Australia’s Junior and Women’s ISDE teams both stood on the podium at the end of the Six Day International off road event with a third-place finish respectively, anchored by impressive individual performances by Yamaha mounted riders.The Junior Trophy team consisting of Kyron Bacon (Yamaha), Blake Hollis (Yamaha) and Kory McMahon (GASGAS) finished the event in third after a gruelling six days of competition. The team were always in contention from a podium finish right from the get-go and kept in the fight right to the end to snare the final podium spot in a rewarding week for the three riders.
Bacon led the charge finishing an incredible third in the JSE1 class, fifth in JWT and 26th outright for the event on board his 250cc machine. Bacon has been nothing short of sensational in the 2022 season, winning the Australian Four Day Enduro, currenting leading the Australian Off-Road Championship and now a podium result at the most prestigious off road event in the world.
The 2022 ISDE was Bacon’s first attempt at the event and the experience gained will hold not only him, but the Australian team in good stead as he know has better knowledge of how the event is run and the skills required to compete on the world stage.
“That was pretty tough,” Bacon said not long after the finish. “Six long days on a bike, all done at close to race pace throughout on challenging and tricky trails and tests makes it super draining and such a hard event to contest.
“Each day presented another challenge as the tests were dry and dusty, then become rough and rocky so you really had to be on your game and stay focused. But being a team event, it’s awesome to have the support of everyone around you who help and offer assistance and I’m stoked to be able to stand on the podium with Blake and Kory to finish third.
“Thank you to Joakim and Yamaha Europe for this assistance during the event as well as AJ and everyone at Yamaha Australia who always support us. Also, thanks to Motorcycling Australia and the team sponsors who invested in us. It was a great event and I look forward to doing many more of these in the years to come.”
Blake Hollis also was on debut at the 2022 ISDE and proved to be a consistent and reliable anchor man for the team, coming home in eighth in JSE1, 12th pace in JWT and 56th Outright. Hollis battled some sickness during the week but continued to front up each and every day giving his all and helped his team mates to the podium result.
Hollis also gained plenty of experience from the event and believes that it will do him good both domestically as well as the next time he competes at the ISDE.
“It’s pretty cool to be racing against the best off riders in the world and I got to watch and learn from them first hand. None of us in the junior team have had much international experience, so I think we learned a lot and worked well together to get a good result.
“We had a lot of people here supporting us, some of them volunteers who just wanted to be a part of it, so I’m thankful to them as well as everyone on the team and Yamaha. I would love to come back and do this event again as I think I can prepare better and achieve a better result, so I hope to get back and give another one a crack in the future.”
Jess Gardiner led the Women’s team to another podium result at the ISDE. Gardiner, an experienced campaigner who already has six ISDE gold medals to her name, can now add a bronze as the team of Gardiner, Emilie Karlsson and Ebony Nelson finished third in 2022.
For Gardiner, she found this one a challenge as conditions were tough and the riding long, but the ever determined rider she is enabled her to charge all the way to the finish and take fourth in individual honours and lead Australia to a third place finish.
“We had a bit of everything thrown at us this week, from dust to rocks and some rain here and there so it was a tough event and the tests were used several times so it was also rough. The girls did a great job, and I can’t thank them enough for giving it their best every day and I’m proud to be standing on the podium with them this week after some a gruelling event.”
The only blemish during the event was the forced retirement of Josh Green. Green was riding well and consistently posting good times in the opening days of competition but on day four fell on rocks and severely injured his hand and fingers.
The injury meant Green had to go to hospital as a nasty gash and cuts required clean up surgery and some wires placed to secure and stabilize his hand. Green spent the last two days cheering on his teammates.
“It’s a disappointing way to finish the event and I feel bad for letting the senior team down. Daniel, Todd, Andy and myself were all battling away and trying to get towards a podium but that all went out the window when myself and Todd went down with injury.
“I’m gutted that I couldn’t help my teammates to the end.
“Doing an event like this is a huge effort from so many people. The work that goes on behind the scenes is massive, so a huge thank you to everyone who has had a handing in helping team Australia in all divisions. We all worked well as a team and it would have been awesome for everyone of us to be on the podium at the end, but it wasn’t to be,” Green ends.