published at 29.04.2016, 12:52

The Only Hen in the Yard

As the first female marshal at the Int. GS Trophy, Jolandie, or simply "Jo" Rust has to assert herself in a typically male domain. It's not difficult for her. Rust doesn't get fazed that easily. Not even after being held up at gunpoint during her trip across Africa on an Enduro.

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published at 27.04.2016, 17:25

A seven-day test of strength at the GS Trophy 2016

Manoeuvring motorcycles over ailing bridges, crossing rivers with the GS and changing tyres in a hurry: the Int. GS Trophy is an Enduro challenge like no other. In 2016 it was time for the event once again. Nineteen teams from all over the world rode their BMW R 1200 GS motorcycles across northern Thailand.

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published at 11.04.2016, 15:49

The wolf in GS clothing.

Tomm Wolf is „Mister GS Trophy“. There has never been an official election for this title. The sporty head of BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy got his nickname for his enthusiasm for trail biking and the authentic way of inspiring others for his passion. After the fifth GS Trophy in South Asia Wolf takes a look back in time to his early adventures on his cult bike.

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published at 08.03.2016, 17:32

The dust settles on the fifth #gstrophy – but there's more to come...

It's hard to believe but after seven days of thrilling competition, the 2016 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy is finally over. Team South Africa have been crowned champions, the celebration party lasted well into the night and the following morning, teams and riders said their emotional farewells as they packed away tents for the last time and made preparations for their journeys home. For many though, this was not the end, but just the beginning...

The winning trio of John Harris, Byron Coetsee, and Charl Moolman will return home as heroes in their BMW Motorrad communities, and surely inspire the next generation of South African GS riders to start practising now for their chance to represent the 'Rainbow Nation' at the next Trophy and of course try to retain the coveted title.

Team Germany and Team UK will no doubt be proud of pushing Team South Africa all the way, but also fighting neck and neck with each other before finally sharing second place – a massive achievement in itself, given the high level of all the competitors.

Although the 'GS Girls' didn't finish as high up the rankings as they had hoped, the International Female team can take heart in the fact that they have made Int. GS Trophy history and impressed every single competitor, marshal, journalist and organisation team member with their positive attitude, never-say-die heroics and fantastic riding skills. Thanks to Stefanie Bouisson, Morag Campbell and Amy Harburg, women GS riders around the world now believe that anything is possible, so just watch the community grow even bigger as a result of these three girls' efforts – and let's hope this is just the beginning of a long and wonderful success story for women in motorcycling. Judging by the support they have received from all over the world, we believe this is a foregone conclusion.

While the international battles were raging in the heat and dust of Thailand's Golden Triangle region, what was notable at this latest GS Trophy was the huge increase in fans and enthusiasts following every step of the competition online. This was particularly evident during public voting for the two photo competitions and reflected throughout the social media networks, which were buzzing with requests for more information, latest points scores, information on the areas visited, and much more. Thanks to a hard-working media team, including film-makers, photographers, journalists and bloggers, never before was the Trophy story spread so far and wide – and so quickly.

The great news of course, is that although the GS Trophy is over for now, fans can still relive all the highlights online. Daily reports and rankings can be read on the news pages of the gstrophy.com website; daily highlights films can be viewed at www.youtube.com/bmwmotorrad; and the brand's Facebook and Instagram channels allow users to catch up with all the postings, comments and reaction to the 2016 event.

Coming soon will be an inspirational movie, showing the GS Trophy in all its glory, as well as a final 'wrap-up' story, featuring stats, commentary and quotes from all the main protagonists. Naturally, the question on everyone's lips at the moment is “where will the next BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy be held?” but all we can say for now is stay tuned and watch this space...

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published at 05.03.2016, 17:36

BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy day seven

Team South Africa crowned 2016 #gstrophy champions

What a thrilling final day at the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy. After seven days of intense, yet friendly competition, nearly 1,400 kilometres of memorable riding and a whole week's worth of unforgettable daily Special tests, the GS Trophy Southeast Asia 2016 reached its conclusion with Team South Africa crowned thoroughly deserved winners by a margin of 31 points.

