Spe­cial test 1 Spe­cial test 2 Spe­cial test 1 Spe­cial test 2 Spe­cial test 3 Spe­cial test 1 Spe­cial test 2 Spe­cial test 3 Con­tin­ued over Amaz­ing ac­tion at mo­tor­cy­cle­

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - Day one over­all 4th 4th 2nd Day two over­all =10th =3rd 4th 2nd Day three over­all =12th =13th 14th = 4th

Chi­ang Dao to Pai – 180km

Un­der the glare of the TV cam­eras and as­sem­bled me­dia, the 2016 South East Asia BMW GS Tro­phy kicked off in style and with each kilo­me­tre trav­elled the sick­en­ing nerves dis­si­pate, re­placed by ela­tion at the im­mi­nent ad­ven­ture.

Un­ex­pected rain meant a slight tweak to the planned route, but it gave the added ben­e­fit of giv­ing us the chance to see and soak-up Thai­land’s rich cul­ture. From Bud­dhist tem­ples to hill tribe vil­lages, wan­der­ing ele­phants and loung­ing wa­ter buf­falo – it was a fast track in­sight into the beau­ti­ful coun­try.

But within two hours the first Spe­cial Test was upon us. These unique chal­lenges de­fine the event and ul­ti­mately de­cide the win­ner. Points are awarded to each team with first po­si­tion re­ceiv­ing 20 points, sec­ond place 19 points, third po­si­tion 18 and so on. And the first Spe­cial Test was a tough one. Named ‘The Bro­ken Bridge’ each team had to man­han­dle two GSS up a col­lapsed con­crete bridge be­fore hav­ing to launch it off a one me­tre high drop, de­scend an­other step and then push it to the fin­ish line.

Al­though on pa­per, Team UK lacked brute force, as a team we weren’t short of ideas, tech­nique or be­lief. Work­ing like a team that had been to­gether for years, not min­utes, we were mea­sured in our ap­proach and dis­ci­plined in our ex­e­cu­tion set­ting the fourth fastest time of 1m26s for both bikes ahead of the ma­jor­ity of big man power teams.

The sec­ond chal­lenge was a three­rider slow race with each rider timed over a set dis­tance and their times com­bined – the team with the highest time was de­clared the win­ner.

Team UK fin­ished once again rose to the chal­lenge to fin­ish fourth. That gave us a sur­prise plac­ing of sec­ond over­all, ex­ceed­ing our early tar­get to be run­ning in the top ten.

Pai to Mae Hong Son – 170km

For day two, Team UK were paired with day one win­ners, Ar­gentina. Rid­ing with them added an ex­tra level of in­ten­sity, but while the scorch­ing tem­per­a­tures and tech­ni­cal tri­als like sin­gle tracks on the way to the site of a crashed he­li­copter got to our hot- headed ri­vals, Team UK stayed calm to pro­duce an­other solid dis­play.

With three spe­cial tests that in­cluded a quiz, a three man en­duro style race and a tough chal­lenge where three bikes had to be pushed and then re­versed in a straight line against the clock, Team UK held their own once again.

Iden­ti­fy­ing early that the GS Tro­phy was not about win­ning ev­ery stage and that con­sis­tency would be key, we fo­cused on stay­ing calm – a tac­tic that paid div­i­dends and re­sulted in us re­tain­ing sec­ond place be­hind new lead­ers South Africa while early lead­ers Ar­gentina slumped to sev­enth.

Our re­sults and po­si­tion in the over­all stand­ings only fu­elled our be­lief. Our ri­vals had be­gun look­ing at us dif­fer­ently and when a veteran mem­ber of the BMW or­gan­i­sa­tion whis­pered in our ear dur­ing din­ner that his money was on us for over­all vic­tory – the pres­sure was on.

Mae Hong Son to Mae Sar­i­ang – 265km

With pres­sure comes ex­pec­ta­tion, and while Team UK had been the def­i­ni­tion of dis­ci­pline, day three was our day to wob­ble. Three more spe­cial tests meant that there were big points up for grabs. The first chal­lenge was an­other ran­dom quiz where we se­cured a solid re­sult. The sec­ond test was a brak­ing test, the type of chal­lenge the skilled UK team should have ex­celled at, but a small mis­take dropped us down the or­der, los­ing valu­able points. The third test was the re­sult of a photo com­pe­ti­tion. Each team had to take a pic­ture and then get as many votes as pos­si­ble for it on the Gstro­phy web­site. Team UK man­aged an im­pres­sive 592 votes, but fell well short of the win­ners Latin Amer­ica who se­cured 2839 votes.

The dis­ap­point­ing day saw team UK drop down to joint fourth.

Mae Sar­i­ang to Mae Sar­i­ang

There was only one way Team UK were go­ing to re­spond to their hum­bling day three per­for­mance – dig in. Hav­ing seen our place on the podium and ar­guably the chance of a win take a huge blow, it was time to rally. Some­thing we proved to be par­tic­u­larly good at. An­other three Spe­cial Tests made it the chance to score big and un­like the pre­vi­ous days the three tests were all bike, skill and team-work based – play­ing to the

Day 1 – Ele­phant For­est Day 2 – He­li­copter Trail Day one rider brief­ing and the last day of clean kit Day 3 – Moun­tain View Day 4 – Salawin Loop In­cred­i­ble trails and breath­tak­ing views

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