Team UK deliver the goods once again to retain place on the podium
The fifth stage of the BMW GS Trophy was arguably the toughest yet. While the riding itself was not hugely technical it was a long day of 270km, which due to the terrain and dust took teams in excess of ten hours to complete.
For the first time during the event, there were a lot of tired and fatigued looking people at breakfast – a trait that continued throughout the day. Unlike earlier in the week where riders were up on the pegs and riding with purpose, today was characterized by an increased number of mistakes in both the riding itself and the special tests.
The first special saw each team line up behind each other and then one at a time accelerate hard before spinning the bike round a big rock 180 degrees and accelerating back to their waiting team-mate. Once back the second team member did the same exercise and then the third.
Following yesterday's overall victory, Team UK continued to impress with a calm and measured test that placed them fourth fastest, behind South Africa, Germany and Italy.
The second challenge of the day was a navigational event, done on foot with each team having to run around a rocky hillside complete with water fall to find GPS coordinates that then had to be programmed into the sat nav to get to the next point. Team UK may not be the biggest or strongest team at the GS Trophy, but it turns out that we are one of the fastest and most organised. Complete with their embedded journalist – MCN’s Michael Guy, Team UK won the navigation test – our first stage win of the GS Trophy to date.
The final test was the result of the GS Trophy photo competition where teams have to take and post a photo and try to get as many votes for it as possible. Team UK received an impressive 827 votes, but unfortunately our biggest rivals Latin America, Germany and South Africa scored big with China winning the contest with a massive 7,607 votes.
The net result is that Team UK retain their position on the podium, 20 points behind leaders South Africa and four points behind Germany in second. Latin America are now four points behind Team UK in fourth.
The penultimate day of the 2016 GS Trophy will see teams travel 140km from Doi Inthanon to Che Son. The stage is being billed as the toughest and most technical of this year's event with a particularly tough 10km single track. Team UK will be riding with event leaders South Africa on the stage.
Overall results after day 5
South Africa – 214
Germany – 200
UK – 194
Latin America – 190
China – 182