The 25th annual ISDE qualifier hosted by the Boise Ridge Riders took place in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains of southwestern Idaho. For two days each year this race takes over the sleepy town of Idaho City. Once the richest gold mining region of the west, this town now plays host to tourists and sportsmen and powersport enthusiasts. The annual race is always a big boost to the local economy and embraced by all. Weather conditions promised to be hot again this year after nearly perfect conditions last year. Fortunately partially cloudy conditions each day kept the temperatures mild. Overall the course did get fairly dusty but a short cloud burst on Sunday brought rain and hail to the riders on late minutes.
At 112 miles each day the route proved to be a challenge to most of the riders. Trail boss Joe Boisvert, known by all as “Idaho Joe”, took 2008 off from club duties so he could compete in the event for the first time. This year he was back designing a course that included miles of freshly cut virgin terrain. The course featured numerous long high altitude climbs that rewarded the riders with spectacular mountain vistas at each summit. This is one of the largest annual events held in the west. Each day featured over 300 riders, many of those only riding one day, bringing the total number of participants to over 500. Any rider who can complete two days of this tortuous course can feel a genuine sense of accomplishment.
Local hero and KTM factory desert racer David Kamo has been having a strong season riding his Muscle Milk, Shock Doctor 530xcw, notching up wins in both the National Hare & Hound series and The Best in The Desert series. David’s first national level win came right here in Idaho City last year. A number of fast young riders showed up to challenge for the win this year including WORCS racers Jamie Lanza, Taylor Robert and Jonathan Davis. District 36 was well represented by riders Ryan Powell, Jordan Brandt, Brian Sperle, Steve Silvestri (the legendary G-Man) and Pat Garrahan.
Throughout Day One the relatively short tests kept all the top riders pretty close to each other on overall time. Kamo was consistently fast and lead the field coming into the grass track special late in the day. “When I arrived at the grass track special test it was about 3 o’clock. I felt pretty good going into the test. Then I slid out in a corner. I got lost on the grass track in the first mile, a rider before me somewhere took out the ribbon on the outside of the corner. I finally got back on the track when I saw the next rider who started behind me. I finished the rest of the grass track pretty consistent.”
Jordan Brandt on his Dick’s Racing, Ace Motorsports, MSR backed KTM 530xcw posted the fastest overall time in the grass track. “On Saturday the race started well but it took me a while to get into a groove. It was so dusty that everybody had a very slow trail pace. The problem with that is you feel every bump on the course, which makes for two very long days. I rode well Saturday and did not fall in any special tests. I had a few rear brake issues but was able to bleed them at gas so it didn’t end up being a big deal”.
By the end of Day One Kamo led the field by 12 seconds over Ryan Powell riding a Mach 1 Motorsports, Moose Racing, RTT Stabilizers, Nor-Cal suspension backed Yamaha YZ250. Powell commented “The race went pretty smooth for me, I struggled with dust in probably 4 or 5 tests which affected me a bit on times, but by the end of the weekend I figured out how to time my trail pace to avoid it as much as possible”. Third overall on Day One was Brandt followed by the Northland Motorsports, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Precision Concepts KXF250 of Jamie Lanza.
Day Two featured the same course run in the opposite direction. Light overcast conditions provided some relief to the dust and heat of Saturday. The Ridge Riders convinced the city to let them race down main street for the first time in many years. As “racing” really wasn’t required so early in the day many of the riders delighted the local crowd with wheelies along the two blocks that constitute the downtown area. From Kamo, “we started on Main Street, and were encouraged to do wheelies and burnouts, so twist my arm, I had to ride a wheelie down the street”.
Kamo and Taylor Robert tied in the first test of the day. Then Kamo blitzed the grass track, over 20 seconds faster than anyone else,” I showed up to the grass track around 10:45am. I felt very confident, my KTM 530 was set up more for high speed desert races, but for the conditions it ran top notch”.
