[3 Prized Possessions]

3 Prized Possessions: Daniel Sanders

1 month ago | Words: Andy Wigan, Kurt Teague | Photos: Lee Popowski Images

It’s almost as if Daniel Sanders was born to race the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). In 2015, in just his first year in the Pro ranks of the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) – where he ran second to teammate Toby Price in the E3 class – Sanders put the enduro world on notice at the Slovakian ISDE by winning the E3 class. He also ran an incredible fourth Outright at that international event and was a key part of Australia’s winning Junior team. The following year, at just 22 years of age, Sanders became the AORC’s youngest ever Outright champion, before going on to win the E3 class at the French ISDE and finishing second Outright. At the 2018 ISDE in Chile, he finished third Outright and was a proud member of Australia’s winning World Trophy team. Then in 2019, after notching up his second Outright AORC title in dominant fashion on home soil, Sanders finally nabbed the international prize he’d coveted for years: the Outright win at the Portuguese ISDE. He was a world champion!

So it’s little wonder that, when we checked-in with the rising off-road superstar back in early 2016 for a 3 Prized Possessions article, ISDE items accounted for two of Sanders’ three most prized possessions. It said a lot about how much the ISDE meant to the then 22-year-old, whose ISDE career since has been nothing short of astonishing:

  • 2015 (Slovakia) – 1st in the E3 class and 4th Outright, and part of the winning Australian Junior World Trophy team.
  • 2016 (Spain) – 1st in the E3 class and 2nd Outright.
  • 2017 (France) – 3rd in the E3 class and 15th Outright.
  • 2018 (Chile) – 2nd in the E3 class and 3rd Outright, and part of the winning Australian World Trophy team.
  • 2019 (Portugal) – 1st the E3 class and 1st Outright.

Daniel “Chucky” Sanders was one of the standout performers at the 2015 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Košice, Slovakia. The 21-year-old from Three Bridges in Victoria topped the Enduro3 class, finished fourth Outright and led the way for Team Australia to capture the FIM Junior World Trophy win – an impressive outcome for a young man who is only just starting to make a name for himself on the world stage. Since the 2015 ISDE, the 2014 Australian Off-Road Championship’s Transmoto 19 & Under class winner has gone on to contest FIM Enduro World Championship rounds, and he’s still just getting warmed up.

This hotshot didn’t always have dirt bikes in his sights, though. Growing up, Chucky spent the majority of his time playing various ball sports and helping out his parents at his family’s beloved apple orchard. It wasn’t until he turned 13 that he started racing dirt bikes, and began to slowly forge a career out of it. With a bright future ahead of him, we decided to head down to Sanders’ place before his poolroom begins to overflow too much, and find out what he holds closest to his heart.

1. Grandpa’s Tractor

It’s a John Deere 1020 tractor that my grandfather purchased some time back in the 1950s for our family’s apple orchard in Three Bridges, Victoria. He worked hard to develop the farm into what it is now, so it’s nice to have something special like this tractor to remember him by. While my grandfather used the thing to build up the family business, we mostly use it these days for towing ourselves out of mud when we get bogged. Yep, it still runs and it’s still useful.

2. ISDE Jersey

It was an honour and a privilege to represent Australia at the International Six Days Enduro in 2014 (Argentina) and 2015 (Slovakia). As an aspiring racer, I dreamed of competing overseas at a professional level. This year, rocking my green and gold jersey, I was able to lead my teammates – Tom Mason, Broc Grabham and Tye Simmonds; who were all ISDE debutants – to a win in the FIM Junior World Trophy division, and we all took home Gold medals for our efforts.

3. ISDE Trophies

Heading into this year’s ISDE in Košice, I had no expectations. Last year, I finished 21st Outright, and all I really wanted to try and do this year was finish within the top 15. Somehow, I won the Enduro3 class and finished fourth Outright, which is something that I am incredibly proud of. Having my mum and dad overseas with me, and all of the Aussie riders and fans behind me, cheering me on, was enough to get me over the line. It’s a victory that I will treasure forever.

NOTE: This content originally appeared in Issue #54 of Transmoto Dirt Bike Magazine in early 2016.

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