Battered U.S. Juniors third, World Trophy fifth at finish

By Mark Kariya

Though not well-known in the U.S., all of Europe’s enduro enthusiasts now know Frenchman Christophe Nambotin, who joins an elite group of men who earned the title of fastest individual at Six Days.

While things looked grim during the middle of the week and even appeared that way on the final day, Team USA achieved respectable finishes in the 84th Maxxis FIM International Six Days Enduro in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Its Junior World Trophy team finished on the podium in third while the senior team made a last-day leap from seventh to fifth, and the Women’s World Cup squad survived for fourth.
The U.S. Juniors had a scare on the final day of competition, a day that is usually a cruise to the motocross track which serves as the venue for the last test of the week. Actually, there were two scares that threatened to strip the American quartet of its podium spot. First, Cory Buttrick lost a minute after he lost the oil plug at a check, losing a lot of oil after its ill-fitting scrounged replacement fell out. And even worse, team leader Russell Bobbitt crashed hard in fifth gear after hitting a tree stump that he didn’t see in the dust of a transfer section, sustaining a possible broken shoulder bone. But he was able to get back on his bike and make to the motocross track in Agueda, about 50 miles from parc ferme in Figueira. At the track, the doctor patched him up enough so Bobbitt could ride and he did an exemplary job, coping with the pain and finishing better than expected to end up 15th in E2 for the week. Since all three remaining riders had to finish after losing David Kamo to bike problems on the second day, it was critical for Bobbitt to finish. Doing well was just a bonus.
And doing really well was Jamie Lanza. In the E1 moto, he got an excellent start and had Finland’s Eero Remes, the eventual moto and class winner, in sight. But he couldn’t make a run at him and settled for a safe second in the race, which gave him the fifth-fastest time of the entire field at day’s end (Remes setting the fastest time).
Damon Huffman and Timmy Weigand of the U.S. World Trophy team also had to ride at less than 100-percent fitness, though they also did commendably. Despite missing part of a finger and still dealing with the aftereffects of food poisoning, Weigand powered though to the fourth-best E1 time of the day and Huffman’s tendonitis didn’t prevent him from speeding to the fifth-fastest E1 time.

Destry Abbott fell in the E2 race, tearing up a couple of his fingers badly enough that he’ll likely lose a fingernail, but he got back up to finish seventh for the day.

Apparently, Destry Abbott wanted to see how it was to ride hurt so while setting up a rider for fourth in his E2 heat, he lost the front end and ripped up a couple fingers in the crash. He lost a lot of flesh and will probably lose a fingernail by the time he races again at the final AMA National Hare & Hound in SoCal next Sunday. But he picked himself back up and got back into the race, eventually posting the seventh fastest time of the class and the best of the Americans there.
Of course, lots of American hope rested on Kurt Caselli in E3 and he also put in a thrilling performance, ending up fourth in the E3 moto and being one of the only riders all day to pull off the uphill triple. Overall for the week, he was fourth in class behind individual overall winner Christophe Nambotin of France’s World Trophy team. Nathan Kanney backed him up with 10th for the week.

Kurt Caselli (31) didn’t get the best of starts and couldn’t overtake the leaders so he had to settle for fourth for the day and the week in E3.
In the Women’s World Cup race, Maria Forsberg got a great start behind only week-long class leader Ludivine Puy of France, but both were quickly overhauled by Sweden’s Sandra Adriansson, who easily won the moto but was not a real factor the rest of the week. Forsberg ended up third for the day but second for the week, matching her result from her first Six Days last year in Greece.

After crashing and possibly breaking his shoulder en route to the final motocross test, Russell Bobbitt was a bit detuned during that E2 race, though it’s amazing that he even started it. His ability to shrug off the injury helped preserve the Junior team’s third place.

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