ISDE 2013 - Sardegna, Italy

Discussion in 'Racing' started by mknight, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Harrisville, Utah
    September 28, 2013

    With the bikes all in impound until Monday morning, there is not much to do now but focus on walking the remaining special tests and trying to soak up the experience of being here at the ISDE.
    Our day was open until this evening when we had the parade through the city center, ending at the paddock with the introduction of all the teams.

    Check out the following photos for some insight into what we saw today.

    We started our day driving south from town about a half hour. This got us into some more rural areas and climbed quite a bit in elevation. Before we knew it, the terrain started to change and we were seeing pine trees and large forests. It was not what I was expecting to see based on our experience thus far in Sardegna. It was beautiful.
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    We knew we were getting close to the special tests and Josh started salivating at the prospect of having a special test weave in and out of the pines. When we got to the test, this is what we found.
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    With all of the beautiful forests around, the test ran right on a barren south-facing hillside. Pine trees all around, but the test avoided them all. It was still a beautiful view, and with a little imagination we could be home in the Wasatch Mountain range of Utah.
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    A few rocks.
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    After winding around on the hillside, the test dropped into a small valley and then ran along what is basically a dirt road that has been recently bladed by a dozer. It was kind of weird because it went way up this valley, did a 180, and then came right back on the road. It was actually quite void of rocks, and is going to be a really fast test. Josh was looking at it and felt right at home, being more of a West Coast rider. I think this test will suit Kurt Caselli really well.
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    On our way out of the test, we saw where the transfer trail came into the test. This is some of the first single track we’ve seen. Josh was more excited to see this than the test.
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    We were then on to our second test of the day. In the process of doing so, we had to move over on a real narrow dirt road to get out of the way of a van. We managed to get the rental car high-centered. Then in the process of spinning the tires to get out, we got a nail in the tire and got a flat. Some nice guys in a van helped pull us out, but we had to change a flat. Trying to get the bad mojo out of the way early.
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    Then on to the test. The U.S. guys have nick named this one the “Glen Helen” test. It looks a lot like Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California, set on the side of the hill. It actually uses portions of a MX Track and then winds up and down the hillside. Imagine the crappiest MX track you’ve ever ridden with cement like dirt, water ruts on all the jump faces and landings, and blown out berms…..then imagine a grass track being ribboned off that criss-crosses the hillside…..and you’ve got the picture. But not before you throw in a big rocky corner like this.
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    Water ruts….check, overgrown weeds….check, concrete dirt…..check, yeah, I got this double.
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    Back in the pits, this guy from the “Rabaconda” Tire changer booth has had the biggest crowd around him every day. Yesterday we bought one of his tire changers which is about 95% the same as the style Josh has been using (which is very different from anyone else on the U.S. team). Josh practiced a few very minor changes to his technique and doing a rear tire on and off the rim in about 2 minutes flat is the norm and takes minimal effort. The U.S. team has been using these totally old-school changers for years, that are mounted to big sections of plywood. The technique works, can be fast, but exerts a lot of unnecessary energy. As we were walking by we saw a big crowd, and then realized it was because the entire U.S. Trophy Team was over there watching and practicing on these changers. The Finnish/European influence of U.S. Team Manager Antti Kallonen is permeating the team, little by little, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see several of these guys using these tire changers by the end of the week.
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    Kurt Caselli giving it a try.
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    Tonight it was on to the parade in the city center, that marched everyone over to the paddock for introduction of all the teams.
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    [​IMG]The French Trophy team, last year’s dominant winners.


