Sanket Shanbhag from Satara, Suprej Venkat from Coimbatore and Winston Lee from Mumbai emerged victorious during the National Qualifiers. The three riders will be representing the country at the 6th edition of the International GS Trophy event in Mongolia. The competition was fierce among the 40 odd participants who competed for the top spots in the event that was held in India for the very first time.
The off-roading contest’s final international round will be held by BMW exclusively for BMW GS owners (BMW’s off-roading range). For those who aren’t familiar, the GS trophy is an event where riders participate in an endurance-testing offroading competition. In the international event, the participants will ride for nearly 2000km, mostly off-road, while competing in a series of challenges designed to test practical, navigational and team coordination abilities on the move.
Since it was the very first time the event was held here in India, not many applications were expected. The organisers expected not more than 20 participants but the response was so overwhelming that they eventually had to stop accepting applications as they couldn’t accommodate more participants.
The three-day qualifying event that was held in Goa witnessed immense variety in participants too, right from veterans in offroading to novice with bikes only a few months old. All that one had to do to participate was own a BMW GS off-roading bike and be an Indian citizen.
The qualifying contest was designed to test the rider’s endurance and skillset. On the first day of the three-day show, international Motorrad instructors trained the participants. The second day saw the national qualifiers for India. During the qualifying rounds, challenges were set up to test the off-roading ability of the rider in events like slalom, parallel log riding, walking the bike over stones, making the bike stop on a slope, the coffee grinder challenge along with the elephant turn, tyre mamba, slow racing and walking a circle. These challenges are used internationally to pick out the best riders from each country to represent their nation in the international championship. The final day ended with the announcement of the winners who will now go on to make ‘Team India’.
All three riders will be flown to Mongolia for the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2018, which will be held over 10 days. 7 of these days will be meant for riding, 2 days will be for in and outbound journey and a day is reserved for briefings.The riders will also be presented with a brand new BMW GS motorcycle for the duration of the event so that they don’t have to worry about bearing the costs in case of any damage during the competition. They will also be provided with official BMW Motorrad riding gear to keep them at bay from any serious injuries if they crash or fall. The challenges will be tougher and the stakes will be higher when Team India competes against teams from several countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Russia, Southeast Asia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The BMW initiative, which isn’t even a decade old yet, has proven itself to be successful, with BMW riders coming together from all parts of the nation to bond and share their riding spirit. Considering that BMW Motorrad currently doesn’t have that many dealerships in the country, it will help them further expand their demand and fan base in the country.