Irvine, Calif. (August 16, 2011) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki's Destry Abbott came out on top of the world at the 86th annual FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Kotka, Finland, returning home with a gold medal in the E2 class. Fellow Kawasaki rider Jeff Fredette also rode strong over the six grueling days finishing with a bronze medal in the C2 class. The challenging six-day race included five days of special tests and almost 1,000 miles of racing through heavy rain, mud, and a myriad of challenging outdoor obstacles. Each day the inclement weather and rough terrain would push each rider and machine to its limit. Abbott's impressive riding and ability to keep his Kawasaki KX™450F powering over the terrain throughout the week helped Team USA earn third place overall in the World Trophy class.
Gold Medal Performance
Over the course of six days, Abbott's skills as a rider and mechanic were put to the test. The first two days of the ISDE, he successfully navigated hundreds of miles over mud saturated trails, which proved to be the most challenging aspect of the competition for Abbott. In the remaining four days of competition, the trail rides became easier, but the special tests proved increasingly difficult. Abbott's impressive riding over the course of the six days earned him a gold medal in the E2 class and helped propel Team USA to the podium as well.
"It was raining so much, it was one of the muddiest races I have ever experienced," said Abbott. "The first day of competition the weather was good and I got to ride with my fellow teammates, which was nice. After the first day the weather deteriorated and it poured rain for the next four days. On the second day I hit a tree at speed and cart-wheeled off the bike. I jumped back on my KX450F, which started right back up, and finished the test despite some bumps and bruises. On day three I got stuck in a huge, muddy rut which took a couple minutes to escape, but I was finally able to free myself and finish the day. By Day 6 we had the final moto where I got a third-place start, but a guy went down in front of me which slowed me down and knocked me to the back of the pack. I worked my way back up through the field to finish 10th in the E2 class and 19th overall. This is my sixth gold medal from the ISDE, but it was one of the toughest six-days I've ridden in my life."
Despite getting a late start on Day 1 due to lost luggage at the airport, Fredette continued to prove his world class skill as both a rider and mechanic completing the brutal six-day event with a bronze medal in the C2 class. Over the last three decades, Fredette has earned a total of 31 medals from the ISDE, more than anyone else in the world.
"In terms of difficulty, this ISDE definitely ranks in the top four most difficult of all time," said Fredette. "After the first day's complications due to the airline losing my luggage, the rest of the week went fairly incident free. It rained almost every day so the course was pretty taxing, both on the rider due to the deteriorating track and the bike due to wear on the chain, sprocket, and brakes. In my opinion, the rock garden test was the toughest of them all. It was a half-mile long trail ride through a boulder field that forced you to trials ride, which was really draining. As the rain and traffic continued eroding the course, softball sized rocks kept appearing out of the dirt. Overall it was a pretty tough event, but my KX450F carried me through the worst of it and powered through the muddy, wet conditions all six days with no real mechanical issues."
Put to the Test
A big part of the ISDE competition entails special skills tests which are incorporated into miles of trail riding each day. Typically riders would complete in each special test twice in the course of each day. Each of the individual special tests featured different types of terrain from deep sand to boulder fields.
Fredette skillfully navigated through the first special test which featured deep sand for miles. Despite getting a late start on the first day of competition, Fredette excelled in the difficult conditions eventually working his way into medal contention.
The Rock Garden
One of the most difficult tests came on Day 2, a half-mile long trek through a slippery boulder field known as the Rock Garden. Kawasaki rider Fred Hoess navigated his way through this slippery and rocky test with skillful precision on his KX450F, continuing on to earn his 17th ISDE gold medal.
Ski Slope Test
Abbott navigated the mud drenched "ski slope" test with expert precision. By Day 3 the ground was completely saturated with water, making the test even more taxing on riders. This test would later be bypassed due to rain making it unrideable in the lower sections.
Fredette tore through the "tank test", which earned the name because of an old World War II German battle tank that sat down the road at a museum. The museum explains the history of the Salpalinja Line, a defensive network of bunkers, trenches and large rocks that served as anti-tank barriers. It apparently served its purpose as the Finns were never attacked from the East after constructing it.
European ISDE races always include riding through urban areas. This year the urban portion of the course was right after the start and continued over a few miles of pavement before riders hit the forests outside of town. Even after four days of pounding rain, Abbott gave a friendly wave as he cruises through the streets of Kotka.
86th FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE)
August 8-13, 2011
World Trophy Championship