KTM in Portugal to celebrate the annual ISDE
No less that 500 riders from 24 nations return to Portugal ten years after the ISDE was last hosted here at Coimbra to underline that this event, the longest-running offroad event in motorcycle racing, remains the most popular and spectacular annual gathering of Enduro enthusiasts.
Olympics of Enduro
|Samuli Aro onboard for Finland and KTM at ISDE|
After a hard fought outdoor season fighting against the elements and tough, challenging courses, the KTM factory riders now join their national teams to see who will emerge as the dominant country in 2009. As well as the big Enduro nations like Finland and Italy, teams have also travelled from as far away as Argentina and Australia for the event that is often called the "Olympics of Enduro". ISDE riders are called upon to go far beyond simply being the best on one exhausting day to prove they are consistently good over a gruelling six days of competition. The winner is rewarded with much more than just the trophy; it comes with peer group recognition and admiration from professional and amateur riders who all understand how tough it is to cross the line in first place when riding in the ISDE.
KTM Factory riders reinforce national teams
|Albergoni riding for Italy and KTM|
Regrettably, while this year it is not possible for KTM's popular factory riders 2009 E3 World Champion Ivan Cervantes of Spain and 2009 E2 Johnny Aubert of France to face off against their toughest opponents, the field is still rich with top talent from the Austrian sports motorcycle specialists. Simone Albergoni and Alessandro Belometti are onboard their KTM 250 EXC machines fighting for Italy and Eero Remes and Samuli Aro are riding KTM 250 EXC and 300 EXC bikes respectively for a strong Finnish line-up. KTM-supported rider Markus Kehr riders a KTM 300 EXC for Germany, Shane Watts tackles the Six Days on a KTM 250 EXC for Australia the while the USA team are on the charge with KTM riders Kurt Caselli and Nathan Kanney together with three talented juniors.
France defending title
France is the current title holder but the absence from the team of several other prominent riders as well as Aubert may tilt the balance towards their main rivals Italy, who are also without the services of KTM-supported rider Thomas Oldrati, currently also on the injured list.
On the beach
|ISDE Parc Ferme safe in "orange" hands on Portugal's Atlantic coast|
Like two years ago on the shores of Chile, the 2009 ISDE will offer plenty of challenges in the beach sand of Portugal for both riders and mechanics alike. Organisers promise tests in the sand for the first two days while each evening riders will wind up their day's ride in the deep sand of Figueira's beach.
Six days of competition and riding fun
But the real charm of the ISDE goes far beyond the stars of the international competition. It is an open opportunity for any Enduro enthusiast to test themselves against the world's best on some of the most challenging terrain available. Above all, the ISDE is about camaraderie, shared passion for Enduro sport and coming together to experience six days of riding competition and fun with like-minded spirits. And in the true "Olympic" spirit - let the race begin!