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ISDE Champs Named AMA Motorcyclists of the Year (video shows Taylor Robert’s skills)

Maybe it’s because I am of a certain age, but when the United States team finally took the ISDE World Trophy this year, it was very special. Sort of like the U.S. hockey team defeating the Russians, or maybe even like the feeling other countries get when they beat the U.S. at basketball.

To top it off, U.S. team member Taylor Robert won the ISDE overall … becoming only the second American to ever accomplish that goal (check out his amazing skills on a motorcycle in the video below). I can only imagine the pride someone like Malcolm Smith feels.  Smith won 8 individual gold medals at the ISDE, but never saw his team take the crown.

Here is the press release from the AMA:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association announced today that its 2016 AMA Motorcyclists of the Year are U.S. World Trophy Team members Taylor Robert, Kailub Russell, Thad DuVall and Layne Michael. On Oct. 16, 2016, they accomplished something that no team of American motorcyclists had done before: They won the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme’s International Six Days Enduro.

“This shared achievement of Taylor, Kailub, Thad and Layne is historic,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Generations of AMA members have chased the ISDE World Trophy, and these four riders have finally caught it for all of us.”

The AMA Motorcyclist — or Motorcyclists — of the Year is the individual or group of individuals who have had the largest positive impact on motorcycling in the calendar year. Since 1913, the ISDE has invited the countries of the world to send their best racers. It is a crown that has always eluded American racers. Until now.

“This triumph is unprecedented, and it is my honor to recognize these riders as the 2016 AMA Motorcyclists of the Year,” Dingman said.

The 2016 ISDE was Oct. 11-16 in Navarra, Spain. The U.S. World Trophy Team started strong, powering to a 26.02-second gap on the first day. The team added to its lead on the second and third days, slipped a bit on Day 4, then held fairly steady on Days 5 and 6, finishing 3 minutes, 38.66 seconds ahead of the second-place Great Britain team.

In addition, Taylor Robert won the individual overall at the event, only the second time in history an American has accomplished that goal.

The U.S. World Trophy riders led a strong U.S. effort that saw the Junior team finish second in its division, the Women’s team come in fourth, club teams finish second and third, and American Fred Hoess win the FIM Vintage Trophy.

“For decades, American teams have struggled to win at the ISDE, but in 2016, all those efforts paid off,” Dingman said. “While Taylor, Kailub, Thad and Layne would surely be the first to give credit to lessons learned in previous years, they are the riders who hoisted the ISDE World Trophy for the first time in history.”

Profiles of Robert, Russell, DuVall and Michael can be found in the January 2017 issue of American Motorcyclist, the official journal of the AMA.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Vrooom says:

    Wow that guy has skills. I’ve participated in some fundraising events for the US ISDE team a decade ago, so super happy they finally won. Right on guys!

  2. WJF says:

    I mean, who can’t do that on a dirt bike….

  3. MotoMaster39 says:

    Here’s a cool video showcasing the ridiculous skills of this year’s AMA Enduro cross champ Colton Haaker.

  4. Provologna says:

    Congratulations to the Roberts and the team! The video is fantastic. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Scott the Aussie says:

    Congrats to the team and the individual!!! Its a tough event and to win it as a team is a great achievement.

  6. joe b says:

    I remember an editorial in Cycle News in the Seventies, when USA was finally going to host the ISDT. In other countries, they often have the trials in areas foreign to American riders, but they have their local “specialists”, who know the area by heart, ride there often, know all the shortcuts compete for their country. The Cycle News editorial, suggested instead of us having it back east in the Berkshires, where Europeans would find the terrain familiar, it should be held in the California Desert, with extreme temperatures they were not used to, unfamiliar terrain, times between checks familiar to our riders, not theirs, and pick as our team, local experts who knew the area well, and were “specialists”, treating them as they did to us. Traditionalists scoffed at having the ISDT in the desert, it would never happen. Well, maybe if….

  7. Curly says:

    Wow! Finally talented American riders win the Team Trophy. That video of Taylor Robert is mind blowing. He a genius rider for sure. I can’t imagine my younger self watching movies of Malcolm and Trials riders of the 60’s and thinking someday what Robert does would ever be possible.

  8. mickey says:

    Great accomplishment. Can you imagine how many medals Malcome had won had he had that much motor and suspension?

    Think about poor Steve McQueen and the Elkins brothers riding the ISDT on lightly modified 650 Triumph twins.

  9. DucDynasty says:

    This IS historical. I was in Dalton, MA in 1973 and watched the US team, including Malcolm Smith. It was an incredible experience – so many memories. Congrats to the 2016 team!

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