The American Motorcyclist Association has announced the U.S. World Trophy Team and U.S. Junior Trophy Team for the 90th International Six Days Enduro in Kosice, Slovakia, Sept. 7-12.
Leading the U.S. effort on the World Trophy Team will be Mike Brown, Thad Duvall, Taylor Robert and Kailub Russell, Ryan Sipes and Gary Sutherlin. Brown will serve as team captain.
The U.S. Junior Trophy Team will include Grant Baylor, Steward Baylor, Justin Jones and Layne Michael.
“The ISDE is one of the most historic and prestigious motorsports events in the world, and we’re honored to compete against the world’s best,” said AMA Director of Racing Bill Cumbow. “We’re appreciative of the support this effort receives from the industry, and we’re confident that the United States is sending the right team to get the job done in 2015, from the riders to team management to the support crew.”
Antti Kallonen, KTM North America’s off-road racing manager, will manage the U.S. ISDE team.
“I’m happy once again to be able to assemble a group of fast riders for both the World Trophy and Junior Trophy teams,” Kallonen said. “This year’s event being held on European soil is going to make it little harder competition for us than last year’s event but our goals haven’t changed and we are aiming to get on the top step with the Trophy team.”
The 2014 ISDE in Argentina was one of the best for the U.S. team. The U.S. Junior Trophy Team won its division for the third time in event history, while the U.S. Trophy Team finished second last year. The United States has never won the Trophy division, although it also finished second in 1982 and 2013.
Kallonen said that despite a location that may provide some European teams a home-track advantage in 2015, he’s confident the U.S. riders are up to the challenge.
“Mike, our captain, is in winning form here in the States and his experience will help and guide our entire team,” Kallonen said. “Kailub, who was the top American in 2014, is making a move to the E1 class this year, and our expectations are high with him, hoping he can battle for the overall win.”
Kallonen said that the Slovakian conditions and terrain will be familiar to riders in the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series, an AMA National Championship. Russell is the defending GNCC overall champion and is undefeated in 2015 GNCC competition.
“Other GNCC racers joining Kailub on the Trophy Team are Duvall and Sipes,” Kallonen said. “Thad has posted consistent top-three results this year and knows what it takes at Six Days to get the job done. Sipes is a new addition to our Trophy team. His improved results and his sprint speed caught my attention this year, and I feel he is a good fit for the team. Gary is used to more West Coast conditions, but his pure speed and determination are impressive, and he will adapt quickly to the terrain in Slovakia. Our sixth rider, Taylor, is returning to race the E3 class and is looking for redemption from last year’s ISDE, where a small issue took him out of the overall win contention.”
Kallonen has brought a significant amount of talent back from the championship-winning U.S. Junior Team, so his expectations are understandably high for this year.
“Three of the last year’s winning riders are returning to the team again, and our goal is simple: Repeat our championship,” he said. “Justin, who was the team’s carrying force last year, is returning to defend his championship. His pure sprint speed is going to play key role in the results. The Baylor brothers, Steward and Grant, are both as fast as ever, and the terrain in Slovakia should suit them very well. A new addition to our Six Days program is Layne Michael. He is a very fast sprinter and, like the Baylors, is comfortable on terrain similar to Slovakia’s.”
Kallonen added that the U.S. team has a summer of preparation planned to head into the 2015 event ready to race for international glory at the world’s premier off-road competition.
Brown races for Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing and will ride a Husqvarna FE501 at the ISDE. Duvall is a member of the KR4 Husqvarna team and will ride a Husqvarna FE350. FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Robert will ride a KTM 500XC-W. Russell, also an FMF KTM Factory Racing member, will ride a KTM 250XC-F. Rockstar Husqvarna’s Sipes will ride a Husqvarna FE350. Sutherlin, an FMF KTM Factory Racing supported rider, will ride a KTM 450XC-F.
Junior Team member Grant Baylor, who rides for AmPro Yamaha, will race a YZ450F. Steward Baylor, who is KTM supported, will ride a KTM 450XC-F. Honda-backed Jones will ride a Honda CRF450R, and Michael will ride a Honda CRF250R at the ISDE.
Three premier teams represent the United States at the ISDE. In addition to the six-member World Trophy Team and the Junior Trophy Team, which includes four riders younger than 23 years old, the U.S. fields a Women’s Trophy Team at the event. Several club team members also represent the United States at Six Days.
The AMA will announce the full contingent of U.S. riders following qualifier rounds May 2-3 in Newburg, W.Va., and May 30-31 in Idaho City, Idaho.