Team South Africa takes the lead.
The desert was calling all participants of the 2018 Int. GS Trophy today as the adventure ride of a lifetime continued on day four of eight, taking in everything that the Gobi had to offer on a 270-kilometre off-road adventure, with a couple of Special Stages thrown in for good measure.
North by northeast.
The Int. GS Trophy circus headed north and east for the first time during the 2018 edition and the participants welcomed cooler temperatures that made for more comfortable riding conditions. Sleep had been hard to find the previous evening due to a lengthy and violent sandstorm that made for a restless night for all the team riders in their tents. But the day dawned calm and despite the threat of rain late in the morning, the distant storm passed by safely, while all the riders enjoyed the 164 kilometre liaison stage to the first Special.
The ride was memorable as it gave the competitors the full Gobi Desert experience, including deep sand and gravel, open plains, canyons and gorges, leading to the first challenging Special of the day, called ‘Lava Canyon’. This was a towing exercise – one of the favourites at every Int. GS Trophy event – where one of the team members uses his R 1200 GS Rallye to tow his team-mate’s bike (with the engine off) over a winding and hilly trail, with the third team member rides alongside. Sounds easy? Most definitely not, as many of the participants found out.
A tow strap was used and the bikes were tied together by the footpegs. With penalty points for missing the marker gates and instant elimination from the Stage if one of the bikes was dropped, the pressure was most certainly on the teams, with many struggling to gain traction in the loose sand and a considerable amount actually failing to complete the course. Even though this was an exercise that all teams would have practised prior to arriving in Mongolia, it still caught many out but provided great entertainment for all those watching. The trio that came out on top in this Special Stage were Team South Africa.
Joshua Crasto, #160, Team India
No rest for the campers.
Following the Special, the participants enjoyed another 100 kilometres of enjoyable, yet challenging Mongolian conditions that took them through arid and increasingly mountainous terrain, with twisting sandy passages beginning to replace the open, straight plains. At the Camp Ongi Ineerge in Nuuts (the destination for the night), there was no time to rest, as the final challenge of the day awaited them. It was called ‘Marmot Challenge’ and as the name suggests, featured one of the Int. GS Trophy sponsor’s most important products – the branded Int. GS Trophy tent.
Linda Steyn, #273, Team EurAfrica
Let’s get it up.
Let’s get it up.
Working in teams, the participants had to build up a packed Int. GS Trophy tent against the clock, then two of the team members needed to get inside it and close it before jumping out and dismantling it as quickly as they could. This exercise provided much amusement to the crowds of onlookers, especially when strong winds played their part in blowing away various pieces of equipment. But in the end the fastest team tent erection was Team EurAfrica who move up the rankings as a result.
The evening meal was followed by some traditional Mongolian entertainment, after which the latest points totals were announced. So, at the halfway point in this year’s competition, it is Team South Africa who lead the ranking, with Korea in second place and Latin America in third (see full points table below). Tomorrow, the Int. GS Trophy continues its journey in a north by northwest direction, with many more Special Stages and some incredible landscapes to add to the excellent mix of adventure riding.