Another team has been chosen for the International GS Trophy 2014. This time it was the Italian’s turn to host their national selection event for the BMW Motorrad off-road competition which takes place every two years. Hopefuls were selected after a two-day event that took place in the middle of Tuscany, hosted by the beautiful Castello di Pomino estate. This is also the official location of the GS Academy – the off-road school where Italian GS riders, from beginners to advanced level, learn their craft.
The first phase of the selection process had already taken place throughout the year, during GS Academy courses and between members of the Italian GS community. A large number of riders were eventually filtered down to the best 40, who were subsequently invited to show their own ‘GS Attitude’ by competing in off-road riding challenges, problem-solving tasks and unexpected skills tests.
The first day’s program consisted of basic off-road riding challenges, mechanical skills tests, personal fitness challenges and even an interview with a psychologist to determine mental as well as physical strengths. At the end of a grueling first day, the group was effectively cut in half, and only the top 20 performers were invited to stay and compete on the second day.
There was no luxury hotel accommodation provided though; they were expected to pitch their own tents and sleep out under the stars, although a deep and peaceful rest was the last thing on the minds of the organizers. Around midnight, all the participants were woken up to face an unexpected and surprising ‘extra’ test: to bring a BMW GS bike up and down a hill, without being able to turn the ignition on and use the engine power.
For those ready to face the action on day two, the program consisted of additional off-road riding challenges – but this time at a more advanced level – orienteering, and a final group task. This took place after the first two tests, where the best 10 performers were selected to bring a bike across a kind of canyon in the woods, using ropes and pulleys accompanied by heavy rain and the difficulties that this brings.
Once all challenges were complete, the final decision to pick the top three riders was made by a jury comprising the team of instructors, staff from BMW Motorrad Italia, and legendary enduro competitor and former Paris-Dakar rider Beppe Gualini, the Technical Director of the Italian GS Academy and one of the organizers of the first ever International GS Trophy back in 2008.
After careful deliberation, a trio of riders was picked to represent Italy in the 2014 international competition. They are 47-year-old Ugo Carlo Bronzoni from Parma; 29-year-old Alessandro Bustacchini from Ravenna; and Nicola Di Piero, also 29, from Ancona. These three lucky riders will join an event next year with like-minded GS fanatics from all over the world, where they will have a chance to live their dreams in this unique competition.
In 2012, the International GS Trophy took place in South America, where 15 teams with riders representing 19 nations got together for a seven-day, 2,000 kilometer adventure across the Andean high country of the Chile-Argentina borderlands. The venue for the 2014 event is expected to be announced shortly and it is rumored that it will be taking place in the northern hemisphere for the first time. In the meantime, countries all around the world are hosting qualifying events to find the best GS riders to represent their nation against the ‘best of the rest’ from the six continents.