BMW GS Trophy
Three American riders were selected to defend the U.S. title in the upcoming 2010 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy following arduous and exhaustive qualifying rounds in southern California.
Selection for the American team riders was made during the third annual Adventure Riders Challenge (ARC) and GS Challenge held at BMW Motorrad’s west coast off-road riding facility — RawHyde Adventures — in Castaic, California from April 29 – May 2.
The three riders successfully qualifying to represent Team USA in the International GS Trophy in November in South Africa include winner Iain Glynn, of Seattle, Washington; second-place finisher Bill Dragoo, of Norman, Oklahoma; and third-place finisher Shannon Markle, of Laramie, Wyoming.
To quality for consideration, 65 riders from all over the country participated in the initial ARC which consisted of two segments. The first segment, although not scored, was intended to wear down the participants, develop team skills and test physical stamina.
This was the ‘Renegade Run’ which sent three-man teams down a treacherous ravine after which they were required to hit targets with an air rifle, pistol, knives and a bow and arrow.
The second segment was a much longer course filled with jumps, logs, mud holes, a curved narrow ledge, bridges, sand pits, and other obstacles to test the skills of the most seasoned off-road riders.
Judges scored this second segment based on the riders’ individual performances and deducted points for hitting cones, leaving the course, falling, and touching a foot on the ground.
"The course designers created a test track that almost every entrant could at least finish, but how you rode these sections was scored to find out who could do it the cleanest," commented a top ARC finalist Tom Myers who competed on his BMW HP2 Enduro.
The ARC was open to participants on all brands of motorcycle, but to advance to the GS Challenge to decide what lucky three riders would go to South Africa, only BMW owners were eligible. To this end, the top 20 BMW finalists from the ARC now competed in two rounds of the GS Challenge, all riding identical 2010 BMW R 1200 GS motorcycles.
Final scores were determined by averaging rider performance in the two GS Challenge rounds, rewarding not just off-road skill but endurance and consistency – and luck.
High drama ensued as Touratech-USA president Tom Myers scored highest in a nearly flawless first round, only to have his dreams of riding in South Africa go up in flames in the second round thanks to a fall and a couple of technical errors. (This led to an upset victory for Tom’s co-worker Iain Glynn, who says he’s not at all worried about keeping his job.)
Meanwhile, Glynn, Dragoo and Markle will now prepare to defend the U.S. Team championship in the 2010 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, which this year is being held in South Africa, November 13-21. For first-place finisher Iain Glynn, it was a case of third-time luck at the ARC competition and he’s now looking forward to preparing for South Africa.
"I have a long and sordid history with this event," commented the 25-year-old customer service and technical support representative for Touratech-USA, who rode his 2005 BMW R 1200 GS to a first-place finish. "My goal was not to flip the bike upside down and ruin my weekend. The only reason I won is because I’m short. I could either ride with my feet on the pegs or jump off the motorcycle and disqualify myself!"
For Dragoo, 54, earning a spot on Team USA is a dream come true after his previous attempt at the GS Challenge in Spartanburg two years before. The accomplished rider and journalist/author placed second in the first and second rounds of the GS Trophy Challenge on his R 1200 GS, earning him a coveted place in the team.
"I came into this competition totally relaxed with no real expectation of winning," admitted Dragoo. "In fact, I was coming out of the restroom when they called my name! I was completely surprised!"
Markle, 37, confessed he is the rookie in the group and had entered his first ARC competition on the spur of the moment.
"I’ve only owned my R 1200 GS Adventure since last May," said Markle, "but I bought it from a guy who got it from Brad Hendry’s [a previous Team USA member] shop. I had an opportunity to talk to Brad about his 2008 experiences at the GS Trophy in Tunisia, never realizing that I would later qualify to follow in his footsteps."
For RawHyde Adventures owner Jim Hyde, the 2010 Adventure Riders Challenge and BMW GS Trophy qualifiers were a great success, with a fantastic turnout and close competition all the way.
"We were thrilled to be a part of the International GS Trophy selection process. This year’s event saw competitors arrive from all over the United States to try their best to make the team. Riders came from Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming and Wisconsin. In fact, around 175 people attended, 65 of whom were competing and the other 110 enjoying the entertainment – we even had a contingent of 14 riders from Mexico City who spent a day with us enjoying the competition."
"The scores were not too close for first place in the GS trophy as the winner was nearly 50 points ahead, but second to sixth place finishers were only six points apart. The opportunity to host the trials for the GS Trophy was a real achievement for RawHyde and it was something we’ll be talking about for years to come."
The final word went to Laurence Kuykendall, Community and Communications Manager for BMW Motorrad USA, who knows that some of the toughest challenges imaginable are waiting in South Africa for the three lucky GS riders.
"The competition finalists heading to South Africa will not only need strength and endurance, superior riding skills and guts, but they must also be able to navigate their route ahead, pace themselves and collaborate with teammates," he commented. "Of course, they’ll also need a sense of humour under adversity and extreme conditions. They’re going to battle sun, sand and scorpions in addition to some of the world’s best off-road riders."
For more on the GS Trophy go to www.xplorgs.com