The trio of John Harris, Byron Coetsee, and Charl Moolman had led the competition since day two and although they were pushed hard by both Team Germany and Team UK until the very last Special on the final day, they kept their cool under considerable pressure and in so doing , took the Trophy home to South Africa for the first time. In a historical first for the GS Trophy, two teams were tied for second place – Team Germany and Team UK.

But when the day started, there was still everything to play for, with only 19 points separating the top three. And with double points on offer for the final Special, there was hope for all teams as the opening Special began. It came just 20 kilometres out from the starting point in Chae Son and was entitled 'Twisted Turn'. In essence it was a team exercise to clear a series of ever tightening turns on a two-tiered course, with the usual penalty points for feet touching the ground or dropping the bike. It was inspiring to watch the slow-speed control and balance of certain riders, especially the female trio who showed fantastic skills and technique in this exercise. Team Brazil were, however, the winners of this Special.

There were many more highlights to follow, with a wonderfully flowing section through a pine forest high in the mountains followed by an extended and sinuous mountain-descent on tarmac to clearly demonstrate the versatility of the GS motorcycle. Then followed a rendezvous at km 126 with around 100 riders from Thailand, Malaysia and China, who had travelled in on their BMW bikes to support the GS Trophy. For the final 50 kilometres ride-in to the Rim Doi Resort in Chiang Dao, these enthusiastic, friendly riders joined the Trophy teams and marshals, and helped form a huge convoy that snaked its way to the location for the final Special test of 2016.

It took place at a neighbouring motocross training track, much to the delight of the teams, who made it their business to show exactly how a big adventure bike like the BMW GS can be hustled around a tight, twisty track with a skilled rider at the controls. With crowds of enthusiasts lining the circuit and cheering the teams all the way from their Le Mans-style starts through bumps, turns and whoops to a challenging steep uphill finish, it was a super way to end the riding part of the Trophy. This final Special was won by a dominant Team South Africa.

As for the GS bikes, they have held up remarkably well considering the extreme hard use they have been subjected to over the past seven days and more than 1,300 kilometres of competition. Despite being dropped off 'broken bridges', dragged through boulder-strewn river crossings, hauled over huge logs, and ridden hard across every type of terrain and obstacle imaginable, there has been hardly any damage at all to the fleet of over 100 BMW R 1200 GS and GS Adventures. A few tyres have been changed due to punctures, a couple of clutches and coolers have been replaced, as have a few mirrors and levers, but there have been no technical failures at all. All in all, it's a welcome confirmation of the indestructible nature of a BMW GS, as well as the great job done by BMW Motorrad Official Accessories in protecting the bikes.

All good things must come to an end of course, and although the riding was over, there was still time for the final evening celebration and points announcement, and the Trophy circus was joined by many invited guests from across Asia, who were welcomed for the festivities.

Having come close to Trophy honours several times before (second place in 2010 and 2014), Team South Africa were delighted winners.: “Relief is the first emotion, then happiness,” expressed an overjoyed Byron Coetsee. “South Africa's track record in the event has been seconds and thirds, we even missed out on the win in 2010 by as little as one point, so to finish like this, it's like the weight of the world is lifted off our shoulders. We share this achievement with our previous GS Trophy team riders.”

