Racing News - Chris Carter Returns to Europe and the ISDENov 6, 2013
Motion Pro has its roots in racing. No kidding- Chris Carter, the founder of Motion Pro, was a Yamaha factory supported development rider and racer in the ‘70’s. During that time, he competed in the ISDT (International Six Days Trials), the most grueling off road competition in the world. It is a team event, with many nations sending their best racers to compete for medals and national glory. Riders are not allowed any outside assistance during the event, so in addition to riding races and tests over a six day period, all of the repairs and maintenance are up to the rider as well, and the times allowed for working on your bike are severely restricted. This not only means you have to be a good rider, to score points against the best competitors in the world, but you have to be competent and experienced enough to keep your bike running through the event.
Chris competed at the Isle of Man in 1975, on a prototype IT 400 and was the only rider to finish the event on a Japanese motorcycle. In 1976, the ISDT was held in Austria, and Chris earned a gold medal that year, remaining on near perfect scores throughout the event. He won the final motocross special test, the only American to do it that year. In 1977, the ISDT moved to Czechoslovakia. Chris was on Gold up to the 5th day. The organizers raised the speed average for the last day and as the race got into the second hour the weather changed. Rain came down in an unbelievable down pour and it kept up all day. Because of the fast pace and poor conditions over half of the field that was still running was eliminated (160riders) and unfortunately Chris houred out by just one minute at the last check point of the day.
Now, nearly 40 years later, Chris is the leader of one of the most successful aftermarket motorcycle companies in the world, and decided to return to Europe to check out the modern version of the race, now called the ISDE (International Six Days Enduro) The 2013 version of the race was held in Sardinia, Italy, with riders from all over the world converging to see who and what country would emerge victorious in this prestigious event. While the basic format of the race has remained the same, there have been changes over the years, not to mention the huge changes in motorcycle technology. Would Chris find the event similar to his experience? Or would the race be something completely different? Let’s see what Chris has to say…
The last time I attended The Six Days was in 1994 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event has only been held in United States twice, first in 1973 and then 1994.
The trip to Sardinia this summer was amazing. Wow, how things have changed! Back in the old days, the racers had very limited outside assistance that they could legally receive. Under the current Six Days rules I was amazed at how much support riders receive. Many tools, including power tools, are available for all competitors, tire change stands can be used, and riders can even get assistance to change their motor oil and many more things that were illegal in the old days. In the past, riders and teams had to be very creative to keep machines going if they wanted to continue. There was a certain saying that it wasn’t cheating unless you got caught. Another big factor is that the bikes are so much improved that very little maintenance is actually needed.
There were so many more entries this year (over 600 riders!), back when I was racing we were limited to approximately 300. Additionally, the courses we used to race on were not so limited on terrain as this year's event. In Sardinia, the racers traveled the same sections as many as six times so the courses were very rough. The race itself has definitely changed in a number of ways; more emphasis is on the special test and less on rider endurance and bike maintenance.
Don't get me wrong, it is still a very tough race and I commend everyone that makes it to the Six Days and is able to finish. I do not think the achievement of simply finishing is changed as the key point of the event. The American Trophy team did great, finishing second overall in the world, keep in mind the Europeans definitely have a home-court advantage over there. That may change this next year, the event is moving to Argentina and it will be very difficult for the European countries to practice there prior to the event.
I do have to say that the Italians know how to throw a race and party, this was the 100 year anniversary of the Six Days, the first event was held in England in 1913 and while it has definitely changed, it is still fantastic event. There so much camaraderie between all of the participants and the fans attending this event. I renewed friendships with folks that I have not seen in years. I cannot tell you how much fun I had visiting and watching the riders from all the different countries.
Granted many things have changed but I think this is still the best off road motorcycle race that happens each year.
It seems like it was a great trip, Chris!
We would also like to mention that Motion Pro is the official tool sponsor for the American World Trophy and Junior World Trophy Team’s, and we also support many of the individual Trophy, Junior and Club team members in all their racing activities every year. Motion Pro is proud to support the ISDE, the “Olympics” of offroad motorcycle racing, continuing the legacy laid down by our owner and president Chris Carter.
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