Andrew Delong Talks Six Days And The Hunt For A GNCC Title
Before switching gears back to the GNCC series, Delong checks in after enduring a tough, muddy ISDE.
Corona, CA – October 2012 – What does it take to ride a rock-solid race for six days in a row? Just ask Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong who was able to do exactly that at the 2012 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Saxony, Germany. Aboard a CH Racing TE310, Delong helped lead the U.S. Team to the Junior Trophy podium for a third-place finish, earning an individual gold in the process.
It wasn’t an easy week for Delong, who confessed he was struggling with a flu, but the FAR Husqvarna rider was able to battle the tough terrain, steep hills and long tests of the German Six Days to earn gold. With hardly a break, Husqvarna’s rising star is ready to jump back into action in the GNCC series and fight for the XC2 championship. Fortunately Delong had a few minutes this week to chat about his Six Day adventure before heading back to the races.
We’re already hearing that this was one of the toughest Six Days in years. What did you think of it?
This was a bit tougher than last year’s. I got sick in the beginning of the week. I think I had the flu and I’m still getting over it right now. I was just so drained and I was struggling with the tests. The tests were like 10 to 12 minutes long when they’re usually like 3-5. It was a little bit longer [than usual] and I was just physically tired.
Even though you were feeling under the weather, your results certainly didn’t show it. Your times were rock solid through the week.
Yeah [laughs]. I’m always super consistent; that’s what my goal is. But I was really struggling around Day 3, Day 4. I couldn’t breath during the test. My sinuses were clogged and my throat hurt; it was just one of those times when you don’t want to ride a dirt bike. I was so wiped out I could barely get my tires changed. I’m a little bummed out… I mean, I did good but at the same time, I should have rocked most of those tests because it was a lot like [the terrain at] my house. But if I hadn’t been sick I probably would have been higher up in the overall.
What bike were you riding?
I was on a CH Racing TE310. It’s the European version so it’s closest to our TXC310 here. It was a World Enduro race bike they had at the shop and they re-did it for me with a brand new motor and everything. It was an awesome bike and I’m really thankful for the CH Racing team supporting me.
This is your third year competing at the Six Days. What has your experience helped you learn?
It’s not won on the first day. I just try to stay consistent the whole week. I know that my consistent scores will be good. I’ll finish solid and I won’t get hurt. I learned a lot my first two years and this year was a little easier because I was calm and took what came to me and I didn’t get hurt.
After all that, you hardly have a break because you’re jumping right back into the GNCC series this weekend. Do you think you’ll have enough steam for the rest of the season?
Oh, yeah. Right before the Six Days I raced Unadilla and made up a lot of points in my class. Now I’m only 13 points out of the lead in the XC2 class, so if I win the last three rounds, I win the championship. I don’t want to say I didn’t ride hard at the Six Days, because I did, but I rode conservative because I didn’t want to hurt myself over there. I have a shot to win the GNCC XC2 championship and I’m really focused on that.
So if you win every round – even if Steward Baylor gets second at every race – you’ll win the championship?
Yep. I’ll win by two points. I’m really excited for that. I just want to do the best I can. I’m not saying I’m putting all my eggs in one basket, but I’d really like to do well and finish up the year strong and win that championship.