Update: On November 18, 2015, the FIM released a new statement regarding the results of the ISDE 2015. This article has been updated to reflect this decision.

The International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) took place September 7-12 in Košice, Slovakia.

International Six Days Enduro

The ISDE is like the Olympics of the off-road motorcycle world. Riders compete representing their countries, and while individual honors are to be had, the focus is on teams. One score is dropped from each team, but in a grueling discipline like enduro, it isn’t uncommon for injuries or bike failures to knock off a competitor and make every score for the remaining riders on a team absolutely essential.

The three major classes include World Trophy (six members), Junior World Trophy (four members) and Women’s World Trophy (three members). Club teams also compete (three members). The ISDE is a long-standing competition that the USA has never quite been able to master in the premier class (though Americans have scored victories in the supporting Junior World Trophy and Women’s World Trophy classes). But heading into the 2015 event in Slovakia, it looked like Team USA had as good an opportunity as ever to take the highest honors.

Day-by-Day Report

Day 1

In the World Trophy class, Team USA came out on the top right from the beginning, helped with two strong performances from Kailub Russell and Ryan Sipes. Both competitors showed incredible speed and were the only riders to finish the day under the 44-minute mark. Australia and France followed up in 2nd and 3rd.

Australia got off to an impressive lead in the Junior World Trophy class. Sweden and France followed. However, the USA was not far behind in 4th despite losing rider Layne Michael to a broken and dislocated wrist.

In the Women’s World Trophy class, Australia ended the day on top with riders Tayla Jones and Jemma Wilson offering unmatched speed for the class. France and Sweden were in 2nd and 3rd. Unfortunately, the USA was in 5th – ahead of only Slovakia.

Day 2

Although Russell and Sipes had more great rides on day 2, Australia’s Daniel Milner took the best time for the day. Australia’s other members had better scores on average than the USA, and they were able to edge into the lead by the end. France stayed in 3rd, though they managed to put an additional buffer between them and Spain (in 4th).

There wasn’t any movement in the rankings in the Junior World Trophy and Women’s World Trophy classes. Team Australia continued in the lead in both classes, making Australia the leader in all three classes at the end of the day.

Day 3

Tragedy struck Team USA on day 3 when Kailub Russell crashed, injuring his knee and damaging his bike. He was out of the event, though the rest of the team still had a chance with the remaining five members.

At the end of the day, a total of eight riders in the World Trophy class were announced to be disqualified for missing a checkpoint in the course between special tests. One of those was an American, Taylor Robert. As Russell was out of the competition, Robert’s disqualification would effectively eliminate the USA from having a shot at the championship. Three of France’s riders were disqualified, ending their run as well. Italy, Spain and Great Britain were also affected. The large number of riders who missed the checkpoint raised some concerns about the track, and several protests began to have the affected riders (and their times) reinstated in the race.

Australia remained at the top, but the blows dealt to the other top teams allowed Italy and Finland to move into 2nd and 3rd.

In the Junior World Trophy, the USA was able to move into 3rd over France. Australia and Sweden continued in 1st and 2nd.

There was no movement in the Women’s World Trophy class, but that didn’t make Team Australia’s results any less impressive. Tayla Jones in particular showed impressive speed. Sweden’s Emelie Karlsson and Finland’s Sanna Karkkainen continued to give admirable performances as well (though still not as good as any of the Australian riders), but their teammates weren’t able to offer the needed help to get their teams ahead of France (in 2nd). Team USA continued, but they simply didn’t have the necessary speed to get out of 5th.

Day 4

After appeals were made, the FIM made a decision to allow the eight disqualified riders to continue racing, with a decision to be made at a later time as to whether or not their scores would count. This potentially put the USA and France back in the running. Unfortunately for Team USA, Thad Duvall’s bike broke down on day 4, ending the team’s chances regardless of what the FIM ultimately decided. France, on the other hand, made good time and had a great day. Australia raced well (though not as well as France). At the end of the day, they were over 15 minutes ahead of Italy (in 2nd).

Although the USA was out of competition for the championship, team member Ryan Sipes continued to earn some of the best individual times, and it looked like he had a shot at winning the individual overall.

In the Junior World Trophy Class, Australia continued to move far ahead of the other teams. However, the USA (in 3rd) made good time over France. Even if the team couldn’t catch Sweden (in 2nd), they could still go home with a bronze medal.

