Gobi Oasis, Dalandzadag, Mongolia. While the distance was ‘just’ 234km for today’s stage of the 2018 BMW Motorrad GS Trophy in Mongolia, the fact 190 of those kilometres were off-road meant the intensity for the riders was high.
That said, the day started gently with a scenic ride over rocky outcrops as the course weaved its way out from Camp Tsagaan Survaga toward a huge sand and grass plain, 30km across – an experience that was akin to surfing as the GSs floated over the terrain.
Typically, the semi-desert then changed in nature at the 100km mark, becoming a gravel plain that led to a rock formation in the shape of a camel head, where a special test called “Camel Head” required the teams to ride a sand and rock trials course, this time simultaneously as a team.
Immediately after the test the terrain changed in nature again, this time to deep sand, which required fine balance and throttle control at slow speeds. By now noon had come and gone, and the air temperature was 32o – with no cooling breeze. As the course wound its way up a narrow valley the sand remained deep, deeper still in the dried up river beds, and many a GS rider came to a halt. Teamwork comes to the fore at times like this, as the team members pushed, pulled and helped guide each other through the sand-maze.
The valley led to a high plateau with several rocky outcrops to navigate around before reaching a dry lake (a clay pan) where the riders found special test 5 that required them to ride a tight snaking course against the clock, with a defined stop box at the finish. While again slow speed, this test required fine balance and throttle and clutch control as the fastest riders drifted in and out of the tight turns.
With the afternoon heat staying at the 32o mark the teams were thankful to find a shortish final 50km section along gravel tracks to the finish.
Unfortunately a few riders have fallen today. Each received immediate attention from the professional medical team at the event. They have been transferred to hospital.
The voting on the photo contest has been postponed by 24 hours and voting for the first photo competition will now open at 23:59 Mongolian time on June 5.
BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2018 Central Asia. Day 1 overall standings:
1 USA 33 points
2 Argentina 32
2 Korea 32
4 China 26
4 Latin America 26
4 South Africa 26
4 Germany 26
8 Russia 24
9 France 21
10 Japan 20
11 UK 17
12 India 16
13 Australia 13
13 Canada 13
13 Mexico 13
16 Ausamerica (female team) 12 17 Southeast Asia 11
18 Euafrica (female team) 3
No results were announced today for Day 2.
We will advise of the team points situation in tomorrow’s bulletin.
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