GS Trophy 2012

GS Trophy 2012 – Day 4 As It Happened

It was another amazing GS Trophy day, as the competition reached, and passed its halfway point. From the moment the 'wake-up' call roused the riders from their picture perfect campsite on the shore of Lake Gutierrez in Patagonia, there was a feeling among many that this would be the best day yet – and it did not disappoint.

The action started a little later than usual, giving competitors the chance of an extra hour in their sleeping bags after the exhausting Marathon stage yesterday, but the competition was as intense as ever. A short ride took the Trophy contenders to a local enduro track, which was the venue for the day's first 'Enduro Test' – 20 laps of the track, which was dry, dusty and physically tough to ride. Event organiser Tomm Wolf had sprung this surprise on the competitors but was delighted that they all embraced the challenge with relish, and everyone enjoyed seeing just how capable the F 800 GS machines were with skilled riders at the controls.

Drenched with sweat from their exertions, it was time to get back on the bikes for an thrilling ride through the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huape, a breathtakingly beautiful area that also contains the famous 'black glacier'. This natural landmark is so called because earth and rocks from landslides accumulate on the glacier's ice, forming a layer dark brown in colour which viewed from a distance appears to be black.

To the relief of the competitors, there was no Special stage involving ice anywhere near the glacier, just a picturesque lunchstop and then a return to the Peuma Hue ranch for the penultimate exercise of the day – a technical test involving two F 800 GS bikes and a video, which was played to each team. First, they had 30 seconds to agree on the cause of the two faults shown in the video, and then correct them from one bike to another. With the added pressure of a countdown, and quick hands needed for the tool work, it provided an entertaining spectacle for those who were allowed to watch, although the other teams were not allowed to enter the technical area until it was their turn.

Then, just when they thought they could completely relax with their evening meal – a gourmet barbecue that had been slow-cooking Argentinean meat for several hours – the GS Trophy riders were tasked with presenting the 'best of' their country to the rest of the competitors and the organisers. Entertaining and informative in equal measures, it was a fantastic conclusion to the all-important update of the scores, which saw Team Argentina win the day, but Team Germany retain its lead in the competition, in front of second-placed Argentina and France in third.

Special mention must go to Team USA and Team Argentina, who volunteered their services to help the truck drivers load over 100 GS Trophy kit bags tomorrow morning from 0545. Furthermore, the entire Trophy teams all sent their wishes to Team Canada's Marc Andre who is recuperating in hospital after a crash on the Enduro Test. With day five literally on the horizon, the competitors are sleeping soundly, knowing that another Marathon stage awaits them tomorrow.

Results:

1. Germany – 152
2. Argentina – 143
3. France – 141
4. Italy – 137
5. Canada – 131
6. Team Alps – 129
7. USA – 119
8. UK – 118
9. CEEU – 115
10. South Africa – 111
10. Latin America – 111
12. Brazil – 81
13. Russia – 78
14. Spain – 76
15. Japan – 64