For most Brazilians, the only thing on their mind right now is ‘the beautiful game,’ and understandably so. But despite soccer fever taking over the entire country – and the watching world – during the month of June, there was in fact, another important tournament taking place in Brazil: the GS Trophy national qualifier, where a trio of dedicated GS riders would be selected to represent this huge country at the forthcoming international finals in Canada in September.
Having participated for the first time in 2012 at the previous international GS Trophy in Argentina and Chile, Team Brazil was among the most popular teams in the South American edition of the friendly competition for GS riders worldwide. Bringing fun, energy and lots of laughter to every challenge – as well as getting the party started every evening – the 2012 trio will surely be a hard act to follow. But this didn’t stop a large number of hopefuls making their way to the city of Socorro, in the state of São Paulo, for their chance at winning a place on the international squad.
A sense of adventure and lots of adrenaline-fueled activities were high on the agenda for all the off-road enthusiasts who turned up to this edition of the GS Trophy Qualifier for two days of intense and hard-fought, yet friendly competition in the spectacular scenery in the surrounding areas of Socorro city.
A whole series of tests had been designed to bring out the best team spirit in riders, and show their leadership qualities, as well as their ability to ride a BMW GS to a high level in a variety of situations. On the first day, the participants’ strategic thinking skills were put to the test in an Outdoor Special, where they had to use map reading skills to determine how many activities and checkpoints they would be able to face, depending on the distance they were able to travel and the amount of points and time available.
Some of the activities in this test included sending Morse Code signals to their teammates using only the light from their GS motorcycle; using their GPS to find hidden treasure; and testing their bow and arrow skills with an archery competition. In the afternoon the tests continued, with a Road-book Challenge around some of the nearby villages, designed to challenge the participants’ navigation skills.
Before the day’s riding drew to a close, there was still time for another group activity, and this time it was a good, old-fashioned compass that was required to follow directions to reach the final destination, with various challenges to undertake along the way. These included trying to hit a target by dropping a bag from high up in the air – while on a zip wire!
In the evening, contestants were finally able to relax with a barbecue around a campfire close to the spectacular waterfall of Parque dos Sonhos in Socorro, where they enjoyed sharing stories about their experiences throughout the day. They were also entertained by one of the Team Brazil members from 2012 – Aloisio Frazao – who related tales from his participation at the last International GS Trophy in Argentina and Chile.
Tired but satisfied, everyone slept deeply on the Saturday night, although there was an early start on the Sunday morning for the final group activity of the event – a lap of the lake in teams, carrying a G650GS on a raft. Following this wet challenge (for some!) there were several individual Specials, where the riders had to demonstrate their experience and skills in a variety of complex situations, such as water crossings, deep sandy sections, tire obstacles and steep hill descents without using the brakes.
These final tests were enough to determine the three winners of the Brazilian national GS Trophy qualifier, who were presented with their awards late on the Sunday afternoon. For the winners Alvaro Luiz Scheffer, Cassio de Oliveira Kossatz and Carlos Eduardo Prates Sachs, the real award of course is the opportunity to travel to Canada in September to participate in the international finals, where they will be joined by journalist Trinity Ronzela and compete against the rest of the world as Team Brazil.