Held in the Lombardy and Piedmont regions of northern Italy, the 2021 ISDE challenged well over 600 riders with five days of dry and dusty special test racing, followed by the traditional final day motocross races. Hot weather greeted riders right from the start of the event with tests becoming tougher, and dustier, as the competition progressed.
Finding the demanding conditions and fast tests very much to his liking, Josep Garcia immediately laid down the gauntlet to his rivals, going quickest overall on the opening day before repeating the feat on day two with an even greater advantage. It was soon clear that the fight for the overall would be fought between Garcia and Italy’s Andrea Verona, with the pair topping the majority of special tests.
Taking his third consecutive day win on Wednesday, a hard crash on Thursday resulted in Josep completing the day as second-fastest, albeit just three seconds down on Verona. With the positions reversed again on day five with Josep finishing fastest by close to 20 seconds, the KTM 350 EXC-F rider went into the final motocross on Saturday with a healthy lead in both the overall and the Enduro2 categories.
Riding to ensure a safe finish, yet still wanting to put on a show for the hundreds of fans lining the track, Garcia got a good start in the final motocross before fighting his way through to second place. Unable to catch and pass Team USA’s Dante Oliveira, Josep’s runner-up result on the final day secured his win in both the Enduro2 class and saw him complete the event as the overall fastest rider, also helping Spain to their runner-up result in the World Trophy category.
Josep Garcia:“I’m really happy, it’s a dream come true to win the Six Days overall. Thanks to all my team and KTM for giving me the opportunity to do this. It’s been a really tough week, as I knew it would be tight at the top of the standings and you are forced to focus 100 percent the whole time. The days are very long too with many hours on the bike. My crash on day four thankfully didn’t cost me too much time, and I came out of it ok physically. I’m really pleased with my week and my bike has been perfect. Winning four of the five full days is great and I think I only had three falls over the whole week. Sadly, we didn’t quite manage to take the win in the World Trophy, but the team gave their all and to finish as runner-up is really good. It’s been an incredible event for me.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Taylor Robert enjoyed a solid Six Days but having only returned to riding just days before travelling to Europe, the former overall ISDE winner wasn’t at his very best. Nevertheless, finishing each of the five full days of racing second in the E2 class behind Garcia, Robert skillfully steered his KTM 450 XC-F to a runner-up finish in Enduro2. Robert also led Team USA to a third-place finish in the World Trophy classification.
Taylor Robert:“I’m not exactly where I wanted to be this week, obviously I wanted to compete for the overall again, but I was a little off the pace. I had only managed four days of riding before I jumped on the plane to come to Italy after breaking my collar bone and being off the bike for six weeks. I’m happy with how I rode and put in some good, consistent days, it just wasn’t quite enough to fight with the top guys. In the World Trophy we’ve finished third, which is great, especially with a couple of younger, less experienced riders in the team. We’ve definitely learned a lot and have some things we can work on for next year. All-in-all it’s been a great event, very tough, but I’ve enjoyed it.”
Dominating the Women’s category, KTM-supported Brandy Richards went fastest on day one by close to two minutes and didn’t look back, extending her lead each and every day from then on. Comfortable on the fast, dry tests, the KTM 350 XC-F rider helped to give her USA Women’s World Trophy team a near 14-minute advantage going into the sixth day’s motocross races. Completing her 2021 ISDE with a clear win in the final moto, Richards cemented her place at the top of the Women’s class and secured Team USA the Women’s World Trophy title.
Brandy Richards:“I’m absolutely stoked for myself and the team here in Italy. My goals coming here were to take the overall in the Women’s class and keep Team USA at the top of the Women’s World Trophy competition and I’ve done both. There are so many fast, skillful riders here so to be inside the top 100 overall is a massive achievement for me, also. It’s been a tough week, but with the tests not being too technical, the riding has suited me perfectly.”
Other KTM riders of note were Sweden’s Mikael Persson who claimed second in the E1 class, and Spain’s Jaume Betriu who aided his country to second place in the World Trophy competition by finishing third in E3.
In the Manufacturer’s Team Award, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing took the win thanks to the efforts of Josep Garcia, Taylor Robert, and the USA’s junior rider Dante Oliveira, who placed an excellent third overall in the Enduro2 class.