    The Women’s Trophy team, last year’s dominant winners.
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    We picked up my wife Jennie this afternoon at the airport. So happy to have her here for the race week.
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    The Bright family from Colorado. U.S. fans and supporters.
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    The Australian’s know how to have fun, before, during, and after the parade.
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    A view behind us while walking in the parade of teams. It was like deja-vu. This is exactly what it was like in Mexico in 2010…quite different from last year.
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    Josh handing out American Flags to all the people lining the sides of the road.
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    Josh is happy to have mom here as well.
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    U.S. Team marching in the parade.
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    Did I mention that the Australian’s like to have fun.
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    Members of the U.S. Trophy and Junior Trophy team.
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    More fans.
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    Jennie, Josh, and Grandpa.
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    This Italian motorcycle policewoman was trying to do her job, but she was getting as many photos taken with her, as the riders were in the parade. Here, U.S. Support Team member Paul gets a photo op.
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    The French team….yeah, they kicked everyone’s tail last year.
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    Italian cultural observation of the day. Italian guys think it’s cool to flip up their collars on their polo shirts. They’re everywhere like this. It’s become kind of a running joke between me and Josh.
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    This Italian guy was having some fun at the parade.
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    Oh yeah….and the Australians like to have fun too.
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    More U.S. fans.
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    U.S. team assembling on the stage and being introduced.
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    Just when we thought that flipping your collar was an Italian thing, these guys showed up from Poland. Stop the insanity!
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    Remember the photo of the 80cc TM’s? I think I figured it out tonight.
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    This kid was loving it.
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    Keith Curtis is Josh’s teammate. He’s a professional snowmobiler and rides for Polaris (how he got here to the Six Days is a different story and kind of funny). He was handing out some Polaris hats to some of the kids. I’ll bet they have absolutely no idea what Polaris is, but it didn’t matter, this was as good as getting an autographed basketball from LeBron James to this kid.
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    Little cars….KTM stuff, and a new KTM 1190 Adventure. Lots of cool stuff everywhere. This is at our hotel.
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    #41
  2. Scootern29

    Scootern29 Been here awhile

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    Awesome report. Is Gunny Claypoole over there with you all?
    #42
  3. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    Gunny has retired this year, but Jafmar Racing is the sponsor of the Senior Team so his presence is still definitely here this year.
    #43
  4. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    September 29, 2013

    Like manna from heaven, the clouds opened up tonight and dumped rain on the parched soil of Sardegna, Italy. Whether or not it is enough to suppress the dust and make for ideal course conditions remains to be seen.

    Today was the final day of anticipation before the real reason we all came here, starts at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

    This was our only real “down” day, so we took advantage of it by participating in a few simple activities while we are half way across the world from home. We found a small local congregation of our church and attended services. We then went spent a little time at one of the local public beaches which is right adjacent to the “KTM” test, and just tried to relax and prepare for tomorrow morning.

    A team meeting was held tonight and final instructions and information was communicated to everyone. Team pre-riders are no longer allowed at the ISDE, so there is one rider who rides the days course and provides information back to the team jury delegates at a meeting each night. The “intel” we received on the course was, “It’s not hard….it’s not easy, and the tests will be dusty.” Pretty profound information. Ironically, about the time we sat down for dinner tonight, some real dark clouds were brewing in the mountains to the west and they let loose long enough that it should at least make a dent in the dust for a little while tomorrow.

    At this point, all the preparation, worrying, walking tests, and analyzing have been done. It is up to the riders now to go out and make bikes and bodies survive 6 days of Enduro.

    U.S. Trophy Team riders Thad Duvall and Zach Osborne are the first to go out at 8:01 tomorrow morning. Josh is the 5th U.S. Club Team rider to go out at 9:44.

    Other than a quick walk along the beach early this week, we’ve not had a chance to enjoy some of the beautiful public beaches. We took about an hour today to just hang out and try to enjoy our last and only down day. This beach is within walking distance of the KTM special test.
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    Beautiful views of the Mediterannean
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    Another cultural observation of this area of Italy….they love American cartoon characters. This big ferry ship is painted with Looney Tunes characters. We’ve seen Pizzeria’s named after “The Simpsons”. We ate at a “Gelataria” (ice cream shop) last night named after Peter Pan. It’s kind of a funny fascination they have with American pop culture.
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    This is what the mountains to the northwest of us looked like tonight just as we were heading to dinner. The “Monte Pino” special test is right in these mountains. With any luck, the riders will enjoy an hour or two of great conditions tomorrow. With a lot of luck, the rain will keep up. It’s still raining at this time.
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    It was great to visit a local congregation of our church for a while today.
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    With the paddock (which is a boat dock/port) right in the middle of town, the riders have to come in and out every day. There are roundabouts and turns everywhere in this city and if a rider is not careful, they can get really lost and turned around which could cost them time. Doing well in the Six Days requires not only a very fast off-road rider, but a rider who can mentally stay alert to all of the confusing signs. There are three different colors for different days and multiple types of signs (arrows, dots, etc., and various combinations of those that mean different things). There are better examples around the city, but if you know what you’re looking for, there are multiple ISDE markers in this picture along with many regular city traffic signs.
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    Being an International motorcycling event has really brought out motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere. We’ve seen every kind of motorcycle imaginable and they’re parked in masses all around the city.
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    I previously mentioned that cars in Italy are tiny. Well, so are their parking spots. When we walked by, a woman was parking her car in this spot. I had to take a picture to illustrate what I mean when I say small, and what they consider an appropriate parking spot.
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    Here is the U.S. Team Rider list and their start times for tomorrow morning. Let’s do this.
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    This map is hanging in the hotel conference room indicating where all the team riders are located across the country.
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    #44
  5. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    #45
  6. Bicycle Phil

