With anticipation and excitement building for the International GS Trophy event that will be starting in South America at the end of November, the latest nation to confirm its team line-up is Italy, after hard-fought qualifying selection trials last weekend. The selection event for the BMW Motorrad Italia team took place in picturesque Tuscany and was hosted at the beautiful Castello di Pomino estate, property of the noble Italian family and world-famous Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi wine makers.
Prior to this weekend, a rigorous online selection process had seen more than 850 candidates register their interest during the months of June and July. From this large number, the best 40 were invited to make the journey to Tuscany to show their own ‘GS Attitude’, with two days of off-road riding, problem-solving skills and unexpected tests to challenge their abilities.
The Jury consisted of technical director Beppe Gualini (well known enduro rider with 10 Paris-Dakar and 65 african races in his career) with his team of instructors, staff from BMW Motorrad Italia, the professional runner and extreme athlete Paolo Venturini and the director of Riders magazine.
The first day’s program included some basic off-road riding tests, followed by a check of participants’ mechanical skills. Then, it was time for some running (3.73 miles/6 km across the hills) to check on general cardiovascular fitness, followed by an interview with a psychologist to check that the candidates had the right ‘mind-set’ for possible team selection. At the end of the first day, only the top 20 were selected and invited to stay on for the second day. They were encouraged to get as much rest as possible and slept out in the countryside in their own tents. However, just after midnight they had a rude awakening and were then faced with a surprise test: to bring a GS up and down a hill, without turning the engine on!
Day two then started nice and early with a program that consisted of more advanced off-road riding than the first day, followed by some orienteering and then a final group task. After the first two tests, representatives from BMW Motorrad Italia then selected the best 10 participants for the final group task: to transport an F800GS high across a canyon in the woods, using only ropes and pulleys.
Despite the high level of talent in this competition and throughout the weekend, only three lucky riders were able to go forward to represent their nation in South America. After much deliberation and discussion, the final decision was taken by the Jury. The Italian team has now been confirmed and will comprise 35-year-old Alessandro Bottani from Genova, Carlo Morini (34) from Imola and Andrea Rossi (25) from Arezzo.
“It was a fantastic event – great to see the high level of competition and passion,” said BMW Motorrad Italia Marketing Manager Salvatore Nanni. “It’s always difficult for those who didn’t make the ‘final cut’ – especially as we have so many talented offroad riders showing their pure “GS attitude” – but I’m sure they will all be following the international competition very closely online in November and December. Good luck to our three winners, no doubt they will do Italy proud out in South America.”