After 320 km (200 miles) and two special tests this day, there are three teams who have a good chance of willing the 2010 GS Trophy. The winner of the day was Team Nordic which is now tied for second with Team South Africa in the overall rankings. As we prepare for the final day of competition these two teams are just five points behind the leaders, Team UK.
Today’s stage was one of the longest of GS Trophy. The participants started from the Pongola Game Reserve, where a herd of giraffes made for a spectacular natural wonder. From here the route ran west on gravel roads over a mountain pass and then down into the lowlands to Amersfoort and back to the location of the first special tests at the end of the first stage, Country Trax.
The first special of this day was called “foxhole.” The competitors had to push their bikes through access tunnels located under a railway line. A slight slope, as well as moss and water on the concrete, made the task more difficult. Team UK was the best here with an 11 second lead over the second-placed Spanish team. Team Nordic and Team South Africa followed in third and fourth places.
The second special test was a slow race on the grounds of the Country Trax estate. Here the U.S. Team had its first victory of the week. The Americans managed to keep their balance and follow a route for almost one minute longer than the two teams who tied for second, Team South Africa and Team Nordic. A driver from the UK team stalled his machine immediately after the start. With Team UK unable to make up the lost time, they ranked sixth.
“It went very well for us in the ‘foxhole,’ and we would have been even faster if I hadn’t pushed my bike with first gear engaged. Then went Per (Wallin) who did a great job with the slow race bringing us onto the podium,” said Jussi Ali-Lekkala of Team Nordic. “The trials test tomorrow that is super exciting. We have gone through it again tonight. We believe we can do it but we’ll have to be absolutely focused. This will be a tough battle with the UK team because I know they have a trials driver. The fight will be decided in my opinion at the start.”
Special Test Results:
Foxhole: 1st Team UK, 2nd Team Spain, 3rd Team Nordic
Slow Race: 1st Team USA, 2nd Team South Africa and Team Nordic
First victory for Team USA
The winners of the 2008 GS Trophy, Team USA, had to wait until this penultimate day to win one of the special tests of 2010. With the Slow Race it was finally time. The Americans were modest and commented on their achievement even with self-mockery. “This test was appropriate for us because it met our style of driving — we drive slowly and carefully — and none of us is hurt,” said Shannon Markle.
Journalist of Team UK unhurt after serious crash
Warren Pole, the journalist with the UK team, is lucky he was unhurt after a serious high-speed crash on gravel. He was also relieved because he, along with former tennis ace Martina Navratilova, plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in two weeks. “A large stone started a kind of tankslapper on my bike,” said Warren Pole “Then I bumped into more rocks — and that was my great misfortune. I fell and rolled several times. I think I remember seeing a bike flying through the air. The GS Trophy doctor who came about three minutes later gave me first-class care. And I must say that the clothes [BMW Motorcycle Rallye 3 suit] worked great. When I was just about to be taken away by car, our guide Dalli came over and said that it was only 40 km to the goal and he would like to take me on his bike. I thought, what a nice touch.”
Overall Standings After Stage 5
1. UK, 134 points
2. South Africa, 129
2. Nordic, 129
4. Canada, 107
5. Spain, 98
6. USA, 97
7. Alps, 94
8. Germany, 89
9. Italy, 79
10. Japan, 49