While most of the focus typically goes on the performances of the official World Trophy and Junior World Trophy teams at the International Six Days Enduro, the “club riders” also deserve a share of the spotlight.
New Zealand riders performed with distinction at the 2022 ISDE competition that just wrapped up at Le Puy-En-Velay, in southern France, with the NZ World Trophy Team finishing 16th overall and the Junior World Trophy Team (under-23) clinching 7th overall.
But the club riders from New Zealand were also impressive.
Rangiora’s Ben Dando, Helensville’s Josh Jack and Waitoki’s Ben Cottrill (pictured above, left to right) tackled the ISDE as “club riders” – forming the Motorcycling New Zealand Club Team – and they finished 15th overall in the club teams’ classification.
Jack, in particular, was outstanding, winning an ISDE gold medal at his first attempt.
It probably should not have come as too much of a surprise, seeing as he finished overall runner-up (behind Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury) in the New Zealand Enduro Championships earlier this season.
And Jack has never been renowned (until now that is) as an enduro rider at all, the Kawasaki rider typically more at home on a motocross track or cross-country course.
And Jack didn’t even ride his beloved Kawasaki KX450F at the ISDE in France, instead renting a KTM for the week.
So it’s perhaps a little baffling and outstanding too that he should not only help his team to 15th overall in the club classification at the ISDE, but also that he should win an individual gold medal and wind up as New Zealand’s second-best individual at the event.
Oparau’s James Scott (Honda) was best Kiwi overall, the Junior World Trophy Team rider finishing seventh in his grade (and seventh in his JE1 class), while Jack finished 13th in his grade (and sixth in his C1 class).
Scott’s overall elapsed time for the event was three hours 21 minutes and 46 seconds, while Jack was just two seconds behind (after six days of brutal racing!), clocking a time of 3h 21m 48s (see table below).
“What an amazing week it was racing the ISDE,” said Jack.
“I learned so much and met some amazing people along the way. I ended up coming 13th overall (individually) in club class, out of 368 riders, and our team ended up 15th and I got the gold medal that I was aiming for.
“A huge thanks to the support we got as riders from everyone coming over from new Zealand, as it was a massive unknown, but we all nailed it and everything went as planned. Thanks to everyone that supported me getting there … bring on another one.”
Of the more than 380 riders entered in this club rider class, Jack finished with an individual ranking of 13th, Dando was placed 58th and earned a silver medal, while Cottrill claimed 131st position overall and also earned silver.
Dando has put in the hard yards over recent years, travelling up from the south to compete at North Island events on a regular basis, and the depth of domestic competition he faced has truly helped set him up for the rigors of an ISDE.
“The ISDE was so much fun and such a cool experience,” Dando said.
“At the start it seemed like it was going to take forever, but it went so quickly. I managed 58th overall in my category and 24th in class.
“My team-mates were awesome – Josh Jack and Ben Cottrill (rubberman) – and I had a blast with these guys. Thanks heaps!
“Well done to all the New Zealand boys that went over. The boys did well. Days one-to-five were between 260-280 kilometres per day … seven-and-a-half hours of riding … and the temperatures were 24-30 degrees, except for the afternoon of day two, when it rained and hailed and the track became a river.
“Day five was a really good day … my best day on the bike, when I put in my fastest times in the last two tests.
“In the final moto on Saturday, I struggled to get a good flow, but I held my place.”
Two other Kiwis, Dan Watson and Wil Drummond, joined up with an Australian rider, Scott Noble, to form another club team – Team ANZAC – and they finished 85th overall within the club team classification.
With the 96th edition of the ISDE now wrapped up in France, attention will next turn to the 97th edition in San Juan, Argentina, in November 2023.
The 2022 New Zealand ISDE team was supported by Motorcycling New Zealand, Ward Demolition, New Plymouth Underwater, Macaulay Metals, SignBiz, MJH Engineering and MotoMuck.
© Words and Josh Jack photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Club team photo courtesy FIM
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