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TBT – More Czech Six Day Stories
2002 ISDE day 6, Chilly and John Yates in the background.
Okay, here are a few more anecdotes that I have remembered from the 2002 ISDE in the Czech Republic.
-Wally Palmer was racing his first ISDE, I think he was 15. He was riding a 125 Husky. It was raining the first day. Wally went down on the pavement just a short ways from the start. He rode back to Parc Ferme where I was still waiting to start. He had broken one of the handle bar mounts on his bike. There were no replacement parts immediately handy. So he just duct taped everything in place. I remember this big wad of tape going clear around the bars and top clamp.
But that is not even the best part of the story. By mid day the team had rounded up replacement parts and sent them out to a check so Wally could make repairs. When he arrived there he told the check crew that he was doing fine with the duct tape repair and would just wait until the end of the day to fix everything!
-Fred Hoess lost the radiator cap on his 125 Husky. I believe this was on day one also. It was a very eventful day. Checking coolant is one of the few things that a crew member can touch on an ISDE bike. So I am not sure if it was Fred or someone else who was to blame for the lost cap. Anyway, Fred had to ride around trying to continually find water to put back in the bike. At one point he ended up at a church, there was no one around so he borrowed what water he could find. Now the story is that it was the holy water, I am not sure it that was really the case or not, but it makes a good story.
Fred had to do a top end on the little Husky at the end of the day. I think he had to do part of it in the evening and then finish it in during the morning work period. One thing you have to say about Fred, he is a never-say-die kind of rider. His list of ISDE medals will rank him among the top US riders ever.
-There are lots of rules regarding the ISDE and it can be hard to know all of them. In 2002 the organizers decided to enforce the sidestand rule. As I recall it was in the books, but it had not been used much, every bike had to have a sidestand to pass tech inspection. Back at this time, probably half of the US riders were on Japanese bikes, most without stand. This left many riders scrambling to find something that might pass tech and sort of hold the bike up. I remember David Pearson and Fred Hoess cutting pieces of metal from their bike crates and trying to find a way to bolt them to the frame. It was all pretty silly looking and none of these home made stands lasted beyond the first day.
-For some reason, many of the US riders arrived in Czech without a proper enduro jacket. It was cold and rainy the entire trip. So these riders needed a jacket. Paul Edmonson’s dad was there selling Wolfsport gear. The Wolfsport stuff was all these loud colors, green, purple and orange. So the American’s were riding in these crazy looking jackets.
-For Six Day riders, there used to be a walk of shame so to speak. It was referred to as “impounding on the rim”. If you failed to get your tire changes done in time. You could put your bike in impound for the night without a tire mounted, on the rim, to keep from incurring a time penalty. They have since changed this rule and your bike has to be in rideable condition for impound. If I recall, David Pearson had to do this one night in Czech.
-Because the route times were so fast on the first two days. There were lots of riders with speeding penalties. The local cops had the radar out and would stop you on the road. I think David Pearson got clocked at 90k in a 50k zone. There were a couple of other gross violators too. Finally the local police set up a table at the impound, when you came out at night you had to stop there and give them your number so they could check to see if they had a ticket for you.
-Now for the question as to who was the only rider to not drop any penalty points on day one. John Wells comments differ from my own recollection some. I thought I had a sure answer for this, but my memory or information may not have been exact. We can’t actually know because the organizers added a 10 minute grace for all riders the following day, so many of the penalties were erased from the standings. But as I remember, and Neena concurs, Kurt Wilcox was the only American to zero day one.
Finally, a couple of comments on just how hard some of the course was. On day four there were many riders who got stuck in the mud in some of the cross tests. It was so slick that they literally could not move any further. At one point a group of us were stopped shooting the shit (in the middle of a test), trying to figure out how to get out of this little sidehill area.
The course zig-zagged along a side hill and we were stuck at the bottom of the hill. One American decided to back up down the hill a little to get a better run up, but then he could not even get back up to where we were stopped. I finally just chose a line and went up as far as I could, then jumped off the bike before it came to a stop and started pushing. I spent lots of time pushing.
On the ski hill test, the rut became so deep climbing to the top that is was almost impossible to ride. But there was traction in the bottom of the rut, far better than on the wet grass. You could not keep your feet on the peg, the rut was too deep. But you could let your feet ski along on top of the ground. We ran this test at least four times.
By the end my knees were way up over the bars, that is how deep the bike was. So I finally just sort of laid down on the bike and let my feet drag behind me. Sort of a low speed Superman. The bike was so deep that it literally could not fall over. My KTM 400exc would just chug its way up these tests without ever boiling or abusing the clutch. It was perfect for me in those conditions.