Famous Dirt Bike Events – The International Six Days Enduro

The International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) was formerly known as the International Six Days Trial (ISDT). It is commonly referred to as the ‘Olympics of motorcycling’.
First held in 1913 at Carlisle, England, it is the world’s oldest off-road motorcycle event on the FIM calendar.

It is a yearly event held at various locations around the world. Up until 1973, it was always held in Europe. In 1973 the United States hosted the event.

Since then it has been held in Australia twice (1992 & 1998), the United States again in 1994, Brazil (2003). New Zealand (2006), Chile (2007), Mexico (2010), Argentina (2014).

In 1981 the FIM updated the word ‘Trials’ to ‘Enduro’, the word Enduro being an American term popularised by motorcycle manufacturers, reflecting the change in the event from a trials (early events were held on the road) to something more associated with cross-country motocross.

2016 ISDE Team USA
2016 ISDE winners Team USA

Some Fast Facts

  • As many as 32 countries have entered teams for the event in recent years.
  • The ISDE attracts entries of more than 500 riders, along with thousands of crew and spectators.
  • Over the 6 days and upwards of 1,250 miles (2000 km) riders must carry out their own repairs.
  • The 2013 event was its 100th anniversary. A record 820 entered with 600 entries being allowed to compete.

Medals are awarded relative to the best individual performance within their class:
Gold Medal – to riders who finish within 10% of their class’ top competitor’s total time.
Silver Medal – to riders who finish within 25% of their class’ top competitor’s total time.
Bronze Medal – to any rider who finishes all six days within their time allowance.

Trophies are awarded for best:

Four-rider national
Three-rider junior national
Three-rider women’s national
Three-rider club national
Three-rider manufacturing teams

There are three displacement classes at the ISDE:

E1 class: 100cc to 125cc two-stroke and 175cc to 250cc four-stroke motorcycles
E2 class: 175cc to 250cc two-stroke and 290cc to 450cc four-stroke motorcycles
E3 class: 290cc to 500cc two-stroke and 475cc to 650cc four-stroke motorcycles

Steve McQueen and the ISDT

The United States was represented for the first time ever at the 1964 ISDT held in East Germany. Hollywood actor Steve McQueen and his friends Bud Ekins (famous for being Steve’s stunt double in the movie ‘The Great Escape’), Dave Ekins, Cliff Coleman and John Steen competed, with John Penton managing them.

ISDT USA team 1964
Team USA 1964 Steve McQueen (center) Francois Gragnon photo

The 1964 ISDT took place in the Communist Eastern bloc during the height of the cold war. Steve carried the US flag in the opening ceremony in what has been reported as one of the proudest moments of his life. He substantially funded the first official Team USA to travel to Europe to compete.

ISDT Steve McQueen
Iconic image of Steve ISDT 1964

McQueen was a well-qualified racer in his own right competing in scrambles and desert races like the Baja 1000. It’s a testimony to his star power that he is still relevant more than 30 years after his death. We continue to see iconic images of Steve, many associated with motorcycles and race cars.

Bell helmets have re-released the 1964 ISDT helmet worn by the USA team featuring the classic blue with white stripes, and the Barbour jacket worn by Steve has also been re-released as an ISDT 1964 Steve McQueen replica.

There is also a replica of the Triumph Trophy TR6C that Steve rode in the event.

Malcolm Smith and the ISDT

Malcolm Smith ISDT

In 1966 Malcolm competed in his first ISDT and won a Silver Medal, funded by Husqvarna importer Edison Dye.
In 1967 Malcolm wins his first ISDT Gold Medal in Poland.
He didn’t compete in the 1968 event due to a broken leg.
1969: Malcolm wins his second Gold Medal in Germany.
1970: Malcolm wins his third Gold Medal in Spain.
1971: Malcolm wins his fourth Gold Medal on the Isle of Mann.
He also wins the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 desert races, and stars in the cult classic movie ‘On Any Sunday’
1973: Malcolm wins his fifth Gold Medal and Team USA wins the Silver Vase.
1974: Malcolm wins his sixth Gold Medal in Italy.
1975: Malcolm wins his seventh Gold Medal on the Isle of Mann again.
1976: Malcolm wins his eighth and final Gold Medal in Austria. In 1977 the method of qualifying for the ISDT changes and he decides to retire from ISDT competition.

For more on Malcolm Smith, check out: Motorcycle Racing Legends – Malcolm Smith Bio

ISDE 2018

Chile is the country hosting the 2018 ISDE. It will be held in Vina del Mar on November 12-17.

Team Australia

Motorcycling Australia (MA) has announced the Australian teams that are preparing for Chile, where they will come up against 29 other nations.

A total of ten riders will make up three Trophy teams:

The World Trophy Team will comprise of Daniel Milner (KTM), Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna), Joshua Strang (Husqvarna) and Lyndon Snodgrass (KTM).

The Women’s Trophy Team will be going for a sixth consecutive victory this year, comprising of Tayla Jones (Husqvarna), Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha) and Mackenzie Tricker (KTM).

The Junior Trophy Team will be made up of Tom Mason, Fraser Higlett (Husqvarna) and Andrew Wilksch (Sherco)

Daniel Sanders
Daniel Sanders ISDE Team Australia

Team USA

The American Motorcycle Association has announced the 10 Trophy Team riders selected for Chile.

The World Trophy Team will comprise of Ryan Sipes (Husqvarna), Taylor Robert (KTM), Steward Baylor (KTM) and Zac Bell (Husqvarna).
Sipes was 2015 ISDE overall winner, and Robert was 2016 overall winner. Russell is a five-time GNCC champion and Bell is the AMA District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Series Champion.

Taylor Robert
Taylor Robert ISDE Team USA

The Junior Trophy Team will be made up of Josh Toth, Grant Baylor, and Ben Kelley.

The Women’s Trophy Team will comprise of Tarah Gieger (Honda), Brandy Richards (KTM), and Becca Sheets (KTM). Richards and Sheets were on the 2017 team which finished second behind five-time winner Australia.
These riders will be joined by 21 Club Team riders.

Update: 2018 Results

The 93rd edition of the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) is now in the history books.

ISDE 2018 podium Photo credit Enduro21

World Trophy Team:

  • First Place: Team Australia – Daniel Milner (KTM), Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna), Joshua Strang (Husqvarna) and Lyndon Snodgrass (KTM)
  • Runner-Up: Team USA – Ryan Sipes (Husqvarna), Taylor Robert (KTM), Steward Baylor (KTM) and Zac Bell (Husqvarna).
  • Third place: Team Italy – Davide Guarneri, Alex Salvini, Thomas Oldrati, Giacomo Redondi

Women’s Trophy Team:

Team Australia won their record-breaking sixth consecutive ISDE title, now unbeaten since Italy in 2013.

  • First Place: Team Australia – Tayla Jones (Husqvarna), Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha) and Mackenzie Tricker (KTM)
  • Runner-Up: Team USA – Tarah Gieger (Honda), Brandy Richards (KTM), and Becca Sheets (KTM)
  • Third place: Team Spain – Sandra Gomez, Mireia Badia, and Gabriela Seisdedos

Junior Trophy Team:

  • First Place: Team Italy – Andrea Verona (TM), Matteo Cavallo (Beta) and Davide Soreca (TM)
  • Runner-Up: Team USA – Josh Toth, Grant Baylor, and Ben Kelley
  • Third Place: Team France – David Abgrall, Hugo Blanjoue, and Theo Espinasse

Team USA became the only nation to secure a podium result in all three categories in the 2018 FIM ISDE.

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Have you ever competed in the ISDE, or attended as a spectator? Please feel free to share your thoughts with readers below.

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4 thoughts on “Famous Dirt Bike Events – The International Six Days Enduro”

  1. As an X motorcycle driver, I really enjoyed your website. I found it very interesting and informative. I never knew that about the Great Escape with Steave. You wrote this so that it was a very easy read and captivating. I had a hard time trying to stop reading it. You did a very nice job. Well researched and your picture really put what you were telling me in perspective.  

    • Hi Jon. The ISDE is a huge event and has just finished for 2018, hence the update results. Yes, Steve McQueen was a very competitive racer and funded the Team USA effort in 1964.

      Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the read, a bit of history there.


  2. This is an interesting article Greg.

    Even though I ride bikes, I am not the racing type; not cut out for it, unless I have to use a four wheeled machine like a quad. However I love watching race events and I’d be ecstatic to catch one of the ISDE challenge episodes in the near future.

    Best regards

    • Hi Victor. Yes, I’d love to get to go to an ISDE myself also, if it comes to Australia again.

      If you like watching these types of events, check out Red Bull TV, they sponsor all of the action sports.

      Thanks for your comments.



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