The Women’s World Trophy class saw no changes to the rankings, though the USA’s Rachel Gutish had one of the top scores outside of Team Australia.

Day 5

On day 5, the FIM made a provisional decision to allow the eight disqualified riders’ scores to count. After France had another great day of riding, they jumped ahead of Australia in the World Trophy class. The reinstatement also moved Spain back ahead of Italy for 3rd.

The USA’s Junior World Trophy team saw misfortunate as Nick Davis had bike troubles, effectively putting him out of the competition. As the team had already lost Michael Layne on day 1, this put them in last place.

There were no changes in the Women’s World Trophy class.

Day 6

The last day of the ISDE was a motocross-style track. As a result, the times were only about 25% of the previous days’ scores. With France now in 1st, Australia pushed hard to make up the two-minute deficit. In the end, they were only able to make up one minute. This allowed France to win the championship, with Spain taking 3rd. (Note: A later decision would change the final rankings. See the section below regarding the decision.)

Ryan Sipes – who raced motocross professionally before entering the world of enduro – was the fastest man on the track, adding to his already fast times on the previous days. This allowed him to win the honor of being the fastest individual rider at the ISDE in 2015. He is the first American to ever win the individual overall.

In the Junior World Trophy, Australia didn’t relent, ultimately finishing out the week in 1st – the first time Australia has done so in 20 years. They were 15 minutes ahead of Sweden in 2nd place. Italy took 3rd in the class.

Australia took an easy 1st in the Women’s World Trophy class with almost an hour between them and France for the week’s combined times. The team went completely undefeated every single day. Sweden placed 3rd.

ISDE 2015 Controversy

Unfortunately, the 2015 ISDE will be remembered for the controversy regarding the eight disqualified riders in the World Trophy Class. It would have been a controversial decision whether or not the disqualifications were deemed invalid.

Since this is the big news of the ISDE this year, we thought we’d offer a brief explanation for those who may not understand what happened or why.

Why the Disqualifications Happened

Even though only the special tests are timed and count toward each team’s score, each rider is required to follow a specific course in order to arrive at each test. Both the time and untimed portions are technically part of the event. When a rider does not follow the marked course, they have failed that portion of the event, which results in disqualification.

The controversy is in the idea that if eight riders missed a checkpoint, then a question arises as to whether the markers were clear enough or fair.

Why the Disqualifications Were Overturned

Taylor Robert, one of the disqualified American riders, explained in a Facebook post that the eight disqualified riders had ended up on part of a previous day’s course instead of the current day’s path. They all stopped when they realized they were on the wrong course. Even though that portion of the race was not timed, arriving at the special test too late would result in penalties. Thus, they made the decision to continue rather than backtrack.

Taylor Robert said that all affected countries (USA, France, Spain, Great Britain and Italy) appealed the disqualification. However, the FIM press release only mentions France’s FFM (Fédération Française de Motocyclisme).

The decision to allow the disqualified riders to continue racing was made before the event began on day 4. However, the provisional decision to count those scores wasn’t made until day 5.

The Result

The FIM’s decision allowed France to win. At the end of the week, they posted the overall fastest combined time (for the special tests). Thus, it’s easy to understand why many feel like they deserve the championship.

However, it’s also easy to understand why many feel as though Australia deserves the championship. All of their riders followed the correct course on day 3 according to the ISDE rules. While the course markers were unclear enough that eight riders ended up astray, the markers were clear enough to keep all other riders on the right path, so there is also an argument to be made in favor of the disqualifications as well.

What’s unfortunate about the situation is that regardless of whether the disqualifications were deemed valid or not, one of the two teams would inevitably feel victimized.

When Team Australia was called out to stand on the podium for 2nd place, they instead moved to the top of the podium. When an official directed them off the top spot, they boycotted the podium altogether by walking off. It was a clear statement that the team was displeased with the FIM’s decision and felt it was unfair.

As the decision made on day 5 was only provisional, it was possible that it could still be overturned and the eight riders’ disqualifications reinstated. This would completely change the podium as France (1st), Spain (3rd) and Great Britain (5th) would all drop in the overall standings.

