Team South Africa wins the Int. GS Trophy 2020
Coronet Peak, near Queenstown – New Zealand
16 February 2020
After nearly two years of build-up, numerous national qualifying events across five continents and many months of anticipation leading up to the seventh edition of the international finals, it’s hard to believe that the Int. GS Trophy 2020 finally reached its conclusion on 16 February, with a thrilling last day of competition at Coronet Peak, near Queenstown, New Zealand.
This latest chapter in the Int. GS Trophy success story saw a hard-fought victory for Team South Africa, who became champions for the third consecutive time, despite worthy challenges by Teams France and Italy, as well as newcomers The Netherlands, who narrowly missed a podium placing by just five points!
As is the Int. GS Trophy tradition, hard days in the saddle followed early morning wake-up calls for all 66 participants from across the globe, competing in 22 teams of three riders, and accompanied by a journalist representing their nations. Numerous special stages every day kept the level of competition high for these talented amateur BMW F 850 GS riders.
The final riding day from Wanaka to Queenstown took riders through the famous Nevis Valley (New Zealand’s highest road) with multiple water crossings of considerable depth – too deep in fact for the media support vehicles, which needed to bypass the first stage. This first special – entitled ‘Jerrycan Challenge’ – required riding and load-carrying skills of the highest order!
With the top three teams separated by just nine points going into this last day, there was everything to gain – or lose – at the second and final competition stage of the 2020 Int. GS Trophy, especially as double points were being awarded for this tricky parkour course at Coronet Peak ski station. You could feel the tension in the air, as the team that made the least mistakes and dealt with the pressure best over the course of the day would win the Int. GS Trophy.
Even at the conclusion of this final parkour, none of the participants were able to predict whether the South Africans, French or Italians were the ones that had done enough to lift the Trophy. A painful wait was therefore endured by all until the final results were revealed during the closing ceremony. In the end it was Team South Africa who emerged victorious on 394 points, with France and Italy finishing on the podium as worthy Trophy contenders in second (382) and third place (380).