• Column: Vir Nakai EP-21

Adventure touring, BMW GS Trophy style

It’s day three at the 2022 BMW GS Trophy in Albania and I got my tent up as the sun went down, after what was a gruelling day of riding the BMW F 850 GS. But when I say gruelling I don’t mean it in a bad way, if you know what I mean. It was a mad day’s ride, but let me not go down that path. What I want to first talk about is just what this week is like at the GS Trophy where rider teams from across the world convene for top honours in what is one of the most challenging adventure touring event organised by a bike maker. BMW Motorrad has been doing this for a while and India has been included in the list of competing countries in the GS Trophy since 2018. The TURBOCHARGED team has ensured you are up to speed on this year’s riders forming Team India in this issue and you can flip to page 70 to know more. I’m going to tell you what our daily routine at the finale looks like.

People start getting at 5am and the first job is to take our tents down and pack them. We also need to gear up and have our bags at the designated spot to be loaded onto the truck. And thumb rule is that the four teams riding out the last load the truck! So riders need to ensure bags are dropped off by 7am. Then it’s breakfast time, with the first set of bikes leaving by 7:45am. We ride with a new country team and new marshal every day, ensuring all riders know each other well.

Before heading out we have a briefing with the Marshal and after a transport section we arrive at a task. Usually, a few teams are ahead of you so it takes a few turns but once it’s time to run the course it’s less than 2-4 minutes and the teams are done. Back on the trail, we ride till about noon and come to our lunch stop. It’s a welcome break as by now hydration packs are running dry and the breakfast has been burnt with all the hard work. Post lunch there is yet another challenge for the teams and more riding (I have noticed the afternoon ride is usually harder with longer sections).

Teams start rolling into camp where they park their bikes and head to pick up their bags. Once bags have been found, tents need to go up so you can peel out of the kit and head for a hot shower before dinner. The day’s results are announced at 8:30pm and the next day’s schedule is put up. It’s then up to the teams to sit and chill or head to their tents to rest, so they can start it all over again the next morning. I am also glad to let you know Team India has been pretty consistent on the trails as well as the special stages. Now that my tent is up and I have smashed out this piece, I must head for dinner as I am famished and walking past the kitchen isn’t helping! Next month is when I give you the full download on the GS Trophy!

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