Team AusAmerica wins the day.

An easier than expected day of Int. GS Trophy action.

Despite enforced route changes due to quarantine issues, it was ‘business as usual’ for the participants of the Int. GS Trophy 2018, who still managed to fit in two Special Stages to the day’s proceedings as the event moved east through Mongolia. This kept the leaderboard interesting as the competition finished its sixth consecutive day of eight.

A welcome respite.

The planned route north had to be revised due to the closing of some regions by the Mongolian authorities, but the organisation team were quick to improvise and created a time trial course through some riverside woodland which also offered shade and a welcome respite from the heat. This Special required the team riders to complete a tight, twisty course — one after the other — that wound its way through the woodland. The idea was for each rider to pass the finish line as close in total time to that of his or her team-mates.

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There was no chance to view the course before riding it and so it was down to each individual team to decide their strategy and speed, and then try to match that of their co-riders. Some went fast, but most teams took things slowly as the clock ticked on. There were no penalties, which made it almost impossible for everyone watching to try and work out which of their competitors were doing best. As usual, the results weren’t announced until after the group evening meal, but in the end it was Team AusAmerica who performed best overall in the Special, with the least time difference between all three riders.

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The riders then had the chance to just kick back and relax for a couple of hours while the best route to the overnight camp was planned. It turned out to be a welcome relief for all the participants, who took full advantage of this unplanned pit-stop to spend more time bonding, sharing motorcycling stories or just taking a snooze in the shade of their R 1200 GS Rallyes. Before long though, it was time to hit the road again, and the revised route (unfortunately on asphalt!) took them directly east to Camp Khatan. But on arrival the stunning view overlooking the picturesque Lake Ugij made this ‘tarmac trek’ worthwhile.

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"
Today’s two Special tests were a lot more relaxing than we’ve been used to so far this week but just as enjoyable.
"

Craig Keyworth, #242, Team UK

Shooting straight.

After setting up camp on the shores of ‘Ogli Nuur’ as it is locally known, the participants looked on with interest as the next Special was set up with the help of Mongolian archers. It wasn’t long before each team had bows and arrows in hand and the chance to literally shoot their way up the points table. With arrows flying all over the place and occasionally hitting the targets it was safer to watch this Special Stage from a distance. Eight shots were allowed by each team and when the individual scores were added up, it was Team Canada that emerged as the most promising archers.

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Catch us if you can.

Catch us if you can.

As is the procedure every evening, the overall scores were announced to the eagerly awaiting competitors — and also streamed live on Facebook. After six days of intense competition, Team South Africa continue to hold the overall lead, while Team USA are in second, and Team Mexico rounding out the top three (see full results below).  

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It’s hard to believe but tomorrow will be the penultimate day of the 2018 Int. GS Trophy. The route will continue to twist and turn its way east in the general direction of Ulaanbaatar but there are still plenty of points up for grabs from all the Special Tests that remain — as well as the results of the second photo contest of course.

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Pure thrill every day.

A full program: a lot of challenging special challenges on eight days of riding.

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Suitable motorcycles.