Quote Heiner Faust, Vice President Sales and Marketing, BMW Motorrad: “I'm so pleased we staged this latest International GS Trophy in Southeast Asia and welcomed riders from across the globe to this wonderful region, including our first ever female team who were truly inspiring. Once again the competition has been tough and exciting from start to finish. As all of the teams have discovered, Thailand is an amazing place for adventure motorcycling, especially when you are riding with new friends who share exactly the same passion as you. This passion has been reflected by the thousands of enthusiasts worldwide who have been following the Trophy online via our various social media channels. The BMW Motorrad community has truly engaged with the spirit of the GS Trophy and we're sure that this success story will continue for a long time. ”

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Seven final results

1 South Africa - 299
2 Germany - 268
2 UK - 268
4 CEEU - 254
5 Latin America - 244
6 Brazil - 242
7 China - 234
8 USA - 229
9 France - 208
10 Italy - 200
11 Argentina - 188
12 Mexico - 181
13 Russia - 180
14 Canada - 176
15 South Korea - 146
16 Japan - 138
16 South East Asia - 138
18 Alps - 117
19 International Female Team- 116

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published at 04.03.2016, 17:23

BMW International GS Trophy Day 6

Toughest day yet brings the biggest smiles at #gstrophy 2016

They say Thailand is the land of smiles and this was certainly evident today among all GS Trophy competitors, as they faced up to, and overcame their biggest riding challenges yet on a 157-kilometre sixth day that took in parts of the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail.

There was a palpable tension at breakfast this morning, as chief marshal Tomm Wolf's words were still ringing in the ears of the riders, who had been warned to expect a seriously tough, but ultimately rewarding day, where teamwork, support and intelligent riding would win the day.

It was an early departure from the bivouac at Khun Tan this morning, and with the points totals so close, there was much that could be gained – or lost – during this important penultimate day of competition.

The first Special came some 27 kilometres down the trail. And what a special! In essence a 10-kilometre single track section; in reality a two-hour slog over the roughest terrain seen yet, ridden in 37º heat and high humidity. The riders faced a never-ending succession of steep, unforgiving rock-strewn paths, trails that would be tricky enough on a small enduro bike, so a real test on a mighty BMW GS adventure bike. The top riders dazzled with their brave and often successful attacks on the climbs, but were typically forced to park their BMW GS bikes and run back down the slippery slopes to help their less fortunate team-mates – the difference between success a failure being the smallest unseen tree root, or loose rock. The themes here were camaraderie and team spirit, and only by getting all your mates to the top of the hill could points be awarded. At the top, a fair reward of a welcome rest and recovery on the shady banks of a mountain lake.

The joy expressed by the riders on reaching the top of the trail was one of the defining moments of the 2016 GS Trophy, but the competitors still had plenty of riding ahead of them, so it was 'onwards and upwards' for the next 15 kilometres, with yet another super-committing hill climb claiming yet more 'victims', until the teams arrived at the second Special – a Trophy favourite that is the towing exercise that, as ever, is harder than it looks. The task facing the teams sounded simple: use one GS to tow another up a mountain track, turn around an obstacle and come back down again, without stalling the engine, stopping or falling.

After this exhausting challenge in the searing heat, the next 100 'clicks' took the riders through a mountainous jungle region with incredible views from the endless switchbacks that demanded high levels of concentration from all. On arrival at the bivouac in picturesque Wassana Raja, there was no time for rest and relaxation, because yet another Special awaited them. 'Pit Stop' sounded simple enough and in the usual circumstances, a colour-coded triple wheel change seems fairly straightforward, but combined with the mental tiredness that comes from almost a week of intensive riding, and mistakes can easily be made, especially when the clock is running. Keeping a cool head under pressure were Team UK, whose wheel changes were the slickest by far.

The overall points were eagerly awaited this evening, and rightly so. Accompanied by a background chorus of cicadas and croaking frogs, BMW Motorrad's marshal and member of the jury Christian Pingitzer revealed the latest standings. It was unchanged in the top three, with Team South Africa, Team Germany and Team UK remaining the strongest contenders for GS Trophy honours tomorrow evening. Twenty-four hours from now, the final result will be clear.

