 1 of ISDE competition as their World Trophy Team ranks in the lead position. During the parade of nations yesterday, the defending champions proudly returned to the annual event carrying all three title trophies they earned in Germany last year. Numbers in Italy are slightly lower than those of Germany with 613 competitors, compared to over 800 at the Sachsenring, from 36 countries making up 21 FIM World Trophy Teams, 16 FIM Junior World Trophy Teams, 6 women’s teams including one from both the USA and Canada, and about 139 club teams competing for the pure thrill of competition.
Not pictured, but not forgotten, are the two Canadian men’s club teams made up of Shane Cuthbertson of Airdrie, AB, second time competitor Mark Dzikowski of Calgary, AB (2012 Germany), Craig Murray of Harrison, BC, returning competitor Patrick Tremblay (Finland 2011, Germany 2012) of St. Mathieu de Beloeil, QC, Kenny Beach of Perth, ON and Sean McKenzie of Coaldale, AB. These guys are in the competition with their hearts as they go for the pure love of the sport and not the trophy but represent Canada just the same.
Reports from Italy were heavy overnight rain but clear skies as riders began heading out onto the course of dry and dusty trails and special tests. If you have never seen an ISDE, it is worth taking one in. Last year I decided to stop in four a couple of days during competition in Germany. What I had anticipated the race to be far exceeded my expectations.
In the FIM World Trophy team competition, France claimed top honours on day one. Starting as they meant to go on, the French squad placed two of their riders, Antoine Meo – KTM and Johnny Aubert – KTM, inside the top four in the
individual overall classification. Helped in part by two top fifteen results by Pela Renet – Husaberg and Jeremy Joly – Honda, France hold a one-minute and fifteen second lead over the United States. In the battle for the remaining podium places, United States, Australia and host nation Italy are respectively separated by just under thirteen seconds. Hoping to close the gap to France while holding their rivals at bay, the United States are already up to speed in the eighty-eighth edition of the ISDE and look set to improve as the week
progresses. Almost two minutes behind Italy, Spain complete the top five at the end of day one.
Ensuring a strong start to the centennial year of the ISDE, France also maintains the lead in the FIM Junior World Trophy team classification. After their disappointing opening day in 2012, the French national team ended day one in Olbia with all four riders still in the competition. However, their lead is a slender one with Italy less than three seconds behind in the runner-up position. With the weight of their home support behind them, Italy will no doubt grow stronger throughout the week. Less than thirty-three seconds behind Italy, third placed United States hold a significant advantage over Great Britain in fourth. Completing the top five, but already over one-minute adrift of Great Britain, Australia are fifth.
In the highly competitive FIM Women’s World Trophy competition it is Australia that control the race lead at the end of day one. With team riders Tayla Jones – KTM and Jessica Gardiner – Sherco placing first and second in the Women’s individual classification and Jemma Wilson – Yamaha in sixth, Australia start day two with a one minute and thirteen second lead over Sweden in second. Off to a bad start in this year’s ISDE, defending champions France are already over five minutes behind Australia.
At the end of day one it’s Frenchman Joly who leads the Enduro 1 category from Spain’s Cristobal Guerrero – KTM with his compatriot Lorenzo Santolino – Husqvarna in third. Australia’s Daniel Milner – Yamaha leads the Enduro 2 category while also topping the outright individual classification. Just one-second behind the Australian, Italy’s Alex Salvini – Honda is second with Aubert in third. Opting to contest the Enduro 3 category at this year’s ISDE, Meo is the unexpected class leader at the end of day one. Mike Brown – KTM is second with Italy’s Deny Philippaerts – Beta third.