Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia has claimed overall individual victory at the 96th edition of the FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE). Riding his KTM 350 EXC-F, the reigning Enduro2 World Champion topped three of the five days at the event before delivering a strong runner-up performance in the final motocross test to take the win by close to one minute. The result marks the young Spaniard’s second consecutive overall victory at the event, following his success in 2021.
Taking place in Le Puy-En-Velay, France, the 96th edition of the world’s most iconic enduro event got underway with riders facing fast, dusty tests that soon became a lot rougher and cut up following the passing of some 560 riders from 32 different nations. Days one and two saw riders tackle the same loop, with each day comprising five special tests ridden against the clock. Days three and four shared a second loop, with Friday delivering new terrain and another 200-kilometer route, testing the weary competitors to their limits. As per ISDE tradition, a final motocross test saw riders race head-to-head before reaching the event’s checkered flag.
Josep Garcia made the absolute best possible start to his individual title defense by not only winning day one, but posting the fastest time on all five special tests. Garcia all but repeated that feat on day two, winning four tests and coming second in the other. At the close of the second day, the KTM 350 EXC-F rider had already built a 45-second lead over his nearest rival.
Day three didn’t start in the best way for Josep, tangling with a tree in the very first test resulted in an open wound in his left arm. Despite the injury, he was still able to clock the second-quickest time for the test and carried on regardless. An unrelated crash in the fifth and final test cost Garcia the 10 seconds he needed to win his third day in a row, and as a result, he had to settle for second.
Back to his best on day four, Garcia went fastest in all five tests, increasing his overall lead in the individual standings. An impressive ride on day five saw him top all but one of the tests, narrowly missing out on another day win by a mere 0.04 seconds!
Entering Saturday’s final motocross test, Josep enjoyed a near one-minute advantage over his rivals. A strong start saw the 25-year-old get out in front where he stayed until lap five when a small mistake saw him drop down to second. Fighting hard for the remaining laps, Josep narrowed the gap to the leader but settled for second, safely crossing the line to secure his second consecutive individual overall ISDE win.
Josep Garcia: “It feels amazing to get the win at the Six Days again. My week has been amazing! I came into this year’s event with the goal of giving my all on every single day and trying to make a bit of a gap before the final day. I wasn’t able to win every day and it’s true I didn’t ride a completely faultless race – I did make a couple of mistakes including injuring my arm on day three – but I stayed focused and managed to finish on Friday around one minute ahead. With the Six Days you can’t take anything for granted so I knew I still had to have a good motocross race to take the win. After a great start I got out in front and knew I just had stay there without making any mistakes to get the win. I had a small crash in one of the corners and that cost me the lead, but I was able to get going and finish second. It also feels great to get on the World Trophy podium with Team Spain, we had such a good team this year, and everyone has worked so hard. Of course its disappointing to miss out on second by just half a second after such a tough week, but the important thing is we gave 100% every day and we’ll be back next year to fight for the win.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell delivered a solid Six Days performance. Riding for Team USA as well as joining Garcia in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Manufacturer’s team, the eight-time GNCC National Champion regularly placed inside the top 15 throughout the event.
Joining Russell in Team USA, FMF KTM riders Josh Toth and Dante Oliveira both successfully completed the full six days of racing despite a couple of crashes and technical issues hindering their results. Oliveira, despite having an up-and-down event, showed incredible pace in several tests, securing four top-three results including a win on day two’s first test. Team USA would ultimately finish fifth overall in the World Trophy competition.
KTM-supported Brandy Richards was unstoppable on days one through three, winning every single test and helping to lead the United States’ Women’s team to a four-minute advantage at the event’s halfway point. After a heavy crash on day four, the 2021 Women’s Champion attempted to carry on, but after consulting with the medical staff, it was decided she would sit out the remainder of the week. Richards’ departure unfortunately forced the American women to withdraw from the team competition.
Other KTM riders of note were Spain’s Jaume Betriu, who joined Garcia in helping Team Spain to third place in the World Trophy, and Frenchman Hugo Blanjoue who went from strength to strength on home soil to ultimately finish as sixth fastest in the individual rankings.
In the Manufacturer’s Team Award, KTM teams placed first and third, with Garcia, joined by Kailub Russell and Dante Oliveira, taking the win. The second team of Jaume Betriu, Josh Toth, and Hugo Blanjoue finished in third.
The FIM International Six Days of Enduro moves on to Argentina for 2023, where the event will celebrate its 97th edition.
Results – FIM International Six Days Enduro 2022
Overall individual classification
1. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 3:06:53.91
2. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 3:07:51.98
3. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 3:09:53.18
4. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 3:10:47.16
5. Zach Pichon (FRA), Sherco, 3:11:46.04
6. Hugo Blanjoue (FRA), KTM, 3:12:16.10
7. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 3:13:19.88
1. Andrea Verona (ITA), GASGAS, 3:07:51.98
2. Zach Pichon (FRA), Sherco, 3:11:46.04
3. Jamie McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna, 3:13:39.99
4. Daniel Milner (AUS), Fantic, 3:14:14.45
5. Thomas Oldrati (ITA), Honda, 3:14:24.22
1. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 3:06:53.91
2. Nathan Watson (GBR), Honda, 3:09:53.18
3. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta, 3:10:47.16
4. Hugo Blanjoue (FRA), KTM, 3:12:16.10
5. Albin Elowson (SWE), Husqvarna, 3:14:11.94
1. Mikael Persson (SWE), Husqvarna, 3:12:34.13
2. Jaume Betriu (ESP), KTM, 3:13:19.88
3. Leo Le Quere (FRA), Sherco, 3:13:58.12
4. Max Ahlin (SWE), Beta, 3:16:25.13
5. Marc Sans (ESP), Husqvarna, 3:16:52.57
1. Jane Daniels (GBR), Fantic, 3:39:31.05
2. Korie Steed (USA), KTM, 3:41:50.89
3. Mireia Badia (ESP), Rieju, 3:42:06.61
4. Shelby Turner (CAN), KTM, 3:43:23.70
5. Jessica Gardiner (AUS), Yamaha, 3:44:49.93
7. Rosie Rowett (GBR), KTM, 3:48:40.15
8. Justine Martel (FRA), KTM, 3:49:42.43
World Trophy Team
1. Great Britain (Holcombe, Watson, Etchells, McCanney)
2. Italy (Verona, Oldrati, Salvini, Bernardini)
3. Spain (Garcia, Betriu, Sans, Guerrero)
Junior World Trophy
1. Italy (Lesiardo, Rinaldi, Spanu)
2. Finland (Haljala, Puhakainen, Kytonen)
3. Australia (Bacon, McMahon, Hollis)
Women’s World Trophy
1. Great Britain (Holmes, Daniels, Rowett)
2. France (Lemoine, Chaplot, Martel)
3. Australia (Gardiner, Karlsson, Nielsen)
Manufacturer’s Team Award
1. Red Bull KTM (Garcia, Russell, Oliveira)
2. Honda (Oldrati, Watson, Kytonen)
3. KTM (Betriu, Toth, Blanjoue)