Team UK clinches joint second in BMW GS Trophy!

Published: 05 March 2016

After seven days of competition, 18 special stages and nearly 900 miles of off-road riding, Team UK have clinched joint second position in the 2016 BMW GS Trophy. The UK team, which was made up of James Berrill, Oliver Twigg and Gordon Blackley took on 19 teams from around the globe over the 18 special stages – winning two of them and winning two days outright. 

Adopting a strategy of measured aggression and consistency, Team UK were front runners throughout the event – starting off in second position and never dropping out of the top six, before fighting back to a podium position before tying with Germany in second place overall with a brilliant result in the final Special Stage of the event. 

Despite the impressive result the event was marred by controversy following a towing Special Stage on the penultimate day of competition. Team UK who were riding with the South African team, initially struggled in the challenge which involved towing a bike up a steep hill, but soon regained their composure completed the course, turning around in the correct place before picking up some serious speed on the return part of the course. Team South Africa then attempted their towing special challenge, but went the wrong way, crashed and failed the task. They sighted ambiguity in the instructions given before the start of the challenge and subsequently protested the result with the marshal and event organisers. 

The second Special test of the penultimate day was a mechanical challenge where the teams were faced with three 1200GS’ that has to have their front wheels swapped around. Team UK rose to the challenge and under the expert instruction of James Berrill, performed brilliantly to win the task ahead of South Africa, whist seriously impressing the full time factory BMW technicians who were judging the event. The result meant that the gap had closed to both Germany and South Africa and this in addition to the points Team UK had expected to gain on South Africa following their failure in the Towing Special test meant that it should have been all to play for on the final day. But controversially, following the South Africa protest the result of the towing stage was cancelled meaning all the teams scored no points. This left both the German and UK teams furious at the decision and prevented the scenario of three teams heading in to the final day separated by just a handful of points. 

Despite a counter protest from the German and UK teams, which was subsequently rejected, the UK team refused to let their heads drop and fought until the last meters of the final Special Stage in order to finish second overall. 

GS TROPHY 2016 SOUTHEAST ASIA FINAL STANDINGS

1 South Africa 299
2= UK 268
2= Germany 268
4 CEEU 254
5 Latin America 244
6 Brazil 242
7 China 234
8 USA 229
9 France 208
10 Italy 200
11 Argentina 188
12 Mexico 181
13 Russia 180
14 Canada 176
15 South Korea 146
16= Japan 138
16= Southeast Asia 138
18 Alps 117
19 All Female Team 116