Aussie ISDE Team: Musical Chairs
Last week, less than three weeks before the 2019 FIM International Six Days’ Enduro (ISDE) is due to underway in Portugal, Team Australia made yet another change to its rider line-up. Four-time EndroGP World Champion, Matt Phillips, has been parachuted in to replace Wil Ruprecht, who was forced to withdraw from the team with ongoing health issues. This is not the first change to the Australia team line-ups. In fact, it’s the third since the Australian team was first announced six months ago. So let’s take stock of those changes in an unofficial play-by-play account of the green and gold team’s musical chairs:
- Daniel Milner withdrew from the team after announcing that he and his partner were expecting the arrival of their firstborn child shortly before the ISDE. Some questioned why Milner waited so long to make himself unavailable for the team as he’d known about his personal circumstances well before the team was first announced.
- Josh Strang was offered to take Milner’s spot on the team, but after all the 2019 team selection controversy (that played out on social media and magazines in somewhat juvenile terms), Strang declined. There were also concerns that Strang would not be able to get much support from Kawasaki over in Portugal (bear in mind that manufacturer support is one of the selection considerations for any riders nominating to be on the Aussie team).
- Fraser Higlett was then offered the position on the Trophy Team, which he readily accepted.
- Due to Wil Ruprecht’s ongoing fatigue-related health issues (which have marred his standout performance over in the EnduroGP World Championship this year), he was forced to make the agonizing decision to withdraw from the team just a couple of weeks back.
- Ruprecht’s withdrawal promoted Fraser Higlett to move from the World Trophy Team to Junior World Trophy Team, and the call-up of Matt Phillips. Phillips will be racing a KTM that, if rumours are true, the Tasmanian will be hiring for the Portugal event at mate’s rates plus a premium.
Here’s last week’s PR from Motorcycling Australia (MA), announcing Matt Phillips’ call-up to the Australian team…
With less than three weeks until 2019 FIM International Six Days’ Enduro (ISDE) in Portugal, Motorcycling Australia (MA) can confirm an adjustment to the RecoveR8 Australian World and Junior Trophy Team and rider line-up. Four-time world champion Matthew Phillips (KTM Australia and MX Store) will come into the World Trophy team and replace Wil Ruprecht, with Fraser Higlett moving to the World Junior Trophy Team.
Phillips will return to the team after last racing in the 2017 ISDE in France, when our Aussies placed as runners up to the French on home soil. Returning to Australia in 2019, Phillips competed in both the E1 and E2 class in the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC). The four-time world champion will be keen to yet again compete on the world stage, where he made a name for himself in the EnduroGP as he made a habit of winning championships. He will join the likes of Joshua Green, Daniel Sanders and Luke Styke, who will look to defend the World Trophy in which they took out in 2018 in Chile.
“I am very excited to get the call-up after a tough year with injury, with this being my seventh ISDE. It’s come at the just the right time to get a jump-start on some training ready for a big off-season,” confirmed Phillips.
“’I would like to think I have a lot to offer the team in experience and to be a great mentor to our younger riders. I am especially looking forward to being able to help out. My riding is on the improve every day and I hope to be a valuable team member on the scoreboard as well’,” added Phillips.
Our riders will depart Australia in early November with the racing kicking off on November 11. Australia will be looking to defend our 2018 amazing feats with World Trophy and Women’s Trophy teams hoping to go back-to-back in Portimao, Portugal.
2019 RecoveR8 Australian World Trophy Team:
2019 RecoveR8 Australian Women’s World Trophy Team:
2019 RecoveR8 Australian Junior World Trophy Team: