A tantalising mix of seasoned campaigners and a teenage rookie who’s turning heads in the off-road scene: that’s the very impressive women’s roster for Team Australia heading into the 2023 FIM International Six Days’ Enduro (ISDE), which will be held in San Juan, Argentina from November 6-11.
The Mxstore-backed Team Australia will once again be represented by Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha) and the American-based Tayla Jones (Husqvarna) – both mainstays of the triumphant Aussie teams from 2013-2018 – while 16-year-old Danielle McDonald (Yamaha) from Parkes (NSW) is the new ISDE inclusion after a breakout year in the enduro scene.
McDonald was not only peerless in the junior women’s class at the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, but she then made a cameo in the final round of the world enduro title in Portugal and stunned with 6-4 results across the two days. Gardiner was second in the world title.
McDonald’s youthful exuberance combined with the race smarts, maturity and dazzling off-road CVs of Gardiner and Jones should make for another strong Team Australia campaign, as it looks to return to the winner’s list for the first time since 2018.
Gardiner has competed in 10 ISDEs previously, while Jones has eight to her name.
Eight teams will line up in the Women’s Trophy in Argentina, with defending champion Great Britain among the entries, as well as America and France – the only other teams to hold the Women’s Trophy aloft since the class was inaugurated in 2007.
“There is no greater honour than putting on the green and gold colours of the Aussie jersey,” said Jones. “To make it even better I get to go alongside my long-time teammate Jess, while Danielle is starting in the shoes Jess and I once stood in and who I am honoured to share all the knowledge we have learnt over the years with.
“It has been a huge effort this year to make the ISDE with funding and logistical issues, but the women’s team has dug deep and we will be flying the flag for all of us.”
With a history dating back over a century – and originally called the International Six Days Trial – the ISDE has always been about pushing the limits of bikes and riders, and the Argentine organiser doesn’t appear to have wavered for that ethos in preparing for the 97th edition.
The city of San Juan is located in a valley surrounded by rocky terrain, which is what will greet the riders in this year’s event across days one to five. The final day, as per ISDE tradition, will be a motocross test on a 1.7km circuit.
Competition will also be intense across the other categories, including the World Trophy where Great Britain will start favourite to retain its title with a strong line-up that includes Jamie McCanney, Nathan Watson and Alex Snow.
Italy is the defending Junior Trophy champion, while in the individual classification it’s set to be an arm wrestle between Spain’s Josep Garcia and Italy’s Andrea Verona, the latter a big fan of the long and physical nature of the event.
For more on the ISDE, keep an eye on Motorcycling Australia’s website and MXstore’s news page, as well as the corresponding social accounts.