|Yesterday, 10:55 PM||#1|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Harrisville, Utah
ISDE 2014 - San Juan Argentina
A year ago in November, my son Josh and I went down to our local KTM dealer, ADS Motorsports in Ogden Utah, and picked up his crate that had recently been shipped back from Sardegna Italy. It contained his bike and gear, used at the 2013 ISDE in Italy. We had just enjoyed another experience of a lifetime at the ISDE and were getting back into regular life.
I jokingly told him at that time if he had any aspirations of trying to qualify for the ISDE again, that the only way it would be possible financially, would be to park that same bike in the garage for another 6 months, ride it at the ISDE qualifier in June, and then have his results be the decision maker for another run at the ISDE in Argentina in 2014, where he would have to use the same bike.
It turns out, the ISDE is in his blood and here we find ourselves, preparing to leave for Argentina in a few days.
Based on the interest and encouraging words from many, I intend to share our experience again this year through both pictures and word (time permitting). I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how much more exposure and interest there is in our own local racing community in Utah, in the ISDE, as well as throughout the nation and world. The ISDE is unlike any other motorcycle race event anywhere in the world, and I realize for most, it is only a dream to even spectate the event, let alone participate as a racer or U.S. Team support personnel.
My goal this year is to tell both the story of the U.S. Team as a whole, but also tell the personal story through my own eyes as a Dad, mechanic, friend, and support team member, as well as through Josh’s insight as a racer, son, and member of Team USA.
There are many who want the insight of the team experience as a whole, but I also know there are many friends and family at home following who have a particular interest in Josh. There are also many fascinating stories and insight of other U.S. Team members that I will share where possible. We have made life-long friends all over the world and country through the greatest motorcycling event in the world, the ISDE.
For anyone interested in reading more from previous year’s blogs about the ISDE and how we got to this point, I encourage you to read the following:
Reading those blogs will provide a lot more context and perspective. I also use the term “we” loosely. Make no mistake about it, Josh is the racer, and is the one with the skill and talent, and hard work to qualify. But I’ve also learned, this is a huge effort and sacrifice on the part of the entire family (as well as our extended racing family and community). It really is one of those things where you can’t imagine the work effort that and financial commitment that is involved until you go through it. But, it’s also one of those things that when it’s all over and you look back on it, it is totally worth it.
Before departing for Argentina this weekend, I wanted to share a few photos and offer some perspective on the preparations for this year.
As most are aware, there are really only two ways to go to the ISDE: 1) attend one of two qualifiers (usually a “West” and an “East” coast qualifier) in the nation, usually in the May/June timeframe, and finish first or second in one of three classes (E1, E2, E3, or E4) or 2: be selected by the AMA for one of the Trophy Teams (World Trophy, Junior Trophy, or Women’s Trophy).
Josh qualified from the West Coast event, the Idaho City qualifier, in the E1 class, riding the same bike he rode in Italy last year, a 2013 KTM 250XCF. He will be riding the exact same bike in Argentina. The class designations are differentiated based on bike displacement/engine size. For those trying to qualify through one of the qualifiers, there is always a little bit of strategy as to which class and bike size to ride, but it’s always a crapshoot, as you never know exactly who your competition will be. Last year, in Italy, Josh discovered that the C1 class was completely stacked and was by far the “fastest” club class on average. In other years, it could be totally opposite. At the real ISDE, there is an “E” or “C” designation put in front of the three classes, with the E being for the Trophy riders and the “C” being for the Club riders, but they’re all scored together for the overall results, but scored separately for individual class results…….confused yet?.
In this photo, Josh lines up for Day 2 at the Idaho City qualifier with friends Ben Meza and Michael Allen from California.
I was also fortunate this year to ride Idaho City with my other son Kobee. Idaho City did not disappoint as usual.
The Idaho City inpound the night before. There is nothing quite like the sight of an ISDE bike impound. At the real ISDE, there will be more than twice this many bikes. If you’re a moto geek like me, you will appreciate this picture.
After 2 days of solid riding in Idaho, Josh had secured the E1 win for the weekend. At the end of Day 2 Josh enjoyed a quick chat and some coaching from one of his most influential mentors, Jake Vainio. Jake is like a Roger DeCoster role model to Josh. He’s a former Junior Trophy rider from Finland who competed in multiple ISDE’s for his home country of Finland, and has since competed in two ISDE’s for Team USA as a club rider (Mexico, 2010, and Finland, 2011). Jake was there riding Idaho City this year.
After Idaho City, the official invitation was extended from the AMA, to be a member of Team USA at the ISDE in Argentina. One of the cool parts is that Josh will be on a club team (the GoFasters.com team) with Alex Dorsey and Travis Coy, both from California. The three of them each won their respective classes at Idaho City. They will be a solid team. Alex was on the team last year in Italy, and I witnessed how incredibly fast he is, and Travis was on the Junior Trophy Team in Germany and proved his speed with the overall win at Idaho City this year.
Once things became official, the real work began. This included bike prep, fund-raising, training, more fund-raising, training, coordination with sponsors, training, and more fund-raising.
Thanks to the Ogden Cycle Association (our local MX track and club), we were able to host a very successful ride weekend, where the local riding community turned out in mass. Thanks to everyone who supported this event!
Riders enjoy some relief from the heat with free sno cones and some bench-racing at Josh’s open practice fundraiser at the track (www.ocamx.com).
The track was prime and the riding was even better.
Remember what I said about this being a total family sacrifice. Mom and sister, are some of Josh’s biggest fans and supporters.
A big part of Josh’s program this year has been an increased focus on physical training. A huge thanks goes out to Coach Seiji and his virtual training program, which has really helped Josh and given him more focus and direction in his training efforts. Anyone interested in a virtual training program should give him a look.
Part of training has also been racing….alot of it. Here is Josh at one of our local USRA off-road races early this summer.
Another big fund raising effort was selling T-shirts and Hoodies. Thanks to Erek Kudla and GXE Design for the great help and design and Gaily’s T-shirts for the printing.
More training of every variety. This was a local Endurocross last month (yes, it was a rainy mudfest), competing against some very talented local riders.
Another underlying motivation for this year is to remember and honor a great role model and former teammate, Kurt Caselli. Nobody can ever underestimate the influence that Kurt had on young aspiring off-road riders. Josh was very fortunate to be able to call Kurt a teammate and friend who had started to take an interest in Josh’s progression and love for the ISDE.
Based on what we’ve been able to observe about San Juan Argentina, it looks to be very similar desert terrain to what we’re accustomed to riding. After some suspension tuning, Josh had one last opportunity to do some final testing on the bike before it had to be stuffed in a crate and shipped to Ohio to the AMA, and then on to Argentina in early September. This photo is from the Badlands in Western Wyoming. Based on some video we’ve seen from a World Enduro hosted in San Juan Argentina in 2012, there was a lot of terrain very similar to this.
It was then time to go through the bike in detail one last time and then get it shipped. Josh will be riding the same 2013 250XCF he rode in Italy. He loves this bike and in many ways, prefers to ride this bike over his 2-stroke.
After a lot of work and a late night, we got everything crammed into the crate.
Shut and lock the doors, on the crate, and hope we find it in the same condition when we arrive in Argentina.
Team Jerseys and Helmet arrived in time for a little personalization. Nothing quite like the distinctive and traditional skunk stripe helmet (and the new Arai’s look awesome).
We’re both very excited, and hope that if you are a fan of the ISDE and Team USA, that you’ll follow along this year. My goal is to share as much as I can about both the team, as well as those interested in following Josh’s story and experience. I’ll pick up in a few days when we arrive and get settled.
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