A COUNTY enduro ace will undergo the ultimate test of skill, fitness and commitment this year after being selected to represent Scotland in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) competition in Italy.

Gullane's Neil Chatham was one of three riders chosen by the Scottish Auto Cycle Union (SACU) to race in the competition, which will see riders compete for six days, racing nearly 800 miles over the toughest terrain imaginable in Sardinia from September 30 to October 5.

Chatham (pictured right), 22, will be joined by Ricky Mair and Frazer Norrie, the same trio which raced at the tournament two years ago in Finland, and the team will be led by Sam Davidson, who carried out the role in 2009 and 2011.

Joining them in Italy is North Berwick's Fraser Flockhart, 20, who is the reserve rider for the team and will fulfil the same role as Chatham did in Portugal 2009, getting first-hand experience of the tournament with the hope of competing in future editions. Flockhart, like Chatham, grew up riding in Archerfield on the Duke of Hamilton's practice track.

It will be the second time Chatham has competed in the tournament, having won gold in Finland two years ago, finishing in the top 15 per cent of competitors and as the second best British club rider.

Not only did he live up to his own expectations but he put some family demons to bed - Chatham's father Campbell had competed in the tournament in 1982 in Czechoslovakia but had to pull out through illness.

Campbell told Courier Sport: "I had to pull out during the first day and ended up in hospital with my appendix out.

"We went into Finland under pressure to put the record straight and prove I could do it through my son!

"I said to him: 'I just want you to finish'. Not only did he do that but he won gold.

"Now we're going out with a little less pressure to enjoy it; get a good result and enjoy it." This year's tournament is a double celebration, with the SACU celebrating 100 years of motorcycle racing in Scotland and the 100th anniversary of the ISDE, seen as the motorcycling equivalent of the Olympics and first run as the ISDT in Wales in 1913.

It shows no signs of getting any easier, as riders cover 200 kilometres per day over rough terrain to the point where they at times have to get off their bikes to push.

The riders must keep to a specific timetable for the full six days, with penalties for arriving late or early. The motorcycles are maintained mechanically with only the tools each competitor carries with them, except for refuelling and the topping up of fluids.

The bikes are locked away overnight and can only be worked on for 10 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.

The finishing order is decided by a number of special tests timed to within a hundredth of a second; the riders complete several every day, with only the top 15 per cent earning a gold medal once completed.

Campbell said: "The difference with the ISDE in comparison with other motor events is that it is more about the man than the machine; a rider can have the money for a fancy-tuned machine but if he does not have the commitment, fitness or riding skill then he will not succeed.

"It's down to the riders. If you haven't got the skill, fitness and commitment to ride for six days you will struggle.

"Most people would struggle to do a day. You need a bit of luck. The team manager is confident if they can get a bit of luck the team can finish in the top five. They have got a very good chance." Chatham has been unable to train as regularly on the bike as he would like after starting a job at letting agency Murray & Currie in Edinburgh. However, his fitness has been kept up with an intensive programme of running the sand dunes on Gullane beach, kickboxing and cycling.

The cost for each rider will likely surpass �7,000 and they have a number of events lined up to raise money to cover costs such as transportation, entry fees, insurance, accommodation, fuel, tyres and parts.

Bad weather has seen low entries in SACU's off-road events, but donations and sponsorship can be made by calling 01506 858354.