The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the U.S. riders for the World Trophy Team that will contest the 86th International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). For 2011, taking on the best off-road racers in the world, Aug. 8-13, in Kotka-Hamina, Finland, are: Destry Abbott, Russell Bobbitt, Kurt Caselli, Jimmy Jarrett, Nathan Kanney and Kyle Summers.
"It's no secret that Europe is home to some of the best off-road racers in the world, and the U.S. ISDE team is looking forward to facing these riders on their home turf," said AMA Off-Road Racing Manager Chuck Weir. "The Trophy Team is a mix of new talent and veteran experience. These riders know and respect each other, and will work together to put Americans on the podium at this storied international competition."
The World Trophy Team is one of three premier teams that represent the United States at the ISDE. The other premier teams are the Junior Trophy Team, which fields four riders younger than 23, and the Women's Trophy Team, which fields three riders. In addition, several club team members represent the United States at the event.
The AMA Team USA Junior Trophy Team will include Brad Bakken from Powhatan, Va.; Ian Blythe from Sedalia, Colo.; Cory Buttrick from Logan, Ohio; and Andrew DeLong from Morgantown, Pa. While individual classes are still being determined for the Junior Trophy Team riders, Bakken will ride a KTM 250, Blythe will compete on a Honda, Buttrick will field a KTM, and DeLong will race a KTM 250.
The AMA Team USA Women's Cup Team will include Nicole Bradford from Avon, Colo.; Amanda Mastin from Whitehouse, Ohio; and Kerrie Swartz from Moore, Okla. Bradford will compete on a KTM 250 in the E2 class. Mastin will race a Husqvarna 250 in the E1 class, and Swartz will ride a KTM 250 in the E2 class.
The U.S. ISDE team has also designated a Senior Club Team of veterans from the club team members. This year, the club team will feature Dennis Decker from Pleasant Valley, N.Y.; Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette from Beecher, Ill.; and Jake Vainio from Park City, Utah.
Riders at the ISDE compete in one of three displacement classes: the E1 class, which features 100cc to 125cc two-stroke and 175cc to 250cc four-stroke motorcycles; the E2 class, which features 175cc to 250cc two-stroke and 290cc to 450cc four-stroke motorcycles; and the E3 class, which features 290cc to 500cc two-stroke and 475cc to 650cc four-stroke motorcycles.
The U.S. Trophy Team is anchored by five ISDE veterans, along with the rookie Summers. It is led by team co-captains Abbott and Caselli.
Abbott, from Peoria, Ariz., contests the AMA Racing National Hare & Hound Championship Series for Monster Energy Kawasaki. The 38-year-old five-time AMA National Hare & Hound Champion is a five-time ISDE Gold Medalist and will represent the United States on the Trophy Team for the seventh time. Abbott is competing on a Kawasaki KX450 in the E2 class.
"Finland is going to be tough, but if we all go and ride our own race, we expect to get on the podium," Abbott said. "We face Italy and France, two strong teams, and Finland is a team we always battle with, so with the ISDE being in Finland, it's going to be a dogfight. I'm not real experienced with Finland, but I understand it's gravelly, rocky, and there's a lot of water. It sounds somewhat tight, but not like 'gnarly tight' Eastern U.S. trails, so our desert riders should adapt well."
Abbott said that the ISDE is always a highlight of his season.
"I've always loved the ISDE," Abbot said. "I started on a club team, got my experience and have worked my way up. It's not easy. There are a lot of things that can happen on a bike for seven to eight hours a day, and you only have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night, and it's hard to understand how mentally tough it is. The transfer sections aren't always easy, and if you lose your focus, you can find yourself off the trail. I love it, though. You have to be a great all-around rider. You have to be good at off-road, moto, working on the bike. It's a real test."
Although the details are still being worked out, Abbott says it appears that, with the exception of Summers in the E1 class and Kanney in the E3 class, the rest of the Trophy Team will ride 450cc bikes in the E2 class.
Caselli, from Palmdale, Calif., is returning to the team for the fifth time. The 27-year-old Caselli, who races off-road events for the KTM/FMF Racing factory team, has placed the ISDE near the top of his racing program the past few years.
Bobbitt, from Fayetteville, Ga., currently leads the point race in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, presented by Moose Racing. He also competes in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series. Bobbitt is a three-time AMA National Enduro Champion. In 2006, he was a member of the winning ISDE Junior Trophy Team. Bobbitt races for the KTM/FMF Racing factory team.
Jarrett, from Salem, Ohio, also brings several years of experience to the team. Jarrett races the GNCC Series for GEICO Powersports Honda. This will be the Ohioan's seventh year representing the United States on the Trophy Team.
Kanney is another veteran on the team this year. He is currently contesting the GNCC Series for WMR/Planet Fitness/KTM. Kanney is an experienced ISDE and World Enduro Championship rider.
Summers, from Florissant, Colo., races off-road events on both the west and east coasts. Most recently, he competed in the GNCCs for Am-Pro Yamaha. Summers is also a top motocross racer, and has competed in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Racing Motocross Championship.
While the World Trophy Team, the Women's Trophy Team and the Junior Trophy Team are critical pieces of the U.S. effort, they are but one component of the overall AMA contingent that makes the trek to the annual event. Club team riders also will ride on the team.
Club teams this year include GoFasters.com (Greg Gillian, Max Gerston and Brent Martell); Tony Agonis (Fred Hoess, Glenn Scherer, Cody Schafer), Missouri Mudders (J.D. Friebel, Caleb Wohletz, Morgan Moss), Carter Engineering (Chase Bishop, Bryan Petty, Michael Sanders). The Senior team of Decker, Fredette and Vainio also will compete with the club teams.
The AMA's ISDE effort would be impossible without various companies that have stepped up to provide support. These include Arai, Spectro and Motion Pro.
America's motorcyclists can help support the U.S. ISDE team, and look good doing it, by buying an official U.S. ISDE T-shirt. All proceeds support the massive effort to transport the riders, bikes and crew to and from Finland. To buy a shirt, just visit the AMA's online store at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > ISDE Team Info > Buy An Official T-Shirt.