    Bicycle Phil Been here awhile

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    I really enjoy the updates and awesome pictures!!

    Best of luck to Josh :thumb
    #46
  7. Southest US Thumper

    Southest US Thumper Extreme n00b

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    So cool that Mom made it, I guess I missed that in the Pre-Amble :clap

    Go Josh, Go USA!!!
    #47
  8. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Harrisville, Utah
    September 30, 2013

    Day 1 in the books and it feels great. The entire U.S. team is still riding and the U.S. is sitting second overall at the end of the day with France leading, and the Australians in 3rd. It’s only one day, but it’s nice to get all of the race jitters out and now focus on racing.

    The rain last night definitely helped. Conditions were near perfect for the first few hours of today. There is one test north of town (second special test) that didn’t get any rain. As we were driving down off the mountain from a checkpoint today, we could see a huge dustbowl about 10 miles away. Josh said that test didn’t receive any rain so it puts into perspective how bad it really could have been (and how bad it will likely get over the next couple of days).

    Another small and pleasant surprise according to Josh was how much off-road singletrack riding the course contains. He was concerned there were going to be a lot of long road sections, but he said instead they were riding long stretches of great singletrack in the mountains and with the rain, it made for a fun day.

    Because we have work commitments to the team, and I’m not here as a full-time media person, I’m limited in where I can be and for how long. The U.S. riders were really spaced out today so I was not able to see any of the trophy riders, and only saw a few of the U.S. club riders that were close to Josh. I anticipate that over the next few days, the U.S. riders will be closer together (times are readjusted after each day according to results) and I can get more coverage. We drove around all day with Fred Hoess’ mom and Josh and Fred were about 5 minutes apart so I got to see both of them several times.

    The trophy team has had some solid results. Taylor Robert won the final test of the day, Test 6. It was the dustbowl one. They each had a few other tests in the top 5 and top 10 so the team was consistent, which is what matters.

    Josh was initially a bit discouraged by his scores, but then he started to put things into perspective and realized he had a solid day and made progress from last year. To put it into perspective he is currently sitting 76th out of all 405 club riders. He is 42nd out of 150 C1 riders (those in his immediate class). The C1 class is absolutely stacked!! There are almost double the amount of C1 riders this year compared to Germany. 7 out of the top 10 club riders are in the C1 class and the top club rider (who happens to be in C1) is beating 3 out of 4 of our Junior Trophy team. He would be 11th overall C3 rider if he was riding in that class with his current scores. He's doing great and he knows from experience that Day 1 is only 1 of 6 and you have to finish 6 for it to count.

    We’ve loved being here, but today was reality. The ISDE is sooo cool. It’s hard to really describe, but just being here and experiencing this and watching the riders come through that first special test literally made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Yes, I’m a moto junkie.

    I’ve got a lot of pictures, but due to the constraints of where I can be and for how long, it was very difficult to get a lot of pictures of riders other than Josh and Fred Hoess. I’m trying not to make this thread a Josh Knight love fest, so I promise to try and get more pictures of all the U.S. riders.




