Camp Hoyor Zagal, Mongolia. Day 7 of the 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy saw a return to normal service as the GS riders again took to the off-road trails of Mongolia. Beautiful pistes were ridden that offered a natural flow to the riding while the scenery, as always, delighted. In the morning the riders ascended a mountain saddle which opened onto a wide plain with a wonderfully open but snaking track. In the afternoon came a ride in the valleys, through verdant green pastures between rocky mountain ridges.
Yesterday (Day 6) had been a historic one, as for the first time a female team were the overall winners on the day. Team Ausamerica had placed equal first in the time trial then mastered the archery challenge in the evening, taking the runner-up to give them the day win overall. This followed the first female challenge win that Team Eurafrica had scored earlier in the week. The female teams have certainly found their feet and are proving more than equal to the male teams.
Today, however, was all about the tricolor of Team France as they smashed the first challenge of the day, a slow race, with an innovative approach where they linked their three bikes (placing feet on each others’ crash bars) and thus braced could inch along, or stand perfectly still almost indefinitely – clever thinking! And they backed this up with clever riding too, as they then won the afternoon’s special test, the Shell Challenge, which required them to ride a trials course two- up, with the passenger carrying two petrol cans – three times as the riders and passengers changed places each lap.
Significantly Team USA also had a great day while Team South Africa had their worst and so USA has closed the gap to 43 points going into the final day of the competition – with a maximum of 75 points available in the final day’s super test.
But such is the nature of the International GS Trophy the participants are taking the attitude that what will be will be, and far from retiring to their tents for a good nights sleep, tonight they’re partying into the night as the music plays loud on the terrace at Camp Hoyor Zagal.
Chris Meyer, South Africa: “We’ve had an amazing week. The highlight today for us was the trails, nice and flowing, and we kept to a good speed all day. Plus we had Team Japan for company, those guys are so much fun, always smiling, and they were riding well. Overall this GS Trophy has definitely been an experience of a lifetime, we’ve enjoyed it so much. Every day it’s changed, and the trails have been everything, sometimes flowing, sometimes twisty, going across vast plains one moment, up mountains the next, and going from gravel to sand in an instant, you need to stay alert. And it’s great to have the GS Rallye for this event, it’s the bike I have at home, and it rides so well, well balanced with great suspension. If you want to ride off-road it’s the bike to have. Tough too – we’ve dropped them countless times and they just keep going!”
Julia Maguire, Team Ausamerica: “For us yesterday was awesome. We enjoyed the trial in the woods and we were really stoked to win that jointly with Team USA. In the archery Bettina scored the only bullseye of the challenge, and while Canada beat us in that, it was enough for the overall day win which was extremely exciting, hence we were dancing a lot when the results came out! The week has been phenomenal, the people, the landscapes, the kids who would run up to us at the petrol stations, grinning their heads off, people hanging out the window of their cars waving and flashing their lights as they drove towards us! It’s been the adventure of a lifetime and so memorable for all three of us, our only low has been losing Jamie our journalist to injury on day two.”
Andres Junco, Team Argentina: “We’ve had highs and lows, made some very big mistakes in the challenges; our best performance was in the navigation, up and down the cliffs on day one – we almost died though, it was so physically tough! But we’ve enjoyed it all and learned so much riding behind the marshals. Mongolia has been an amazing country, a special place to explore with my friends from my own country and others from around the world. For us this event has shown us how the world could be, we have people here from different countries, we speak different languages – for instance we spent a day with Team Korea we couldn’t understand a word of each other’s language and yet we laughed like kids – so the friendship with the riders from all around the world, this has been the most important thing.”
BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2018 Central Asia. Day 7 overall standings:
1 South Africa 278
2 USA 235
3 France 209
4 Latin America 201
5 Mexico 200
6 Korea 182
7 UK 166
8 Russia 162
9 Germany 160
10 Argentina 141
11 Southeast Asia 131
12 Australia 128
13 Ausamerica 122
14 Canada 119
15 China 117
16 Japan 110
16 Eurafrica 110
18 India 98