GS Trophy 2012

GS Trophy Day 6

From a rain-soaked Special in the depths of the forest, to a beach race in deep volcanic ash, the sixth competition day of the GS Trophy truly had something for everybody.

Everyone was roused from their slumbers by the traditional noisy wake-up call from organiser Michael – a daily ritual he takes great pleasure in – but it was the sound of rain lashing down on their tents that had many competitors interested to know exactly what was in store for them on this penultimate day of competition.

For the first time this week, there was no need to ride in the morning, which was a relief for many, considering the treacherous conditions. However, riders were expected to attend the briefing for the Special in full riding kit, as they would need the protection offered by their GS boots and Rally 3 suits when they ventured deep into the forest...

Participants huddled together in front of a huge open fireplace to hear the news that they would be taking part in a Navigation Special, where teams would work together to find a series of points of interest, using their Motorrad Navigator GPS system. Taking place on foot, each team was provided with a set of GPS coordinates and was then instructed by their marshall to go to these points, find the most obvious thing to photograph, and then return to the campsite – before moving on to the next waypoint.

Sounds easy? The only problem was that these points of interest, such as a waterfall, wood carving or object, were deep in an overgrown forest, with lush vegetation, thick undergrowth and extremely slippery conditions underfoot due to the continuing heavy rainfall.

This physically exhausting task was hugely entertaining for those not having to take part, especially when teams decided not to trust their natural navigation instincts and choose instead to follow other teams deep into the woods, not knowing if those who they were following really knew if they were on the right track. With just 90 minutes to find all six waypoints, Team Argentina emerged victorious overall, with France and Italy close behind.

Just as the challenge finished, the sun came out, which made the second Special of the day all the more enjoyable. A short-ish liaison to the Lago Calafquen saw the teams enjoy lunch before taking on the 'Beach Race' Special, where each trio of riders had to complete a short circuit against the clock, with the deep volcanic ash surface making traction extremely difficult. It was great to watch, as each team negotiated the tough sand in different ways – some opting for the 'full throttle' approach; and others carefully slipping and sliding their way to the finish line.

What was great to see was the team spirit on show, because no sooner had the first two riders passed the finish, they could be seen running back to come to the assistance of their often stranded team-mate, helping pick their bikes up and literally pushing them to the finish. Despite the lack of sand in Germany, their national team beat all challengers to win this contest. In second place was Team Russia, with Team Alps in third.

Following this entertaining Special, the riders were relieved to find a relaxed and smooth tarmac road all the way to Pucon and the overnight stop at the impressive Magma Lodge, where a beach bar provided all the refreshments and the Lago Villaricca was the perfect place for a quick swim. An added bonus was the arrival of Renan Contar and Danilo Telentino – two BMW R 1200 GS Adventure riders from Brazil – who had been making an overland journey from their hometowns to Ushuaia, had heard via Facebook and a local BMW Motorrad dealer about the GS Trophy taking place in Chile and Argentina, and then made a special detour to meet all the teams here. They were both delighted to receive GS Trophy 2012 t-shirts and caps as a souvenir of their special evening with the group.

Prior to the evening meal in the beachside restaurant, a third Special took place, which required each team to remember the names of the three team members with whom they rode on the second Marathon stage from San Huberta to Peuma Hue. This was followed by the presentation of the results for the second GS Trophy Photo Contest, which saw the French take the honours, in front of Germany and South Africa. The overall scores for the day were then added to the grand total, which saw Team Germany consolidate its lead at the top of the points standings, with Team France and Team Argentina in second and third respectively. However, all could change on the final day of competition tomorrow.

Overall results after day 6

1. Germany – 195
2. France – 177
3. Argentina – 171
4. Italy – 164
5. Team Alps – 159
6. Canada – 158
7. UK – 146
8. South Africa – 136
9. CEEU – 135
10. USA – 134
11. Latin America – 132
12. Russia – 111
13. Brazil – 103
14. Spain – 90
15. Japan – 72