2013 GS Challenge
2013 GS Challenge Rallye & 2014 GS Trophy Qualifications
The sun had barely risen over Montreal. We were less than a couple hours away from the official start of the 6th edition of the GS Challenge Canada and you could already feel the energy in the air at the Moto Internationale BMW Motorrad site.
This annual event, which takes place over a two day period and puts to test both the physical and intellectual abilities of its participants, is open to riders of all levels looking for an extra dose of adrenaline. While riding through the magnificent countryside of the North Shore and the South Shore of Montreal, participants must overcome a series of challenges, ranging from caterpillar tasting for the epicureans to climbing an imposing hill strategically nicknamed the Everest for the more adventurous...
For the occasion, two special guests had flown down to help out with the event : Tina Meier (from Germany) & Simon Pavey (from Australia) who attended the Dakar race on 3 and 8 occasions respectively. It goes without saying that their expertise and advice were welcomed by all as they are both highly respected in the field of off-road.
The signal is given and all participants leave the site in teams of two. After eight hours on the stopwatch, the first team shows up at the finish line with a lead of at least one hour on the rest of the group. Logbooks are collected, odometers are read and scores are calculated. The most strategic will take advantage of this lead to rest in preparation of tomorrow’s final while others will get together to discuss the course and its challenges.
Although one could be tempted to consider the speed of execution as an advantage, the precision level in the answers and the technique should not be overlooked. As a matter of fact, one of the two female teams who finished after everyone else managed to secure the 11th and 12th position on a total of 42 participants.
After a friendly BBQ and a few refreshments, troops were on their way home to rest and stock up on energy. The temperature today was ideal for this type of course but tomorrow may be a totally different story since the weather forecast doesn’t seem to be as favorable.
Tomorrow morning, after a few additional challenges, the meter will be reset to "0" and the eight highest scores will advance to the final with the hope of winning the GS Challenge Trophy which will insure its recipient one of the three spots to represent Canada at the World Cup. At the time this was written, the destination for the 2014 final had not yet been announced.
This morning there are two final challenges to take on near the main site before heading out to Ormstown, QC (also known as Hinchinbrooke). Although the weather had cooperated so far, it looks like Mother Nature has a mind of its own because it’s pouring !!! Downpour has hit us for hours on without any trace of a slowdown. Organizers and participants alike enjoy a succulent lunch and refuel on energy because although the technical level of today’s course is much higher than it was yesterday, the condition of the site will clearly bring it up a notch for the participants.
And the final begins in the vicinity of the river: each team of two must first get into waste high water and push downstream and upstream a raft which holds a BMW F800GS exceeding a weight of 200 kg. Subsequently, they must exit the river, pick up a 2nd GS and push it up a muddy course with an elevation, all this without the help of the motor.
The riders seem exhausted, the conditions are atrocious and all the stations are more challenging than expected. Organisers have even cancelled the emergency breaking contest in fear that the participants may injure themselves. However, we are dealing with fearless competitors who are all concentrating on the same thing: winning !!!
Despite the value of the price in stake, which exceeds $20,000, I am pleasantly surprised at how friendly the competition remains and how everyone keeps their chin up through the good and not so good results. The winner is announced, the gifts are raffled off and everyone goes on their own way with a common idea: take a long warm bath.
Although I’m no expert in motorcycles or off-road circuits, I did however enjoy my weekend as a spectator. These riders are true athletes and I lift my hat off to them all.
SIMON PAVEY (AUSTRALIA)
Simon Pavey is back for the second consecutive year and will be the chief judge for the GS Trophy 2014 qualifications.
Motorcycle legend situated in Wales (England)
- 7 times finisher of the Dakar Rally
- Owner and chief instructor of the BMW Motorrad trainings center "Offroad Skills" in Wales, UK
- Trainer of Charley Boorman & Ewan McGregor for their motorcycle adventures "Long way round" and "Long way down"
- Trainer of Charley Boorman for his legendary "Race to Dakar" adventure
- Organizer of the english BMW GS Challenge
TINA MEIER (GERMANY)
Tina Meier, 3 times Dakar participant.