Day three of the International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) saw a major shakeup of the leader board with the United States coming out on top in Portugal.
As the competition reached the halfway point in Portimao, the United States capitalised on a trip into the mountains, powering past Team Australia in the World Trophy class.
Australia still holds the lead in the Junior World Trophy category, while the United States maintain its advantage in the Women’s competition.
With day three marking the halfway point in this year’s race, the riders embarked on a new course known as the Monchique Route. Taking them deep into southern Portugal’s highest mountain range, added rain ensured demanding conditions and a testing day for all.
The United States came strong on day three as they sought to find a weakness in Australia. After three special tests, they were pressuring their rivals with three riders making up the top-four overall positions.
However, at the end of the seventh and final test Australian Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna) had fought his way back to the top to win the day. But with strength in numbers, the United States’ Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes (All KTM) all slotted inside the top-six to lead as a team by one-minute and 12 seconds.
“The weather has been a bit crazy – it wasn’t quite raining hard, but still made things slippery,” said Russell. “It’s been hard to hit the lines you want on the tests. But as a team, we’ve come good today. We’ve come strong at the right time and with all of us having solid results it’s put us into the overall lead. We’ll sleep well tonight and fight again tomorrow.”
Behind the top two, there was no change in third position with Italy holding strong. While they have extended their lead over Finland in fourth, they slip to seven minutes behind the USA.
Previously sitting fourth, Great Britain’s hopes of a podium result ended on day three with Joe Wootton (Husqvarna) exiting the race.
Finland moved up to fourth with France fifth and Germany sixth. Host nation Portugal are now eighth, with seventh-placed Sweden in their sights.
While Australia did not have the best day at the office in the Trophy category, it also was not the best day for their Junior teammates. Although still holding onto the provisional class lead, they lost nearly two minutes to the United States.
Taking a confidence-boosting victory on day three, the United States will now look to close the one minute and 20-second deficit to their rivals.
France upped their pace in the difficult conditions to place second on the day, closing in on Italy who hold third overall. With 18 seconds separating the duo, it is all to play for regards a place on the podium. Great Britain are fifth, while Spain are clear of Portugal in sixth.
The Women’s World Trophy saw the leader-board change drastically behind leaders the United States. Closest rivals Germany endured a difficult day dropping from second to fifth in the standings.
Australia took victory on day three by seven seconds over the United States, moving them up to second overall. However, losing team member Makenzie Tricker from the race means any further issues for the defending champions could prove disastrous.
Great Britain keep a chasing Spain at bay but now find themselves in medal contention with third. Sweden complete the top-six.