This year’s U.S. Trophy Team features Kurt Caselli, Jordan Brandt, Fred Hoess, Jimmy Jarrett, Ron Schmelzle and Rory Sullivan. Caselli, Hoess and Brandt are slated to ride the E3 class, Jarrett and Sullivan are expected to run E2 and Schmelzle is scheduled to run E1.
Caselli was a member of the Junior World Trophy team (for riders under 23 years of age) that gave Team USA a surprise victory last year in New Zealand. Caselli says he thinks the U.S. Trophy team could surprise some people in Chile.
“This year’s team has a lot of guys who have raced ISDE before, so we have a good level of experience,” Caselli said. “The key is to eliminate mistakes. I think if we can do that we can earn a good finish. A lot of our guys have been riding really well in qualifiers and you like to have that confidence going into the event. We’ve got to work together as a team. That’s very important with the level of competition in the ISDE.”
Caselli thinks the desert surroundings in La Serena could help the U.S. team.
“For the most part the Europeans favor more forested and wet conditions,” he explained. “Most of our riders have good experience in the desert. That’s what I ride every day. That’s one area where we could have an advantage, you never know.”
Finland is the defending World Trophy champion. The U.S. is seeking its first victory in the prestigious international competition.
The U.S. Trophy team has a mix of youth and experience. Fred Hoess is the senior member at 40. He has 12 ISDE Gold Medals to his credit. Hoess is glad that new blood is coming into ISDE competition for Team USA.
“Ron [Schmelzle) and I are the veterans of the team,” said Hoess, who was first named to the U.S. Trophy team in 1991. “I’m 40 and Ron’s in his late 30s, but the rest of the team is in their 20s and that’s great because it is a young man’s sport. The terrain should be good for some of the guys on our team, so that’s a real positive.”
Hoess commented that the team also has riders with experience in various racing series.
“My background is National Enduro and ISDE Qualifiers,” he said. “And we got guys who have a lot of Hare and Hound and Hare Scrambles experience, so everyone has their strengths. Everyone is trying to do well individually, but the little things that we do together as a team can really make a major difference. Things like walking the special tests together, sharing information, having team meetings, waiting for teammates in case they need some help with anything, or helping them on the trail even, whatever it takes.”
Hoess would love to see the team shoot for a top-five finish.
“Of course you want to win,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s possible yet, but with some of the young talent we’re bringing in I can see a top-five and maybe working for a top-three would be great.”
The Junior Trophy Team of Russell Bobbitt, David Kamo, Cole Kirkpatrick and Ben Smith have big shoes to fill after the awe-inspiring performance by the U.S. Junior team last year. The team will look to Bobbitt for leadership as the only returning member of last year’s Gold winning squad.
The ISDE will mark a major milestone in this year’s competition when it has the first Women's World Cup Team. The USA squad, backed by GoFasters.com, is made up of Nicole Bradford, Lacy Jones and Amanda Mastin.
In addition to the Trophy, Junior and Women’s teams, the U.S. will also send over a strong contingent of club teams. Team Oregon: Eric Cleveland, Jim Conner, John Yates; Lubbock Trail Riders: Don Hogan, Cooper Bailey, Jordan Chambliss; Trail Riders of Houston: Jeff O'Leary, Brian Storrie, Wes McKnight; Missouri Mudders: Lars Valin, Michael Jolly, Daniel Janus; JAFMAR Racing: Jeff Fredette, Bill Rush, Dennis Decker; Sugar Mama Racing: Troy Swettenam, Joe Giordano, John Maier; Merced Dirt Riders: Brian Hasslen, Scott Bright, Matthew Bucher; Carter Engineering: Robert Heinzerling, Paul Reschke, Steve Gordon; Boise Ridge Riders: Bert Bradford, Annell Allen, Rich Libengood; Desert MC: Kevin Hutchinson, Lucas Comeaux, Bryce Bingham.
One of the biggest obstacles in sending a team is the cost associated with moving the equipment and travel expenses. To help defer the expenses Mazda North America, in cooperation with Northern California dealer Tracy Mazda, has announced it will donate a truck that will be raffled off with proceeds to assist Team USA’s ISDE effort.
This is a first for a major manufacturer outside the motorcycle industry to show its support for the U.S. ISDE team and is a credit to Mazda North America. The fund-raising truck will be a 2007 Mazda B2300, and it will be on display at Tracy Mazda, 2680 Auto Plaza Way, Tracy, Calif. Donations can be made conveniently over the Internet via Paypal at http://www.isde4teamusa.com/ with a suggested donation of $30 per chance or two for $50. All proceeds will be used to help send America’s World Trophy and Junior World Trophy teams to Chile for the 82nd ISDE. Additionally, a portion will be used to help pay for transporting the 40-foot container that holds the bikes, spares and tools to La Serena—only the second time in history that the event has been held in South America.
The ISDE is the oldest continuously running form of world championship motorcycle racing and is often referred to as the Olympic Games of off-road motorcycling. Not only must a rider endure six punishing days of up to 200 miles per day on the trail, but the rider is the sole individual allowed to complete the major mechanical maintenance to keep the bike running; others may only add air to the tires or fuel to the tank.
Each year, countries from around the world send teams of their best riders to compete in several categories, with the FIM World Trophy the most coveted prize which a country’s six best racers strive for. The FIM Junior World Trophy (which the U.S. has won three times) is for teams of four; all under 23 years old. There are also three-person Club teams with no age, gender or engine displacement stipulations.
Keep posted to http://www.amadirectlink.com/ for additional information on the 82nd International Six Days Enduro.