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Results BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Six

1 South Africa - 242
2 Germany - 225
3 UK - 223
4 China - 207
5 Latin America - 205
6 CEEU - 199
7 Brazil - 188
8 USA - 187
9 France - 167
10 Argentina - 162
11 Mexico - 159
12 Italy - 156
13 Russia - 154
14 Canada - 148
15 South Korea - 137
16 South East Asia - 128
17 Japan - 108
18 International Female Team - 102
18 Alps - 102

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published at 03.03.2016, 20:09

BMW International GS Trophy Day Five

The Trophy turns east...

After four days of travelling predominantly west and south on its seven day loop of Thailand's Golden Triangle region, the 2016 BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy headed in an easterly direction for the first time today, with a gruelling 270 km, nine-hour, ride from Mae Sariang to Khun Tan in scorching temperatures, interspersed with the usual series of Special stages to keep participants in the hunt for precious points.

After two days bivouaced at Mae Sariang, it was back to life on the road today with the riders striking camp early, enjoying a hot breakfast, filling their hydration systems to the brim with water (with mineral additives) and then grabbing a lunch bag to stow in their tail packs. With a long day's ride ahead, it was vital to put some kilometres behind them while the sun was still low in the sky.

Making progress was the order of the day if the finish was to be reached before sundown – and it was a close-run thing. Early trails were slow, technical single-track through a proverbial jungle, with precipitous descents and tricky climbs.

As with every day, the riders were exploring remote regions, repeatedly passing traditional stilt-house villages, every ride-through creating a mayhem of scattering dogs, chickens, ducks, pigs – and even buffalo. A centuries-old canvas. Later the trail became more open, but hard-pack clay riven with washouts, rocks and dusted with loose stone made the riding both exacting and tiring. Hour after hour this continued, through remote valleys and along the ridges of 1500m mountains with only the special tests to break the never-ending effort.

After 85 kilometres – but four hours of riding – the competitors arrived at the first Special of the day – 'big buffalo' – a relay exercise where each team rider needed to ride fast and then make a sharp turn (to avoid the buffalo of course!) before returning to the start line to tag their team-mate. When the times were added up, Team South Africa were clear winners and showed the rest of the competitors exactly how to avoid a painful encounter with the famous Thai water buffaloes.

Another 100 kilometres of scenic, but tough riding led to the next test situated at the entrance to the Obluang National Park. This was a navigation test, where the teams were given a GPS unit and a waypoint. If entered into the GPS correctly, this led to another waypoint, each waypoint rewarded by a letter – and the next waypoint destination. When the teams had located all waypoints and collected all letters, they could then join the letters together to form the word to give to the marshal – proof they'd correctly found all waypoints – and the clock could then be stopped.

The teams that had practised navigation exercises in advance were quick to complete this Special, while some of the others could be seen scratching their heads and searching the undergrowth for vital clues. Fitness played a part, too, because running around a steep, wooded valley in full riding gear in temperatures in the high 30s certainly took its toll. Not so for Team UK, who were the quickest in this information gathering exercise.

After again filling their hydration packs to the brim, the riders set off again, as they still had another 100 kilometres to go until arriving at the bivouac. The sun had descended behind the mountains as the leading group of riders rolled up to camp, while the later arrivals needed their head-torches in order to pitch their tents.

Perhaps the most eagerly-awaited announcement at dinner was the results of the second photo competition, where precious points were 'up for grabs' depending on how successfully the teams had engaged with their communities, following the #gstrophy from back home. A massive 41,561 votes were cast in the short window of opportunity, with newcomers Team China winning the second competition with an impressive 7,603 fans rating their picture as the favourite. All photos and votes can be viewed at www.gstrophy.com

Of course, the points of the day were also announced and showing studied consistency, it is South Africa who still lead the way over Germany and the UK, although with only 27 points separating the top five, the 2016 GS Trophy is still very much there for the taking. With two days of competition remaining, the teams that keep a cool head under pressure have a real chance to take the title back home with them.

