Team USA Juniors remain second while World Trophy squad drops to seventh with injuries

By Mark Kariya

Incredibly enough, the 84th Maxxis FIM International Six Days Enduro in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, is almost over. It’s been an unbelievably quick week so far and though most of the racers are tired and looking forward to the final day, most are also looking forward to taking part in next year’s event in Mexico—or Finland in 2011 or some other future Six Days.

Jordan Brandt has been running in the top 10 of the C3 class; he was eighth in class today and holds sixth for the week. Unfortunately, his Club team lost Ryan Powell on the second day so the team is only 59th.

But as usual, things happened on the fifth day here, some good and some bad. The good is that the U.S. Junior World Trophy team remained a solid third, so their chances of accepting accolades at tomorrow evening’s awards ceremony is excellent. Since David Kamo DNFed on Day Two with a super-heated bike, the remaining three can’t afford to make a serious mistake or have a mechanical breakdown, though they’re comfortably ahead of fourth-place Italy by almost three and a half minutes. Conversely, the French would have to have a meltdown for the U.S. squad to grab second.
For the fourth time this week, Russell Bobbitt posted the best time among the American Juniors, and Cory Buttrick shook off yesterday’s crash to best Jamie Lanza’s score by 48 seconds.
Spain kept its lead with France continuing to run second.
The bad thing is injuries taking a toll on the two rookies on the U.S. World Trophy team. Neither Damon Huffman nor Timmy Weigand dropped out, their willingness to bear excruciating pain in order to keep the team intact the only reason that said team dropped only to seventh. France remained the leader over Italy and Australia.
For Huffman, tendonitis in both arms—which he’s never had in his former career as either a motocross pro or his more recent history as a WORCS and EnduroCross contender—over the past few days have made it virtually impossible to hammer down in the tests.
And for Weigand, well, he’s been able to hammer down, but a crash today resulted in having the tip of his throttle hand’s little finger ground down to bone. Apparently, he’s even tougher than he looks as he shrugged off the obvious pain and blood loss to finish out the day. And this was after a debilitating case of food poisoning last night, something that resulted in him getting an IV drop before the start this morning.
“They’re really digging down and just making sure that they finish,” teammate Kurt Caselli pointed out. “That means a lot.”
Caselli proved once again to be the bright spot for the team, both World Trophy and Team USA overall. Of the day’s seven tests, he won two, was second in another and third in yet another while his worst times were a sixth and two sevenths. That gave him the second-best E3 score of the day behind only Finland’s Samuli Aro and by only 5.06 seconds.

Damon Huffman has been struggling with tendonitis for the entire event. He’s sucked it up and has put in strong results in spite of the pain.

It was all going very well for Timmy Weigand, but he ended up crashing today in a transfer section. Somehow, he ground off the tip of the little finger on his throttle hand, but he gritted his teeth and made it to the day’s finish, where he got patched up and shot up. And this was on top of having to start the day with an IV drip to combat the effects of food poisoning last night!

Fred Hoess (left) and Jeff Fredette congratulate each other on another Six Days raced. This is 20 for Hoess, who has only two DNFs, while Fredette will have 29 finishes out of 29 starts when this event ends.

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