    Ready for the day.
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    Josh, Robert Pearce from KTM, and Mark Kariya.
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    Getting bike from impound.
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    Transponders were put on the bikes this morning during the 10 minute morning work period.
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    Quick interview on the starting podium by the VERY loud and excited Italian announcer.
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    3 riders at a time…let’s go.
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    The always “chill” Jeff Fredette ready for the morning.
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    We were able to watch the riders at one of the special tests. This is known as the “Indoona” test. This is the grass track that I shared pictures of last week. Conditions were great on this test due to the rain….and the riders only rode this test once today.
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    This is club rider Sam Buffa from New York. Nice guy.
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    This is the mud hole everyone was worried about. Not too bad so far.
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    Jeff O’Leary from Texas.
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    Jeff, doing it the right way through the mud.
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    Jeff O’Leary in the grass track.
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    Brian Storrie from Texas at the start of the grass track. Riders have a 20 second clock that counts down. They have to cross the transponder line before that 20 seconds expires.
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    Ian Blythe, fastest U.S. club rider for the day. He had an incredible day, currently sitting 3rd overall club rider out of 450, and only 1 second off of first place.
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    Jeff O’Leary
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    Ian at the end of the test. There are U.S. support team members assigned to every test to help give “intel” at the start of the test, and to take riders fanny packs while they’re in the test.
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    Brian Storrie and U.S. support team members.
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    Josh…handing over the pack, ready for the test.
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    Josh in the grass track.
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    Fred Hoess. This dude absolutely rips and has been great to Josh.
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    Fred in the “Metzeler”test. This is the tight and technical one in the trees. I wasn’t able to get any other pictures due to time.
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    Each of the service checks have a board similar to this to keep track of the riders and when they are due.
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    Service check.
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    Josh at Time Check 3. Another change the team has made for this year that I really like, is that they have a dedicated KTM Factory mechanic at each check. The factory mechanics aren’t just chasing their rider. They are staying at the check and looking after ALL the riders. It was a nice feeling knowing Josh had the factory mechanics for Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, Charlie Mullins, all watching out for him too. Here he was adjusting the height of his forks to alter the steering characteristics for the tests.
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    Did I mention the Aussies like to have fun.
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    It was really windy all day. So much so that most teams had to take down their shade canopies at the checks. The Swedish team was directly across from the U.S. at this check. This girl’s job was to hold the clock for the riders and look pretty. She was doing a good job of it.
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    Josh heading out for his final loop. Day 1 consisted of one large loop, and then a smaller second loop which is where he was headed at this time. Totally mileage for the day was around 150 miles. A little shorter than Germany, but with this many riders, it was probably a good thing.
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    Charlie Mullins wrapping up two tires changes in his 15 minute work period at the end of the day.
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    Fred Hoess’ Mom giving Josh and Fred some wipes for their face. They ended the day at the horribly dusty special test so all the riders were really dirty when they came into the pits.
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    O’Leary brothers Jeff and Shawn and their Dad.
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    Scott Bright doing two tires for the day.
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    Ryan Sipes doing his two tire changes. He did great. Ryan started quite late today among the club riders, but when he got to the first special test, he smoked it…..setting the fastest time among all club riders. You’ll also notice the tire changer he is using. This is the one we bought earlier in the week. By this evening, there were 7 of them in the U.S. pits and about half the Trophy Team used them. Little changes, but it’s been interesting to see some of the changes among the team over the last few years.
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    #48
  9. Gian

    Gian dreamer

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    For sure is not the only Suzuki, as Maurizio Micheluz is leading the "Club" guys with his Suzuki 250 ... I'll check for a photo :norton

    Great thread, many thanks:clap

    PS: should be like this, obviously with ISDE plates
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    #49
  10. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    #50
  11. adrien mototribu

    adrien mototribu adrien

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    One hour and a half of on board cam on ISDE tracks

    <iframe width="640" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6D4mD584NkQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #51
  12. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    Go Josh ! awesome reports/photos.
    #52
  13. rpet

    rpet Awesometown

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    Go 414 - Sam Buffa!
    #53
  14. Vksf

    Vksf Adventurer

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    Subscribed! Thanks for all the photos and updates. Excited to keep track of all the progress and especially my old friend Sam Buffa!
    #54
  15. Skowinski

    Skowinski Eukaryote

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    Wow, fantastic report, thanks for taking us along! :thumb
    #55
  16. sick_boy

    sick_boy Been here awhile

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    Go Josh Go!
    #56
  17. mknight

    mknight Been here awhile

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    October 1, 2013

    As predicted, the moisture received on Sunday night did not last long. The test conditions have gone from good to horrible very quickly. The riders are enjoying some great trail transfer sections but the test conditions are about as bad as they can get (dust, ruts, braking bumps) according to some of the ISDE veterans on the team.