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Results BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Five

1 South Africa - 214
2 Germany - 200
3 UK - 194
4 Latin America - 190
5 China - 187
6 CEEU - 178
7 Brazil - 177
8 USA - 163
9 Mexico - 147
10 Argentina - 144
11 France - 141
12 Russia - 138
13 Italy - 133
14 Canada - 126
15 South Korea - 120
16 South East Asia - 101
17 Japan - 94
18 International Female Team - 89
19 Alps - 83

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published at 02.03.2016, 20:03

BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy day four

Thrilling day for #gstrophy competitors on the 'Salawin Loop'

Today the 2016 Int. GS Trophy teams were treated to a wonderful mix of riding conditions and challenges, as the route took participants on a 136 kilometre loop that was tailor-made for adventure riding enthusiasts. Although only half the distance of yesterday's stages, in the intense heat it was just as tough, and in time, nearly as long as anything they had encountered so far.

Leaving the bivouac at Camp Salawin, the teams rode through scenic parkland trails before dropping down into a valley where, riding first-and-second gear single-track, they zig-zagged across mountain streams, tackled rocky sections, traversed footbridges over ditches and made their way to the first Special of the day – 'Heavy Rain' – after 21 kilometres.

Naturally, this special involved water, and all the participants enjoyed the challenge of riding 150 metres through the river as a team and then answering a series of questions, all against the clock. Ten kilometres later, they faced the second Special – 'Big Timber' – which naturally involved logs, motorcycles and lifting! With the engine off, the team had to haul one of their BMW bikes over a huge tree and then park it on its side-stand. Strong muscles helped, but technique was just as important and this was a defining moment for the ladies' team, who showed that 'practice makes perfect' by completing this exercise in good time and good shape. The searing midday heat saw the Japanese team cool off – in full rider gear – by jumping into the nearby creek!

The picturesque mountainous route then saw the competitors skirt the border between Thailand and Myanmar, just a stone's throw across a deep, fast-flowing river. The riverbanks and hillside villages, with houses on stilts so typical of this region, and bustling streetlife offered many opportunities for the teams to be entertaining and creative as they searched for the ideal picture location for the upcoming photo competition (voting closes on Thursday at 10.00 CET).

A long ascent into the mountains swiftly followed. At around 1,000 metres, the riders were treated to some fast, wider sandy tracks along the ridges that allowed them to really open their throttles for a change, and let their GS bikes breathe, while they took in the lovely vistas. A fast descent took them through valleys peppered with villages and then onto a final tar section for a travel-guide ride-in across verdant, cultivated fields back to Camp Salawin.

On arrival, their odometers were reading around 140 kilometres for the day but everyone agreed that it felt more like 280. However, things weren't finished yet, as a third Special awaited the teams once the sun went down. Entitled 'Camp Champ', this trials challenge was watched by all teams, organisation staff, event caterers and just about everyone associated with the GS Trophy 'circus', adding considerable pressure at the end of an exhausting day.

A special mention must go to the brave trio of ladies who have made GS Trophy history by becoming the first ever female team to 'take on the boys' at this special event. This is what they had to say about their Trophy experience so far.

Morag Campbell, South Africa: “The support from the guys is phenomenal, they cheer for us, they call our names individually, it’s really nice.They’re behind us on every task and when we are out on the trails they are so much fun.”

Amy Harburg, Australia: “I'm surprised how the locals are interacting with us. When we stop they come to us and that is so nice, it gives an extra dimension. They probably wouldn’t be like this with tourists. And when we ride past, first they see the bikes, then they see Stephanie’s hair and they do a double-take!”

Stephanie Bouisson, France: “The whole event is fantastic, as it was in South Africa too. The reactions are interesting from all the locals. I offer them the Thai greeting and they love that too. It’s an amazing event, in an amazing country.”

On the conclusion of the final Special, all points were added up and revealed to the teams. After day four of seven, Team South Africa are still on top, with Team Germany and Team UK rounding out the top three.

