After months of preparations both for the riders and the event organisers, the 2011 FIM International Six Days Enduro is finally underway, with the first competitor Andrea Beconi having rolled out of the parc ferme and left the start in Kota, Finland at 8.00hrs local time this morning. Ahead of the Italian rider and the other three hundred and sixty entrants who have now been declared as official starters lies the first day of six. Days one and two will follow the same route, which covers approximately three hundred kilometres on each occasion.
After leaving base camp at the port of Kotka under darkened skies and rain, the riders will then head north on a liaison section that will be used each day before arriving at the first of four special tests, which will each be ridden twice on days one and two. The test named Kymi will act as test one and eight on both days, which is tight and twisty and is set in a wooded area that is strewn with many rocks, including a tough boulder section that could perhaps be described as extreme.
With the first real challenge out of the way the riders will then travel east towards Hamina and the initial service stop before moving onto the next test – Saksankangas. Whilst again situated in and amongst the trees this test is slightly more open and features some sandy going that will become a familiar theme as the week progresses. The competitors will then complete two more tests and will visit another service area to bring the first lap to a close. The latter of these tests is located at a local sand based motocross circuit that could prove to be the fastest test of the day.
Tests two, three and four will then be repeated before the riders head back to Kymi for the final test of the day and then onward to the parc ferme at Kotka. Although the ISDE will not be won on day one, it can be lost. So for the leading protagonists in the individual and team categories plus those who are just looking to finish, their main aim for Monday will be to stay out of trouble and to put the foundations in place for the rest of the week.