In September the annual International Six Day Enduro was held in Slovakia a small Eastern European country of six million people.
The terrain was mountainous with pine forests, river crossings, rocks and mud and everything in between.
The special tests were challenging mostly grasstracks on hillsides with technical layouts made even more so with the heavy rain which fell on days 4 &5. The difficulty of these tests exaggerated the difference in times between the best riders and the rest in such conditions.
The days were long and the section times were fairly tight resulting in competitors traveling through villages on wet bitumen roads at up to 100kph to stay on time.
The Parc Ferme (start area) was in the centre of the town and a major road had been closed to accommodate the course. The Aussie Team pit area was located next to the French who had an on site kitchen which served up two or three course meals to their riders at the end of each day.
The final moto was held on a motocross track which had hosted the MXdesNations in late 1990’s and it was awesome, many of our riders were heard to say that it was the best MX track that they had ever ridden on. The crowd was huge and were right in the action from start to finish.
The Italians won the Junior and Trophy Teams and were jubilant at the end of the event.
The Australian Trophy Team of Stefan Merriman, Damien Smith, Brad Williscroft, AJ Roberts, Jake Stapleton and Jehi Willis finished fifth while our Junior Team of Blake Hore, Shannon Lewry, Adam Lees and Darren Lloyd finished seventh.
In 2006 the ISDE will be held in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand (in November) and this will offer Australians the chance to compete in, support or just come and watch the best off road riders in the world strive for glory in what is surely the Olympics of our sport.
International Six Day, Enduro Povaska Bystrica, Slovakia September 2005
Written by Blake Hore
Early in September this year myself and the rest of the Australian riders and support crew traveled to Slovakia for the Olympics of enduro.
This year I was chosen to represent Australia as a member of the junior team which consisted of four riders under the age of 24. My parents and my sister decided to make the trip across to be part of the support crew and also get a chance to see another part of the world.
The event consisted of five days of 250+ kilometers of riding with 6 special tests per day. These tests were 6-8 minutes long and would either be fully bunted grass tracks on the side of hills or enduro tests that would flow through the Slovakian forests. The tests were very demanding as they started off slippery each morning with massive off cambered corners to negotiate. The sixth day was a 60km trail ride to a final motocross test.
We arrived six days before the event was to commence and during this time the riders had to unpack the container to get their bikes ready and then start walking special tests. The officals decided that they would only bunt the test 48 hours prior to them being ridden. This was fine for the test on the first few days but it meant that we would have to race day 4 for example and then go out and start walking tests for day 5 which was impossible as there was only a couple of hours of daylight left after racing for 7 hours. The officials changed their minds and bunted all the tests before the event started. This year the Australian team had the opportunity to walk the tests with World Champion Stefan Merriman. He was happy to lend advice to all of us so we could appreciate what goes through the mind of a world champion when picking lines on a track.
The first two days of competition were run on the same course in perfect conditions on some of the best tracks I have ever ridden on. Both the Australian senior and junior team were running fifth after this stage.
Days 3 and 4 were run on a different course with some new special test to try and master. A member of our senior team Damian Smith started to have some bike troubles around this period of time which caused him to drop back in the standings. But the experienced Smith continued on to make sure he was there for the team if there happened to be any other dramas with any of our other riders.
Day 5 come around and after rain all the night prior it was going to be very difficult. It ended up being the hardest days riding I had ever done. For seven hours I tried to get around the course covered in mud and I also had some serious tendonitis in my right arm which was not helping my cause. It was just a matter of trying to make it around let alone trying to pull fast special test times.
Day six had finally come and the weather had fined up for a perfect day to race the final motocross at the local motocross track. The track was used in the 1995 Motocross Des Nations and it was just an enjoyment to ride with the hard packed clay surface up and down the hills.
Results wise the Australian senior team come 5th and the juniors 7th due to some bike problems. I ended up coming 36th in my class and 70th overall.