Ulu Choh, Malaysia - As the morning sun crept over the horizon and the gusty valley winds whirl sand into every imaginable crevice, the crew from BMW Motorrad Singapore walked the course one final time after their set up from the day before. 17th September saw twenty Singaporean riders arrive at Ulu Choh Dirt Park from as early as 8am, in a variety of BMW GS motorcycles for Day One of the Qualifying Round. Only twelve of the twenty will return the following day for the following stage.
Registration was completed by 9:30am and all were ready to tackle the 11 challenges concocted by Mr. Faizal Sukree (Official GS Trophy Marshall and BMW Instructor), and Mr. Noor Iibrahim Abdillah Ab Manap (PML BMW Motorrad scorer).
After a quick briefing, drawing of lots to see who started first, and a detailed walkthrough, the riders geared up and began their first throttle-twist toward the BMW Motorrad GS Trophy in New Zealand next year.
The morning session consisted of all 20 contestants clearing obstacles 1 thru 5, these included the Stand up and pull away, downhill breaking to stop and turn, parallel logs and doughnut.
For those unfamiliar with Malaysian outdoor events, a must-try dish is the Ramly burger. After a satisfying lunch-break, the contestants continued on with the remaining obstacles, these included the rope around a tree, water crossing, sand/gravel, garage, U-turn at full lock, and finally the hill climb.
Despite the occasional fall and tumble, spirits were high by the end of the afternoon session and even while the instructors were tabulating the scores, it was camaraderie, joy and laughter all around. In an effort to reach out to all BMW GS riders, this Qualifying Round was also opened to riders whom parallel imported their motorcycles, a testament toward how cohesive and all encompassing the people at BMW Motorrad Singapore are.
However, while all contestants enjoyed themselves throughout the day, it was afterall a qualifying session after all and after the scores were tabulated, only twelve successfully made it to the Day Two finale challenge.
1. Hazrin Bin Ab Halim 2. Matthew Wilkinson 3. Muhammad Hafidz Bin Mohamed Kamal 4. Ian Yiyang Song 5. Muhammad Faizal Bin Ahmad 6. Muhammad Rafiuddin Bin Abd Samat 7. Razali Bin Mohamed Amin 8. Mohamed Suhaimi Bin Jamil 9. Noor Iibrahim Abdillah Ab Manap (PML staff/scorer) 10. Mr. Anthony Chaw (BMW Motorrad Singapore 11. Muhammad Salleh Mahmood 12. Mohammed Shiblee Bin Bin Mustafa 13. Mustapha Kamalbasha 14. Mohamed Izzat Bin Mohamed Husain 15. Faizal Sukree (Official GS Trophy Marshall/BMW Instructor )
Day Two saw the remaining contestants arrive just as early as they did the previous day, but under the warm smiles, hugs and handshakes, was an unmistakable air of solemness intertwined with anticipation amongst the twelve. A briefing was conducted outlining the morning team-challenges followed by a quick walkthrough.
Having drew lots from the day before, the twelve were split into their respective groups of three and from there, began the morning session of rim swop, team hill climb (without motor power), and tyre climb (without motor power).
Shortly after the exhausting morning session and the subsequent lunch break, BMW Motorrad instructors proceeded on with a final briefing of the full circuit. Unlike Day One where the contestants tackled and conquered obstacles in stages concurrently, the final qualifying round required the contestants to complete the full course one at a time. However, 3 of the eleven obstacles were omitted from the challenge with more difficult changes made to 3 of the remaining 8. Furthermore, unlike the previous day and the morning team-challenges, contestants were no longer permitted to use their own motorcycles, and had to switch over to a pair of BMW F850GS Adventure motorcycles, prepared by BMW Motorrad Singapore.
Contestants started first with the stand up and pull away and downhill breaking to stop and turn, followed by a doughtnut. Once this was completed, they then revved on to the rope around a tree challenge, sand/gravel, garage, precision figure of 8, and finally the hill climb.
After two grueling days of overcoming, persevering and prevailing all challenges and obstacles, the twelve finalists eventually completed the Qualifying Round and the earlier air of solemness evaporated into the late afternoon sun, scorching as it was all weekend. And while the instructors and scorers tabulated the final results, the sounds of laughter and joy filled the tent. So much so that even when the results were announced, it was loud cheers and shouts of encouragement that reverberated back from the nearby hills.
Successfully completing the two-day Qualifying Round and representing Singapore in the Regional Finals held in September this year, Mr. Mohammed Shiblee Bin Mustafa, Mr. Razali Bin Mohamed Amin and Mr. Matthew Wilkinson. They will then be facing off the best from the region at Sepang’s off-road course, on the edge of the world renowned Sepang International Circuit, for a spot on Team South East Asia!