[Yamaha]

AUSSIE LADIES 2ND AT ISDE

7 months ago | Words: Matt Bernard | Photos: Motorcyling Australia

After a brutal week of competition, Team Australia – Jess Gardiner, Tayla Jones and Danielle McDonald – has finished second in the Women’s World Trophy at the 2023 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Argentina, which ran from November 6-11.

Held in searing heat and with a high rate of attrition – as well as an insatiable appetite for cold water and ice – the MXstore-backed Aussies kept America in their sights until the halfway mark before ISDE stalwart Jones (Husqvarna) was cruelly forced out of proceedings after dislocating her right shoulder in a crash late on day three.

The subsequent maximum time penalties accrued by Jones on the final three days, along with America maintaining its full roster, saw Australia lose contact and then fall into the sights of the FIM Latin America team.

However, with Latin America also losing a rider at the same time as 16-year-old rookie sensation McDonald (Yamaha) really started to hit her straps – easily winning day five and then pushing American firebrand Brandy Richards (KTM) all the way in a pulsating final motocross test – Australia easily held onto second position.

After six days of competition, Australia was nearly seven hours behind America – Richards joined by Korie Steele (KTM) and Rachel Gutish (GasGas) – with Latin America a further four hours behind.

It was America’s third win in the last four ISDEs, with the irrepressible Richards at the forefront on each occasion. And so it was again in 2023, as Richards claimed the individual honours from McDonald and Gardiner (Yamaha).

Gardiner, a six-time ISDE winner alongside Jones, was particularly at her bullocking best on day three when she moved into second position. Only a withering finish to the ISDE from McDonald saw Gardiner slip back to third – both giving their all in the absence of Jones.

In the final motocross test, which was a comparative walk in the park compared to the oppressive conditions of the preceding five days, Richards (KTM) and McDonald – whose extraordinary 2023 CV has also included victory in the Australian junior motocross title – were head and shoulders above the rest of the women’s field.

McDonald was leading before a slight hesitation passing a backmarker saw Richards pounce and take the win, but the Aussie has now well and truly announced herself on the international enduro stage.

Meanwhile, in the Junior World Trophy, France defeated America and Sweden, while the Senior World Trophy saw America claim the spoils from France and Great Britain.

Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) won outright, but only after a stirring momentum-shifting scrap with Italy’s Andrea Verona (GasGas). American Dante Oliveira (KTM) was third.

The 2024 ISDE will be held in Spain.

Jess Gardiner:
“We did it! Thank you to everyone for believing in us. What a crazy week. So proud of my teammates, and we had the best vibes the whole time. What a pleasure to be here and represent our country.”

Danielle McDonald:
“I finished up second outright and second in the world with Team Australia alongside my incredible teammates. What a bloody hard race it was. I definitely learnt a lot and enjoyed every moment of it, even through the rough days.

“It was a great honour to represent my country this year in Argentina and we gave it our all. Big thanks to the whole Team Australia crew, my family and everyone back home for all the support – we couldn’t have done it without you.”

Tayla Jones:
“In the final test of day three I had a gnarly crash, dislocating my shoulder and causing some damage. I lined up on day four, but after the first transfer I knew there was no way it would hold up and would cause more crashes. I was bummed to not be able to finish alongside my amazing teammates but I was super proud of how awesome they both rode.”

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