MCN’s GS Trophy Diary: Day One
The 2016 BMW GS Trophy starts here! For those of you who don’t know what it is, click here for a video that shows the intensity of the days ahead.
Essentially it’s a global event with three-rider teams from 19 countries, including Brazil, China, Canada, America and the vast majority of Europe. It’s taking place in Thailand and it’s the biggest GS Trophy to date.
Past challenges have included getting a bike down a river bank, across a river and up the other side to crossing a rope bridge carrying glasses of water with the winner being the team with the most water still in their glasses like It's A Knockout on your 1970s telly!
The British team is made up of Gordon Blackley, James Berrill and Oliver Twig, who all won the chance to represent the UK after an intense two-day selection process run by Simon Pavey and his Off Road Skills team in Wales.
With each three-man team is an embedded journalist – which is where I come in. At this stage no one knows just how involved each team’s journalist will be, but it’s certain that we will ride each and every one of the miles on and off-road throughout the next seven days and will be involved in some of the testing challenges each team has to complete.
In the past the GS Trophy has taken place in South Africa, Chile and Canada, but the word on the street here in Thailand is that this year is going to be different. Instead of big fast, open trails we’re being warned of dusty open trails and tight, technical singletracks making up a large percentage of the riding. It’s also hot here with temperatures in the low to mid 30s, which should make manhandling an R1200GS on technical terrain a challenge in itself.
The journalists from each country have now arrived and we’re waiting for the riders, who land in Bangkok on Saturday and catch another flight up to Chiang Mai. The seven-day event actually kicks off on Sunday.
So now we’re waiting, but for many the challenge has already begun. After travelling for 20 hours there was no air-conditioned hotel room waiting for us. We’re in at the deep end -pointed to a field and told to pitch our tents. I knew we were going to be sleeping in tents during the event itself, but it seems we’ve started a little earlier than I expected!