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BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2022 Southeast Europe. Day 3.

A game of two halves.

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Recap of Day 3.

Location: Farma Sotira, Albania

Weather: Sun and cloud, 18-26ºC

Course: 200km: Lake Ohrid to Farma Sotira

Terrain types: Tarmac 80km, mountain/forest trails 120km

Tests: SP1: ADVANTEC Challenge, SP2: LEATT Enduro Trophy

Top three male teams:
1. UK, 2. Thailand, 3. South Africa

Top three female teams:
1. Germany, 2. South Africa, 3. Mexico

 

 

Farma Sotira, Albania. The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2022 set off south today, at a pace! With 200km to cover and with 120 of those on forest and mountain trails, there was a definite sense of purpose to the day. The GS riders pushing on when riding the flowing mountain pistes and fighting for every inch in the rocky and muddy forest trails.  

 

The day started comfortably enough, following a ridge-line trail into the hills above Lake Ohrid. Wide, flowing trails over a base of well-compacted red earth lent well to the BMW R 1250 GSs forte of making smooth, efficient progress.

 

Within half an hour the GS riders rode into their first special test of the day, the ADVANTEC challenge. Here the entire team had to ride into a 15 x 15m enclosure set on a pasture, collect a bottle of ADVANTEC oil from a marshal then pass it from one rider to the next, while moving, without putting a foot down – or crashing. Only when the third rider had the bottle in his safe keeping could the three leave the enclosure and stop the clock. An excellent test of machine control and rider awareness, planning too.

 

After this the riders rejoined the highway for a liaison section, which like so much of the GS Trophy route brought the riders into contact with various aspects of Albanian life. As ever, there were so many variations in personal transport, from donkey, to a motorized fruit stall, through to executive cars. Always though, cheerful, polite and engaging people – even the policemen (don’t ask!).  

 

The second half of the morning saw the GS riders head into the mountains on more flowing trails. These were well maintained gravel tracks that climbed into the mountains and passed through pine forests, at one point briefly stopping at an 18th century monastery set on one particular peak. The riders were then treated to a road ride they won’t forget. Riding a perfect ribbon of tarmac that wove its way through the mountains, up, down, left, right, never a straight longer than 100 metres – again, an active kind of riding in which the BMW R 1250 GS excels.

 

After stopping for a sandwich in a high meadow, the GS riders proceeded into the second half of the day – and an entirely different experience. Now they were riding in native forest with all manner of deciduous trees, which created a cool canopy but had also retained so much rainwater on the forest floor, and more particularly on the narrow tracks that fought their way through the undergrowth. After enjoying rally type pistes and very nearly a road race track in the morning, the riders were now faced with serious enduro conditions.

 

Naturally this brought out their sportive nature and the riders relished the challenge of the sustained, steep rocky climbs and never-ending deep mud holes that littered the track. There was even a deep-water river crossing. It was, in short, a fight to the end, one that put a sweat on the riders’ brows and brought a smile to their faces.

 

So, after nearly nine hours of some of the best riding we’ve seen in the GS Trophy, from any editions, the riders arrived at the second test of the day, just minutes from the night’s camp at Farma Sotira, near the Greek border. The ‘LEATT Enduro Trophy’ properly met the mood, requiring all team riders to enter a short enduro-style course set around a rocky outcrop. Given their day’s experiences, and clearly feeling ‘on point’ the teams rode the test with some vigour, ‘full gas’ as the saying goes.

 

Tomorrow the GS Trophy sees a new experience, a ‘loop’ day, starting and finishing at Farma Sotira. The shortest day of the competition but quite probably the most technical. 

 

 

Quotes:

Jim Duplease, Team USA: “Today has been beyond epic, beyond my expectations. This whole trip has been insane! I can’t believe the pace we’ve been carrying, I was kind of worried it would be more of a tour but today has been an all-out speed-mashing day, so I’m beyond stoked to be here. I don’t even care how we get on in the competition because this experience delivers. It’s not about the competition really, it’s about finding people from other countries and sharing with them, like the guys from South Korea, they ride really well so I’m glad we rode with them today ­– and our marshal was on fire! It was simply epic.”

 

Tim Schlage, Team Germany: “What a day! Lots of water. Some clear water in the river crossing, but then so much dirty water – big holes, 50-60cm deep, then so much mud. And great hills, so rocky so technical – I love it! It was a very, very hard day. As well we were riding with Team UK and we had a great marshal, so we had a perfect level of riding today. And our camp tonight, we’re in a field with horses, sheep, ducks, chickens – it’s a unique, fun atmosphere!”

 

 

BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2022

Southeast Europe.

Day 3 overall standings:

 

Male Teams:

1. United Kingdom 112 points

2. Thailand 100

3. Germany 87

4. South Africa 78

5. USA 62

6. China 2022 61

7. South Korea 58

8. Japan 57

9. Netherlands 56

10. China 2020 53

11. India 51        

12. Brazil 50

13. Latin America 43

14. Mexico 34

15. France 33

 

Female Teams:

1. Germany 137

2. South Africa 119

3. Mexico 111

4. France 103

5. Latin America 87

6. Brazil 71

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