With only two days to go, the GS Trophy 2016 is seeing the fight to avoid last place intensify…
LAMPHUN, THAILAND — Another hot, dusty day of riding in the longest stage of the GS Trophy 2016 left the members of Team Southeast Asia exhausted by sunset, but the team’s efforts during the special challenges of the day brought home much-needed points.
The route took in a mix of tarmac, soft sand (on which this reporter crashed — twice) and dirt. It took riders through hilly terrain and past the tiny rural communities of northern Thailand.
The first challenge of the day was a “Buffalo” test: riders had to speed down a narrow strip of grass, and spin-turn their bikes around a small rock as if they had just encountered a hostile buffalo. The finishing order was determined by timing.
With a smooth, decently-quick run, the team finished in the middle of the pack and picked up 10 points for their efforts.
Unfortunately, the second challenge of the day saw them down in 19th and last position. Teams had to display their expertise with a BMW Motorrad navigation unit by hunting down clues in a forest.
But amidst the excitement of the competition they began by keying in the wrong starting coordinates and ended up lost for much of their timing. The hunt through the forest in riding gear also left them visibly tired.
Nevertheless, the photo competition from yesterday brought in a nice points haul of 11, courtesy of a ninth-place finish that their photos had scored on the back of 1,187 votes. The first-ever Team China, perhaps unsurprisingly, picked up a record number of votes and along with them, the winning score of 20 points. The team is performing well, and is currently fifth with a strong chance to end up in the top three.
As for Team Southeast Asia, its points tally of 101 puts them more strongly ahead of Teams Japan and Austria-Switzerland, while pulling them clear of the All-Female Team. Yet, all three teams have a real chance of catching the Malaysia-Singapore-Thailand squad, so expect Team Southeast Asia to continue battling hard.
“Today we did well in the morning, but again we made a mistake, on the navigation challenge. We have two more days; no mistakes,” said Faizal Sukree, the team’s Malaysian member. “The most important thing, the team must be relaxed.”
“We kept the same position but at least the All-Female Team dropped back. Korea is only 19 points ahead and there are many points to score tomorrow and the day after,” said Peerapat Woratham, the team’s Thai rider.
The first-ever GS Trophy in Southeast Asia commences its sixth day tomorrow (Friday) and will conclude the day after.
GS Trophy 2016: Day Four: Home team holdss position
GS Trophy 2016 Day Three: Some ground gained, some lost
GS Trophy 2016 Day Two: Southeast Asia overtakes Japan
GS Trophy 2016 Day One: A slow start for Team Southeast Asia
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