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Results BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Four

1 South Africa - 164
2 Germany - 149
3 UK - 148
4 CEEU - 147
5 Latin America- 144
6 Brazil - 141
6 China - 141
8 USA - 122
9 Argentina - 114
10 France - 112
10 Mexico - 112
12 Canada - 105
12 Italy - 105
14 Russia - 99
15 South Korea - 84
16 International Female Team - 78
16 South East Asia- 78
18 Japan- 75
19 Alps - 72

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published at 01.03.2016, 16:30

BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy day three

Memorable mountain motorcycling from Mae Hong Son to Mae Sariang

Today all 2016 International GS Trophy participants were treated to the ride of their lives, with over 250 kilometres of the best trails and roads Thailand has to offer, combined with two challenging special tests that took the 'friendly' competition into its third day.

With a significant distance to cover, the day started early with a pre-dawn striking of camp, and a 7am departure in preparation for the longest day in the saddle so far. Conditions were initially cool but quickly warmed up as the teams climbed their way to around 1,500 metres, while riding the ridge-lines from one mountain range to another on a mix of clay, dust and sandy surfaces, that are more typically associated with closed-course enduro racing.

The first Special came after about 75 kilometres of off-road heaven through national parkland, overlooking high-altitude tiered rice fields and tackling numerous switchbacks and narrow tracks along the way. The Special took place in an area of giant Bamboo trees, and competitors first had to guess how many bamboo stalks were growing in a certain area. Then, a team member needed to climb a tree around four metres high to find a hidden message, the contents of which needed to be delivered to their Marshal. Finally, the team had to guess how many metres above sea level they were, without looking at their GPS units!

Another 90 kilometres of the remotest Thailand unfolded before the competitors' eyes as they rode from village to village – much to the amusement of the locals, who spilled out onto their streets as the GS Trophy circus passed through, with screams of delight from school children, friendly waves from market traders and enthusiastic welcomes whenever the riders stopped to take in the special atmosphere.

A wide river crossing and the welcome shade of a native forest helped keep everyone cool as temperatures climbed well into the 30s en route to the second Special, where teams enjoyed a speed and braking exercise. Accelerating hard over 70 metres, then stopping the front wheel inside a marked box sounds easy, but when the adrenaline and pressure of competition kicks in, it proved to be harder than it looked for many. Not so for Team South Africa, who were clinical in this exercise.

Following this Special was a dream section of tarmac for road riders – and in this case off-road enthusiasts – as the 90km undulating final liaison twisted and turned all the way to the next bivouac at Mae Sariang, offering far-reaching views into the valleys below and mountains beyond. Refreshments on arrival at the camp in the Salawin national park never tasted so good.

It was a truly memorable day for all competitors, but perhaps none more so than the new countries and their teams experiencing the GS Trophy adventure for the first time. Among these are Team China and Team Southeast Asia, who gave us their first impressions.

Tommy Lee Boon Jun, Singapore, Team South East Asia

“I think we are enjoying the GS Trophy maybe a little too much! We were very serious initially but then we made lots and lots of mistakes, so we decided instead to enjoy the event, because it is a great-great event. It’s great to meet so many people with the same interest, and with very similar riding capability, so we ride together well. It’s hugely enjoyable.”

Liang Wen-Hao, China:

“We are enjoying the GS Trophy very much. I’ve personally owned a GS since 2006, so this is a wonderful celebration of the past ten years for me, I knew I must come to this event. With all the riders from around the world, it’s so special, it’s every GS rider’s dream.

“As a team, we chose to ride here, rather than fly, it was four days to get here, but that helped unify us before we started. We love Thailand as well, all the people are smiling, the people in China call Thailand ‘the smiling country’, it’s a special place.”

As is traditional at the Trophy, all points were totalled after the evening meal and there was quite a change in the leaderboard – thanks in part to the results of the teams' photo competition that was massively supported worldwide and won by some margin by Latin America. As things stand after day three, Team South Africa have consolidated their leading position from yesterday, with Latin America and Germany 17 and 22 points behind respectively.

