Lachy Stanford has already assembled and test-ridden the Husqvarna FE 500 he’ll ride in this year’s A4DE, after a milestone fifth ISDE finish last week in Spain.
The event, which concluded on Sunday at the Circuito de Navarra in Spain, saw the twenty-five-year-old power his Husqvarna FE 250 to 12th in the hyper-competitive E1 class, which went to Spanish rider Josep Garcia Montaña ahead of Brit Nathan Watson and another Spaniard, Victor Guerrero Ruiz.
“This is my fourth ISDE on a Husqvarna,” said Stanford, and it shows how reliable they are to get me through four of them. I rode the Husqvarna FE 250 there, and it’s awesome. What an amazing bike. I can’t get over how well it turns. Just being a little bike I was struggling a little bit on the faster tests, but I still posted some pretty good times on it. It was different going from the 500 to the 250, but someone had to ride the 250 and I had fun on the thing.”
At the back of a year in which he achieved a career-high fourth overall in the Australian Off-Road Championships, Stanford made the best of the dusty Spanish Special Tests to set impressive best finishes of eighth in class on Days 1 and 2, and then took ninth for the Australian Trophy Team on day 5.
“My good days were top-15 in most tests,” he said, “but day three and four really put me back in the times. I’m happy to finish my fifth one though, especially incorporating the transition back from the 500 to the 250 in the space of a month so I could race in E1. It’s a big difference and I didn’t have much time, but I seemed to gel with it really well. So a huge thanks to Husqvarna for supporting me, and to all the Aussie supporters at the Six-Day. Thank you. Wearing the green and gold jersey, and teaming up with the other riders that I’m usually against, it makes you ride faster. Hanging around with Strangy was pretty cool too.”
The withdrawal of Josh Strang with a broken right ankle on Day 1 was a crying shame for both the Trophy Team and the US-based Aussie, who was really starting to fly, finishing with E2 class results of 2, 1, 2, 2 from his last four specials.
“Strangy broke his leg on day one, which was a shame as he was riding really fast on the Rockstar Husqvarna, with top three test times and all that. I think we were in for a good six days, but that’s how it goes. And after we lost Milner too, Daniel Sanders and I were just doing it for personal goals.”
Now back home in Byron Bay, Stanford has already turned his focus back to the A4DE in less than a month’s time, where he’ll renew acquaintances with big-bore enduro racing.
“Now I’ve just finished building my 2017 Husqvarna FE 500 for the four-day and taken it around the paddock for a little spin. It’s a bit different to the 250 – I almost fell off the back of it the first time up through the gears! But it’s great to be back on the 500 again.
“It’s a pretty good job that I’ve got. I often thought that when I was riding in the mountains in Spain, on trail time, and seeing the places no tourist would ever see, I just thought to myself ‘this is pretty cool. Thanks Husqvarna.”