88TH INTERNATIONAL SIX DAYS ENDURO
Of the six members on the U.S. World Trophy team competing on the island of Sardinia, Italy, only Mike
Brown was alive the first—and last—time that Team USA
finished second in the most prestigious category of the
venerable International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). That happened in what was formerly Czechoslovakia in 1982 when
“Brownie” was 10. Kurt Caselli, the second-oldest member of the team, wasn’t born until the following year.
That race in the old Eastern bloc nation couldn’t have
been more different from the 88th running of the oldest
off-road world championship. Determined to eliminate
the weak, the Czechs made it tough almost from the
word “go!” One particularly difficult climb in the early
going caught many off guard and resulted in lots of late
points assessed. Later in the week, rain predictably
turned the clay into a giant slip-and-slide; you had to be
very, very good to stay on time in those conditions on
such a hilly obstacle course. It was simply a survival run
But, like the Czechs (and East Germans), the Americans
happened to be excellent mudders, with most of the team
comprised of Eastern enduro racers who’d ridden many
miles in slimy southern Ohio or Georgia—guys like Terry
Cunningham, Mark Hyde, Ed Lojak, Mike Melton and
Wally Wilson, along with desert ace Scot Harden.
Most important, none were quitters.
MAKES SOME HISTORY
By Mark Kariya
That turned out to be the most significant factor on the
fifth day of the grueling event. The rain (and touches of
snow in the higher elevations) made it a test of wills to
simply keep going. Nearly 70 of the 241 riders DNF’d on
day four. Among them, unfortunately, was Wilson, who’d
battled various problems throughout the week. The final
blow was a gashed arm that required stitches from a trail-side medical station; he houred out in the process.
At that time, all six scores counted for World Trophy teams,
so having every rider finish was critical, and the U.S. found
itself in third behind Czechoslovakia and West Germany.
As day five wore on, however, two West Germans and a
Czech DNF’d, putting the U.S. second behind the hosts.
And, improbably, one of the remaining Czech riders found
himself facing two protests that the jury would decide on
that night. If either protest was upheld and the rider DQ’d,
the decision would essentially hand the win to the U.S.
World Trophy team.
Unfortunately, it was not to be for the American underdogs. (The voting ended in a 7-7 tie, with the tie-breaking
Though he’s spent several seasons in Europe racing MX GPs
and did a few GNCCs to justify consideration for a spot on Team
USA’s World Trophy team, the ISDE was motocrosser Zach
Osborne’s introduction to racing enduros. He adapted quickly,
posted excellent test times, and capped it off by winning the E1
moto on the final day to seal second place for the team.