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Results BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Three

1 South Africa - 124
2 Latin America - 107
3 Germany- 102
4 Brazil - 98
4 CEEU - 98
4 UK - 98
7 China - 95
8 Argentina- 89
9 Mexico - 86
10 France - 85
11 USA - 84
12 Russia - 80
13 Canada - 75
14 Italy - 67
15 International Female Team - 59
16 Alps - 58
16 South East Asia - 58
18 Japan- 51
19 South Korea- 49

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published at 29.02.2016, 16:40

BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy day two

Thailand reveals its natural splendour to the GS Trophy Teams

It was 'business as usual' at the second day of the International GS Trophy 2016 competition as the heat returned, allowing full access to some memorable tracks and trails, and thrilling special stages that combined to offer all participants a day to remember on the route from Pai to Mae Hong Son.

The team riders experienced the full GS Trophy effect today; if day one had been a gentle introduction, this was a taste of the tough, demanding reality that will be the week ahead. The overall distance might have been short, too, at 170km, but the intensity meant every kilometre was measured if not in blood, then certainly sweat and tears.

Named the ‘Helicopter Trail’, today’s course started gentle, again seeing the competitors ride through quiet rural villages, passing along centuries-old paths between paddy fields, before ascending into the mountains. The high point came at 1,686m, marked by the wreckage of a crashed ‘Huey’ military helicopter that gave today’s course its name, close to the border with Myanmar.

The descent from there proved to be the day’s riding highlight, as the trail grew increasingly steep and technical, narrowing to a single track, then down to a single Metzeler-tyre’s width through the most critical sections. Not all competitors made it through unscathed, but none were injured either. It was intense and increasingly hot work as the temperatures rose, from 20º at the summit to 32º in the valleys.

The first special test of the day, ‘Mai Daeng’, required the competitors to beat the clock as they rode down a bridge embankment, then under the bridge along a rocky riverbed before chasing a zig-zag path up the far side of the valley. Like a special stage in a rally, this was about speed and aggression – and a modicum of calculation, for the teams needed to get all three bikes to the finish without a crash, as a dropped bike would incur a 30-second penalty. Team South Africa were victorious in this one.

Special Test Two, called ‘Do You Know?’, was sprung on the riders randomly during the day as they were challenged on their knowledge of the BMW R 1200 GS motorcycle, including the capacity, horsepower and weight.

A stunning ride through the valleys, with staggering cliff formations and jungle-vistas brought the competitors to the overnight bivouac at Mae Hong Son where the third and final test of the day awaited in mid-30s heat and high humidity.

Simply titled 'Dead End, the teams were shown two parallel single trails about 50 metres long and marked with barrier tape. Starting from one end, two teams at a time faced off against each other with the goal to be the fastest to push all their bikes to the 'dead end', touch tyres and then reverse them back again – all against the clock. With time penalties awarded for touching the barrier tape or going into the other lane, it was certainly harder than it looked, especially in the intense afternoon heat. After all 19 teams had run the gauntlet, it emerged that Team Latin America pushed harder and faster than all the other challengers.

As all the results were compiled after a fantastic evening meal at the bivouac at The Dai resort, it is Team South Africa who lead the Trophy after day two, with Team UK and Team Latin America rounding out the top three.

John Harris, Team South Africa: ”As a team we came together. We had one or two snags along the way but we didn't get upset about it. We stayed motivated, enjoyed it as a team and thoroughly enjoyed the day – that made the difference.”

Catch all the latest updates online at gstrophy.com and also via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Results BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2016 Day Two

1 South Africa - 85
2 UK - 76
3 Latin America - 74
4 China - 69
5 CEEU - 66
6 France - 62
7 Argentina - 61
8 Germany - 60
9 USA - 59
10 Brazil - 57
11 Italy - 55
12 Canada - 52
13 Mexico - 49
14 Russia - 48
15 International Female Team - 29
15 Alps - 29
15 South Korea - 29
15 South East Asia - 29
19 Japan - 27

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