The Disqualifications Reinstated

On November 18, 2015, the FIM released a statement indicating that it would reinstate the disqualifications. As a result, Team Australia is now considered the winner for the event, allowing the country to claim a sweep of all three classes. Italy took 2nd place, and Finland finished in 3rd.

ISDE 2015 Results

World Trophy Class Results

Pos.CountryTotal Time
1Australia21:09:31:14
2Italy21:27:52.21
3Finland21:49:13.25
4Germany22:01:46.71
5Czech Republic22:03:19.92
6Sweden22:23:17.01
7Slovakia22:29:14.26
8Portugal22:31:33.59
9Poland22:55:39.80
10Austria22:55:49.13
11Switzerland23:11:25.28
12Estonia23:15:33.57
13South Africa23:19:57.28
14Belgium23:50:00.74
15Greece24:38:04.65
16Slovenia25:55:12.93
17Romania27:50:58.74
18Norway28:02:50.93
19Great Britain30:48:29:61
20Spain32:41:44.86
21Hungary33:27:38.91
22USA37:31:42:11
23France39:42:01.49

Junior World Trophy Class Results

Pos.CountryTotal Time
1Australia12:56:33.09
2Sweden13:11:59:93
3Italy13:23:17.17
4France13:24:24.41
5Great Britain13:26:33.72
6Finland13:27:52.57
7Mexico13:44:14.55
8Czech Republic13:54:51.53
9Slovakia14:01:18.07
10Austria14:08:47.69
11Germany14:11:09.52
12Switzerland14:55:47.04
13USA18:09:31.30

Women’s World Trophy Class Results

Pos.CountryTime
1Australia10:15:02.65
2France11:10:56.38
3Sweden11:30:23.63
4Finland11:39:14.13
5USA11:41:37.80
6Slovakia36:00:00.00

Top 20 Overall Individual Results

Pos.No.NameCountryClassBikeTotal Time
124Ryan SipesUSAE2Husqvarna4:07:37.44
251Daniel MilnerAustraliaE2Yamaha4:08:20.83
312Loic LarrieuFranceE2Sherco4:10:50.21
458Daniel SandersAustraliaE3KTM4:11:39.30
5122Jamie McCanneyGreat BritainE1Husqvarna4:12:06.87
652Matthew PhillipsAustraliaE2KTM4:13:33.73
731Jaume BetriuSpainE2Husqvarna4:13:50.93
815Mathias BellinoFranceE3Husqvarna4:13:59.51
9154Oscar BallettiItalyE3KTM4:14:04.43
10190Luis CorreiaPortugalE3Beta4:14:42.91
1150Joshua GreenAustraliaE1Yamaha4:15:17.86
1213Antoine BassetFranceE3KTM4:16:01.81
1354Lachlan StanfordAustraliaE3Husqvarna4:16:06.54
1426Grant BaylorUSAE2Yamaha4:16:12.83
1553Beau RalstonAustraliaE2Yamaha4:16:20.13
1659Tye SimmondsAustraliaE2KTM4:16:36.27
1748Edward HuebnerGermanyE1KTM4:17:08.88
18152Jonathan ManziItalyE2Husqvarna4:17:20.72
1932Josep GarciaSpainE1Husqvarna4:18:00.22
20151Nicolo MoriItalyE2KTM4:18:04.29

Top 20 Club Team Results

Pos.ClubTotal Time
1VAMC Drie Musketiers14:15:06.42
2Team Ostra Elite14:20:08.61
3KBS UAMK Team Unhost14:25:37.60
4GoFasters14:42:17.14
5Sacu Team Scotland14:47:10.11
6BMT Gottbros Team - FIM Europe14:47:28.88
7EnC Racing CZ I14:48:17.31
8Motosport Klub Hostalkovice14:51:55.21
9Team West Sweden14:53:27.84
10Team Ostra Junior14:56:23.66
11Motoklub Chrastava15:06:57.01
12Boise Ridge Riders15:09:01.58
13Mo Mudders15:11:52.55
14FIM North America 115:37:29.94
15Elizabeth Scott15:38:04.60
16Albert Enduro Team15:50:50.58
17Gottbros16:13:42.66
18KTM Novi Korona Kielce16:34:10.26
19Australia - Club Team16:34:16.12
20Team Ostra Gota MS16:35:50.79