GS Trophy 2010, Stage 4. The Growing Challenge.

GS Trophy 2010, Stage 4. The Growing Challenge.

BMW GS Trophy 2010, Day 5. The challenge is growing.

The fight over the GS Trophy is always exciting. With only two days left in the competition, the teams chipped away at the lead held by the UK with the five closest separated by only six points.

This day was relatively short — covering just 160 km (100 miles) — but it was mostly through sand which proved to be another grueling day. This is evidenced by the injury list which has grown.

After heavy rains overnight, the start was delayed slightly in the morning. The competitors spent the night on the beach overlooking the Indian Ocean listening to the rain pour down on their one-man tents. The tents held up but dismantling the camp was a very wet affair — and could easily have been an endurance test as part of the competition.

The rain had flooded the courses which were scheduled for the second special test of the day. Today’s distributed points therefore resulted from a driving test, the “elephants turn,” and the outcome of the first photo competition.

For the elephants turn, three drivers from each team had to ride 25 yards, then make a very tight U-turn (as would be necessary if confronted by an angry bull elephant) and ride back the 25 yards. The difficulty was increased by the fact that the examination took place in deep sand. The winning team was Spain, followed by Team South Africa and the Nordic team. The UK team was 15 seconds off the lead pace and ended up in eighth place.

For the photo competition, the Nordic team was the winner with a dynamic photo of Per Wallin making a nearly clean jump with his F800GS next to team-mate Jussi Ali-Lekkala on the first day of the GS Trophy.

Unfortunately, Yoshio Nakai from Team Japan team will retire from competition tomorrow due to a torn ligament in his right foot suffered during yesterday’s sand test. His team-mate Shigechika Aikawa could not finish today’s stage after a fall in which he injured his right foot. Aikawa hopes to receive permission from the doctor to ride tomorrow.

Special Test Results:

Elephants Turn: 1st Team Spain, 2nd Team South Africa; 3rd Nordic Team
Photo Competition: 1st Nordic Team, 2nd Team Canada; 3rd Team South Africa

Other Highlights:

Team UK and Nordic Team take a sand bath
The two most promising contenders rode together in a group today and, as expected, both were keen to explore how far the other team’s riding skills would go. Warren Pole, the journalist from the UK team (who travels with the team), recalls, “Considering that this was a short day, it felt quite long. Team UK and the Nordic Team were a great combination out there in the sand. I had no chance to stay even somewhat close…”

Team USA: The score does not reflect the skill level
That Team USA is currently in 7th does not reflect their real performance in this GS Trophy. The team has considerable driving skills. Bill Dragoo, Iain Glynn and Shannon Markle have shown plenty of good humor and friendliness and proved to be three excellent ambassadors for their country. But since their success in the navigation test on the first stage, they’ve found themselves out of the top three positions.

Bill Dragoo of Team USA tries to explain, “We’ve had a lot of fun. Our score does not reflect our skill level, our emotions and so on. Small errors add up easily to large deficits in the overall standings. We’ve had no injuries or bad falls and suffered only a few minor injuries. We drive as fast or as slow as we want. And we’re very pleased with the experience.

Overall standings after Stage 4:

1. UK 83 points
2. South Africa 80
2. Nordic 80
4. Canada 77
5. Spain 70
6. Germany 69
7. USA 57
8. Alps 52
9. Italy 44
10. Japan 32

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