2020 GS Trophy: South Africa wins NZ off-road rally

Across eight days of intense competition and covering about 2,500 km, South Africa has won the 2020 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, held in New Zealand (NZ). Garnering 394 points, the South Africans beat Team France with 382 points and Team Italy with 380 points.

South Africa was represented by Cobus Theron (age 28), B J Vosloo (34) and Brandon Jason Grimsted (20), while Aurelien Szulek (32), Vincent Debitte (32) and Nicloas Bastin (41) rode for France. Meanwhile, flying the Italian tri-colore were Michele Pradelli (39), Alberto Ballardin (27) and Frederico de Angelis (42).

First time competitors in the GS Trophy Team Malaysia, comprising of Norizuan Abdullah (32) from Perak, Kiang Wei Chan (38) from Sarawak and Zulfakar Mohd Alghaus (31) from Kuala Lumpur come in 18th place with 208 points. A total of 22 teams from 25 nations, including two all-female teams, participated in the off-road enduro race which emphasises riding skills, navigation and team work on the bike.

Riding the BMW Motorrad F 850 GS, teams started from Napier Beach on NZ’s North Island with course distance of 400 km with a water crossing test and South Korea taking honours. The second day saw riders going 360 km from Napier Beach to Castlepoint, split into 180 km of road and 170 km gravel and five special test stages.

Day four had GS Trophy riders transition from North Island to South Island, starting from Wainui on North island to Pelorus Bridge on South Island. France won the day’s 204 km stage, which included a “40 years of BMW GS” history quiz while riders were on the ferry during transition as well as a timed “Mezteler Challenge” for fastest rear wheel change.

On day six, riders started gaining altitude with a 360 km stage from Pelorus Bridge to Punakaiki Beach with 180 km of riding done on mountain tracks. Team South Africa won this stage, followed by France and Italy.

A mountain climb on day seven awaited rider, 375 km from Lake Tekapo to Mt Aspiring with 180 km of riding on mountain track and gravel. South Africa came out on top once again, followed by Italy and France in second and third respectively.

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