All the line-ups for the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2010 have now been confirmed. The last team were the Italians which were selected at the BMW GS Academy in Tuscany. Now that the final selections have taken place, a total of 10 teams from 13 different countries will join the Challenge in southern Africa next month.
This compares to just five countries which competed when BMW Motorrad launched the inaugural GS Trophy event in 2008. It was developed to appeal to off-road addicts and adventure motorcycling lovers worldwide, who wanted to measure their abilities and be part of a team to represent their country against other riders from across the globe who all shared the same dream. This event, taking place among the dunes and oasis in the desert in Tunisia was a big success. This year teams will be competing in the deepest parts of the African continent. South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique will be the landscape for this second international competition, held amidst breathtaking scenery and featuring challenging tests.
The USA was the winner of the first GS Trophy but this year there will be teams from Spain, Japan, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and Italy, all hoping that they can wrestle the crown away from the Americans. In 2008 the Italian team finished fourth, but this year is naturally aiming for the top spot.
The final selection trails for the Italian team were held at the BMW GS Academy off-road school in Castelfalfi (Florence). On the Saturday morning, 40 hopeful participants met up to compete, all with the same aim — to be part of the Italian GS Trophy team picked to take on the rest of the world in southern Africa. The 40 hopefuls had been pre-selected during various GS Academy events and had been shortlisted by former Dakar racer and technical director of the GS Academy, Beppe Gualini. However, everybody knew that only three of them would make it through to the final cut, and have the chance to take part in the forthcoming South African adventure.
The selection procedure consisted of the following tests and trials:
- A Riding Test, where participants contested two different routes: a 2.5 km (1.5 mile) circuit that had to be ridden at an increasing speed; and a technical circuit comprised of climbs, descents and tight turns that would allow the judges to evaluate riders’ technical abilities.
- A Mechanical Test, because of the vital importance of being familiar with the mechanical parts of the motorcycle and having the ability to make quick repairs if necessary. In this case, challengers had to dismantle and remount the front and back wheels, change the tires and replace various levers.
- A Physical Test that consisted of a 5.5 km (3.4 mile) cross-country race with orientation test, characterized by 600 meters (2000 feet) of altitude change that tested the participants’ fitness levels accordingly.
- A Language Test that comprised various conversations in English in order to evaluate their knowledge of the foreign language.
There was also a final test that was designed to evaluate how participants worked in group situations. Teams of four were expected to push a BMW Enduro motorcycle around an off-road circuit that included severe climbs and descents. Participants were then judged on their ability to work in groups, how they dealt with stressful situations, and which ones emerged as natural leaders.
In the end, there could only be three winners in the Italian national qualifier and the lucky trio who will be participating in the international African competition next month will actually be representing the whole of Italy — both geographically and spiritually — as they come from different areas that encompass the north, the south and the center of the country.
The final participants chosen were Daniele Fontani from Anghiari (Arezzo); Marco De Muri from Thiene (Vicenza); and Gaetano De Filippo from San Marco Evangelista (Caserta). Along with the rest of the international team members, these three will be looking forward with excitement, trepidation and wonder to the departure for South Africa early next month, when each team will meet up for the Main Event, which begins on November 13. Stop back here and we’ll have all the news as it happens.