Powell would finish the weekend strong by taking the final three tests of the day. Unfortunately it was not quite enough to make up for the time he had lost to Kamo early in the day. “I couldn’t quite keep pace with David but I felt good about how I rode and was stoked at the result I managed on the weekend. I am excited to go to Portugal, it should be fun”. Ryan suffered a dislocated shoulder last year while riding on the Junior team in Greece and is hoping for a strong performance this year.
By the end of two days of competition and 224 miles of riding David Kamo came away the winner for the second year in a row with a 39 second gap over the strong riding E2 class winner Ryan Powell. Third overall and second in the E3 class went to Jordan Brandt saying, “I had a pretty rough day on Sunday and made at least one mistake in every test. I blew some turns and washed out, or, spun out in a couple of corners. None of my mistakes were serious but they were just enough to lose some time”.
Following in very close order were the WORCS regulars Taylor Robert and Jamie Lanza. For Taylor this was his very first qualifier. Upon completing his second trip to Idaho and winning the E1 class Lanza commented, “I came up a little short last year trying to qualify for Greece and I am very thankful for the opportunity to ride for my country and sponsors in Portugal later this year. We have a very good Junior team this year and I think we should be able to get a good result”. For the overall win, the open class riders had a definite advantage in the high altitude conditions. All of the 250f riders commented on the lack of power due to the course elevations that ran from 5,000-7,000 ft range.
Coming in just a little further back, Jonathan Davis and Brian Sperle finished 6th and 7th respectively. In the AA class Eric Habenicht took the win by just one second over Pat Garrahan, Eric was actually running second overall at the end of day one but dropped back a bit on day two. Former Factory rider and National Enduro regular Matt Stavish showed up to ride the senior class and handily took the win.
Ron Dillon and Curtis Dice both rode in the Champions class, this is a class created by the club for past winners of the race to compete in.
The competition to be on the Junior team was particularly strong this year and the AMA had to make some difficult decisions for team selection. Russell Bobbitt and David Kamo qualified automatically by virtue of being the class winners at each qualifier, not to mention overall race winners. Cole Kirkpatrick and Nick Faringer both rode strong at the first qualifier and expressed interest in the team. Ultimately the AMA chose Jamie Lanza and GNCC rider Cory Buttrick as the other two members of the Junior team. Part of decision was the need to have an E1 class rider on the team.
After a number of years of strong competition in the Women’s ISDE class, 2009 has been rather dismal. Between the two qualifiers only one woman showed up to ride. Lacy Jones put in a solid ride in the Missouri round. Mandi Mastin was unable to ride Missouri due to the GNCC conflict and Maria Forsberg showed up in Idaho recovering from an elbow injury. These two are expected to ride along with Lacy in Portugal for Team USA this year.
Gordon White won the 2 day overall in the Senior B class, Gordon is 72 years old.
The new Moto-Tally electronic scoring system was used at both qualifiers this year. It features key card style transponders that are taped to the underside of the helmet visor. Overall the system seemed to work very well with fast results provided at both races.
Derek Steahly showed up in Idaho only to dislocate his shoulder practicing on Friday. He spent the weekend helping pit for his dad, Chuck Steahly. Derek says he is opening a new Enduro Engineering franchise suspension shop in Oregon.
As always the race organization was very good. The Boise Ridge Riders work hard during the day and hold a pretty raucous campfire in the evenings. The club has secured the lease of a large tract of private timber land for future races.
Klim has designed the Team USA rider jersey this year. Through a generous private effort organized by Gunny Claypoole, these jerseys will be provided to all the riders at no charge. See more at KlimUSA.com
E1: 1) Jamie Lanza, 2) David Booth, 3) Garrett Mayer, 4) Brent Martell
E2: 1) Ryan Powell, 2) Taylor Robert, 3) Jonathan Davis, 4) CJ Hymas
E3: 1) David Kamo, 2) Jordan Brandt, 3) Brian Sperle, 4) Shawn Strong
E4: 1) Matt Stavish, 2) Chilly White, 3) Don Grahn, 4) Don Wilson
AA: 1) Eric Habenicht, 2) Pat Garrahan, 3) Taylor Friez, 4) Scott Fisher
Here is a collection of Idaho City Pictures from years past