The BMW GS Trophy is BMW’s showcase event for BMW GS riders from all over the world. In order to qualify for the international event you have to enter the national qualifier in your country. The top three men at the qualifier form the national men’s team. In August 2017 the top 3 men to form team South Africa were, Mark Dickinson, Eugene Fourie and Chris Meyer. Likewise, the top two women qualify to compete in the international female qualifier. For the women of South Africa it was Ezelda van Jaarsveld and Linda Steyn.
The international qualifier took place during November 2017 and the top six women formed two international female teams. Both Ezelda and Linda qualified for the international female team and were teamed with a French lady Sonia Barbot, forming team EurAfrica.
Following many months of serious training for the teams it was time for the international GS Trophy in June 2018. For the 2018 Trophy BMW decided on Mongolia, a vast beautiful country with stunning riding terrain. The GS Trophy is not a race. Every day the competitors have to ride through some extremely tough terrain and during the course of day 2, special stages were set out to test the riding and other skills of the teams.
Upon reaching the camp, the competitors would have to pitch their own tent, which would also have to be taken down again the following morning, before the day’s riding. Each morning the next stretch of riding would start around 7am. This meant that sleep was never enough and the importance of arriving with the least amount of “jet lag” is very important.
To help prevent the effects of jet lag and get the best quality of sleep they could in the limited time they had, the five South African competitors used SleepSpec. These are scientifically engineered glasses that help the body regulate its internal clock, the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the 24-hour functioning of body rhythms in which functions such as sleep, wakefulness and energy are regulated and adapted to suit different times of the day/night. The SleepSpec glasses helped the team reduce the effects of jetlag and helped them start each day with loads of energy!
Challenges were designed in such a way that a whole variety of skills were tested in team format. Working together as a team was extremely important. During the BMW GS Trophy 2018, competitors were faced with riding, navigation and physical challenges and were even tested on their bow and arrow skills. Community support for the teams were also “tested” with two photo challenges.
At the end of each day, each team would end with a ranking for the day’s skills challenges and this would be converted to points. The team with the most points after 8 very tough riding days would come out on top to win the challenge.
Team SA (men) came out on top after the 8 gruelling days of riding. Team EurAfrica managed to secure a 17th position.