    The U.S. Trophy Team has dropped to third after Day 2 and the Junior Trophy Team is currently sitting in 4th, but all riders are still healthy and going strong. There is still a lot of racing yet to do.
    After getting Josh off for his day, we were able to attend one special test today. This is the “Metzeler” test. It had only been raced once prior to today and it was pretty dusty in some sections, but there are a few other test that are notoriously bad.

    The course times were “tightened” up today in a few sections, but nobody had any trouble making the times. Everyone is still in good spirits. Josh had a solid day, moving up 12 spots for the day’s results in the C1 class and 8 spots for the combined. He’s still in the top 25 percentile in his class (the largest class of all the club rider classes) and is happy and enjoying his experience.

    I was able to get pictures of just about the entire U.S. team (somehow I missed Caselli) with exception to the last 4-5 club riders in the test.
    I’m very tired and need some sleep so I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.

    Ryan Sipes in impound this morning. He has had some awesome test scores.
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    Finally saw a KTM Freeride 2-stroke in the pits.
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    Ryan Sipes and Nick Fahringer from the U.S. Wellard Club Team. They’re currently the third overall club team. The Italians have a crazy fast club team that is beating a lot of the trophy teams.
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    Justin Sode
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    Josh leaving for the day.
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    Mom was the mechanic this morning.
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    Jennie helps take care of Keith Curtis’ hands this morning with her special taping ritual.
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    First rider through the Metzeler Test, Australian Trophy team rider Daniel Milner. It’s crazy ridiculous how fast these top guys fly through these tests.
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    Top Italian rider Alex Salvini.
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    France’s Antoine Meo
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    First American through the test, Taylor Robert.
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    My wife loves to cheer the U.S. Riders.
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    Charlie Mullins
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    Australian Josh Strang (with some Utah ties to sponsor Rocky Mountain MC)
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    Mike Brown
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    Zach Osborne
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    Italian Fans
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    Does anybody see the irony in this photo (Italian fan with a U.S. flag T-shirt)
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    Thad Duvall
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    Jessie Groemm
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    Andrew Delong
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    Grant Baylor
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    Lots of cool bikes everywhere, like this Yamaha Tenere single that isn’t available in the states.
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    Bikes everywhere
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    Rachel Gutish
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    Swedish Fans. The little kid in the backpack was covered in dirt.
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    Top U.S. Club rider, Ian Blythe.
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    Nick Fahringer
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    Ryan Sipes
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    Amanda Mastin
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    Justin Sode
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    Jimmy Jarrett
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    Fred Hoess
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    Alex Dorsey
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    Josh Knight
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    Listen to your mother Josh…..twist it!
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    Mom….cheering on Josh.
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    Brian Storrie
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    Jeff O’Leary
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    Sam Buffa
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    Trevor Kline
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    Keith Curtis
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    Scott Bright
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    Jeremy Shoning
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    Back at the pits
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    #57
  18. rallye

    rallye Been here awhile

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    Good photos and great update.Isn't it interesting to see Finland not even in the top 10 ,after lots of years winning the ISDE ?
    #58
  19. kenny61

    kenny61 TBI survivor and damn proud of it

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    :freaky
    #59
  20. Southest US Thumper

    Southest US Thumper Extreme n00b

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    Location:
    As Far South and West as you can get in the USA
    Excellent Stuff Mike!!! Thanks so much for posting, I go to bed as the Trophy Teams are heded out and wake up to results pouring in. :clap

    Jethrodog a.k.a. Chris said he made it to the start of a Special and rooted for Josh, he thought 713 might have been a bit surprised to see that somebody out of the blue in the field was cheering him on!
    #60