GS TROPHY QUALIFIER: THE BMW EXPERIENCE
This time Autogermana was calling. The destination? Ibague. Piscicola el Carmen’s mx track was the place where the GS Trophy 2015 Qualifier was taking place. This experience requires and looks for highly skilled contestants in a series of individual and group tests, to choose the best 3 who will go on to represent Colombia in Mexico.
The R100GS that Daniel rode in the trophy has been in the family 25 years, his father is the only owner.
The first round of the trophy saw 81 contestants turn into 15 in the second round, which would produce Colombia’s 3 representatives in the Semifinals in México. The finals will take place in 2016 in Asia, where they’ll compete with another 18 teams and for the first time, and an all women’s team.
We take on the adventure with the «Danieles», Pikes peaks competitor Daniel Fernandez riding in a R100GS from 1992, and World Tourer Daniel Velandia – from The World on a Pulsar – and riding instructor por Pura Moto riding in a 1981 R80GS. The classic bikes would be taking on the rest of the GS family, against G650GS, F800GS, and event the mighty R1200GS Adventure WC and all their technological aids, and which made for about 80% of the contestants.
The last day of the qualifier saw the contestants riding on the R1200GS WC. It did not disappoint.
We got to the MX track on Friday and once we registered we went to the camping area where we would be spending the next 3 nights. Camping was one of the contest’s requisites and luckily for the contestants, showers and portable bathrooms were available. There is also a restaurant where we could taste some of the regions cuisine like Lechona, Tamal Tolimense among other. This was included as part of the GS Trophy’s inscription fee.
The group tests consisted of non riding abilities that involved team work, like rowing, carrying the bike and building and Egyptian bridge.
The first night we got used to camping and took rest, as the trip from Medellin was quite a long one. As everyone settled we heard from Nicolas Upequi, Brand Manager for BMW Colombia, who told us about the contest’s dynamics, rules, and overall schedule. 8 a.m. next day we got up for the full instructions and it was time for the «Danieles» to show what they could do. Time to fight for that spot on semifinals.
The seesaw challenge proved to be quite the challenge for some. Daniel Fernandez goes up…
… and down, Daniel Fernandez completes the Seesaw successfully. If not careful falling was really easy so we saw some nasty falls.
Most of the challenges were individual tests, and the group ones served as a way to deduct points from individual players. This played a mayor role in choosing the second day’s 15 contestants, as the scoring method saw some of the favorites being left out. Team work guys. Some challenges like the seesaw consisted in riding the bike from one side to the other without falling, a deep mud pool tested offroad skills, and the ball test required riders to grab a ball with your right hand from a bucket and place it in another bucket a couple feet away, tested the difficulty and seriousness of the Qualifier. At the end of the day you could hear contestants asking each other for the hardest challenges, with the ball test being the ball breaker as it carried the heaviest penalty.
Carrying this tube through the 360 track is a common GS Trophy tests, but that doesn’t detract from it’s difficulty. Here Daniel Velandia made it to day 2.
Sunday started with the group tests, with the navigation test first. The route took around 1:30 to complete. The 3 man group had to use their GPS to make their way. Most contestants were worried cause it had rained ‘til 4 am. All we could do was wait for the challenge to be over and hope for the best. The track took our classic bikes trough gravel, dirt, mud and heavy climbs. Traffic from other teams and GPS navigation and you have a recipe for adrenaline. The results came a couple hours later and Daniel Velandia, on his R80GS, was one of the 15 who made it to day 2.
The obstacle challenge threw sand, tires and logs in the way. Putting your feet down was penalized.
The classic bikes held their own through the weekend, as touring machines and as off-roading beasts. BMW’s quaility comes to show and the Danieles had fun the whole weekend, hardly noticing any disadvantage from competing in this older machines. The bikes that made the GS name legendary are legendary still.
The classic team. The F650GS Funduro, the R80Gs and the R100GS.
The last length of the qualifiers would take place on board 3 R1200GS WC from BMW Motorrad Colombia. Finalists would have to go inside where they couldn’t see the final tests, hence gaining no knowledge nor advantages from other contestants. 9 challenges would decide who would go to Mexico. Some of the tests were the Slalom, where you ride between cones, an obstacle course with sand, tires and logs, an going through wet tree logs set in a diagonal way, assuring the back tire would most likely slip. The hardest one however was the wooden log test, that required riders to ride the log with the front wheel on one side, and the back wheel on the other, basically grinding the skid plate. Only Carlos Mario Lopez, the Trophy’s winner, would be able to accomplish such a feat.
And what better way to show the difficulty of this great event than falls?
So we congratulate the winners from this magnificent event, and thank BMW Motorrad Colombia for having us here.
- Carlos Mario López
- Sergio Piedrahita
- Andrés Cadavid
Good luck in Mexico guys, make us proud.