Synopsis of Day 8.
- Location: Chingisiin Khuree, near Ulaanbaatar (N47o48.625’ E106o48.942’)
- Weather: Sun, 23oC Course: 299 km,
- Camp Hoyor Zagal to Chingisiin Khuree
- Terrain: 70% gravel, 10% sand, 20% paved
- Tests: SP20‘MonsterTrial’
- Top three teams: 1 South Africa, 2 USA, 3 France
Chingisiin Khuree, near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. After eight days and 2,350 km the 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy has reached its conclusion back where it began, at Camp Chinisiin Khuree near Ulaanbaatar. And it’s Team South Africa for the second time (having won the 2016 edition in Southeast Asia) who are the champions, having confidently protected the lead they brought into the final day. Team South Africa's victory lap continued with their arrival at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International airport early on Tuesday, 12 June.
Back in Mongolia, Day 8 could have been something of an epilogue, but instead was yet another testing day. It started early, too, with breakfast at 5.30 am to ensure the teams were away promptly at 7 am with nearly 300 km ahead of them, much of it on gravel trails with occasional sand sections. Technical conditions as ever, evidenced by a few falls, showing the ride is never over until the destination is reached.
Once at Chingisiin Khuree the GS riders faced the final hurdle, the ‘Monster Trial’. Here all three team members entered the extended challenge together and riding against the clock rode over various banks, ditches and along a dried- up river bed before taking on three sub-sections which further tested their bike handling skills. These included a full-lock maze section and a GS Trophy favourite, the ‘elephant turn’ (maybe a camel turn given this is Mongolia!) where the riders have to spin turn their GS a full 180 degrees.
With a 43 point advantage going into this test, for Team South Africa the win was theirs to lose, albeit with triple points available they could still be beaten. But being such a well-drilled team this wasn’t going to happen, and true to form they put in an excellent performance, fast, slick and accurate – and calculated, each rider forfeiting two points in the maze when they dabbed (put their foot down) to ensure safe spin turns. It was a performance worthy of champions, albeit they were beaten by Team France who blazed to their second day win to come within two points of overturning Team USA for the runner-up position.
So while Team South Africa again took the winners’ trophies, and Teams USA and France the runners-ups’ trophies none of the GS riders left empty handed as each rider was given the radiator covers from their GS to take home. No ordinary covers, these had been 3D printed in aluminium and machined with their rider number and name integrated into the design. A memento to remind them of eight of the most exciting days in the wilds of Mongolia, an amazing country, on the incomparable GS, an extraordinary motorcycle.
Mark Dickinson, Team South Africa: “It was a good day today. We trained as hard as we could before we came to the event and that has paid off over the days and especially today in the final trial. But equally importantly we’ve had fun and while the whole BMW GS community is like a family we’ve made some especially great friends while we’ve been here. And with the GS Trophy it doesn’t end at the chequered flag, we’ve been exchanging addresses and social media contact information all week and I know we’ll be in touch and making visits on each other in the years to come. We’ve all shared this special experience and that’s created a bond between us. It’s been a great event, and to win again makes it perfect.”
BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2018 Central Asia. Final standings:
- South Africa 338
- USA 286
- France 284
- Latin America 246
- Mexico 236
- Korea 221
- UK 196
- Germany 193
- Russia 171
- Australia 170
- Argentina 162
- Southeast Asia 155
- China 144
- Canada 137
Find all information about the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2018 Central Asia at the dedicated website www.gstrophy.com.