The GS Trophy competition intensified today with the 10 teams battling over a 280-km (174-mile) course featuring four special challenges. The UK team came out on top after a disappointing first stage. In yesterday’s navigation challenge, the UK team made a mistake and came in sixth place. But with two wins and a second-place finish in today’s challenges they moved into the lead. Currently the UK team has an impressive 44 points ahead of yesterday’s leading team, South Africa (41 points) and the German team, now in third place (39). Team USA has fallen to seventh place with 27 points.
After fog and rain yesterday, the competitors were now looking forward to blue skies and pleasant temperatures around 23° C (73° F). The day began at 7:15 a.m. with the teams making their way to Jan Randall Tractor Museum where they expected two special stages without a motorcycle. The first was a tractor pull and the the second was maneuvering a tractor tire through a slalom course.
Then the teams crossed the border into Swaziland for two riding tests: through a swamp and then across a river.
Alastair Allan of Team UK said, “We had a good day and together we got it right. The first day was a hard blow for us, so we held a team meeting and decided to attack today. And we will fight to the finish!”
Tractor Pull: 1st Nordic Team, 2nd Team Canada; 3rd Team Spain
Bulldog Tire: 1st Team UK, 2nd Team Spain; 3 Team South Africa
Swamp Crossing: 1st Nordic Team, 2nd Team UK; 3 Team Canada
River crossing: 1st Team UK, 2nd Team Germany; 3 Team Canada
Other highlights: Say cheese!
The competitors have received a friendly reception from locals everywhere. Short breaks have been added to deal with the ever-inquisitive children — and adults. A real revelation was how they were received at the border between South Africa and Swaziland. People told each other jokes and there was a long wait as drivers posed with the border guards.
“We had a lot of fun. There were no problems. People are so happy. The Italian border guards are always so serious, look at you as if they were not sure whether you’re a good person. The people here are friendly, but we are also friendly. They even take photos. This is fun!” says Marco Selvetti, companion of Team Italy.
The Nordic team on top and the bottom
Just like the first place UK team, the Nordic team won two victories, the tractor pull and the swamp crossing. In contrast, they finished last in the other two tests. The ever-smiling Scandinavians blamed their lack of teamwork. “We feel that we are a new team. Sometimes we work together very well, but then it makes itself felt that we have hardly trained together. The tractor pull just went to physical strength, that was easy — we just went as hard as we could, and it worked well. Our problem is that we have not trained in the group. We met only once at the finals in Sweden, and then again at Frankfurt airport on the way here. So it happens that we are sometimes above and sometimes below. Now we will try to achieve consistent results and to improve ourselves continuously,” said Borre Skaiker.
GS Trophy 2010 standings after three days:
- UK, 49 points
- South Africa, 41
- Germany, 39
- Canada, 38
- Spain, 33
- Nordic, 31
- USA, 27
- Italy, 20
- Alps, 17
- Japan, 8