GS competitors challenged to a slow race.
The 2017 GS Challenge, a major competition to crown the best BMW GS motorcycle riders, took place in Hinchinbrooke from May 19 – 21st.
Eric and Ariane Pritchard hosted the challenge at their farm on Gore Road, while Charles Gref and Raynald Gauvreau organized the weekend of heated competition that drew 35 men and 8 women to contend. The event was a qualification to the Canadian final in Fundy, New Brunswick, which will take place next August and eventually take the winners to the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the challenge hosted by Moto Internationale / BMW Motorrad Montreal. The competition happened over three days and two nights where GS riders were obliged to camp in chilly and buggy conditions, complete with an invigorating morning wake up call from President Charles Gref on his noisy BMW HP2 at 5am. The organizers were undoubtedly happy to be housed in the Pritchard’s on-site B&B The Centaur.
Throughout the challenge, competitors were faced with feats that included driving a 20km off-road loop through muddy terrain five times (one-third completed them successfully), washing their muddy faces with buckets of ice water, and eating a stew of spiced goats’ testicles, lamb and veal for dinner on Friday. A pig roast and live DJ entertained the competitors into the evening on Saturday.
Organizer Elizabeth Lévesque explained one of Sunday morning’s challenges: ‘This is a foot race; they are about to shoulder two tires and run through the woods, traversing a river.” Since it takes incredible physical strength, coordination, focus, and balance to ride motorcycles, the competition was meant to test entrants in all these respects. The weekend’s trials also included slow races on wooden planks, executing tight turns, and lots and lots of navigating through mud.
After a final endurance test on Sunday afternoon, the winners were announced: Bela Herman was crowned the 2017 GS Challenge winner, followed by Joël Goulet and Claude Auchu. Among the women, Valérie Héroux won first, followed by Louise Mitchell, and Claudia Riverin. For more information on the ongoing competition see: www.gschallenge.com