Team Xplorearth had the pleasure of putting the three individuals representing Team India
through their paces in preparation for the upcoming BMW GS Trophy in Namibia, later this year.

All three riders, extremely skilled and talented in their own right, had little to no experience
riding sand – a challenging surface and one expected to be present in abundance at this
year’s edition of the Trophy! The training program conducted in February included a
number of hours riding through sandy tracks, technical exercises that could be presented to
them during the competition, and team building exercises, all of which would go a long way
in setting the team up for a successful event in Namibia later in the year.

Everyone congregated at Bikaner, Rajasthan for the start of the training, with Team Xplore
being introduced to the three chosen riders – Dev, Anand and Shahan, the media
representative – Rishaad, and BMW certified trainer Adib. They were briefed on the days to
come and called it an early night.

Day 1 included a long tarmac section before and after what would prove to be an extremely
challenging dune climbing exercise – the first experience on sand for the group and one that
humbled everyone fairly rapidly! However, after some guidance, application and help from
the backup crew, the riders soon made it over a couple of dunes and were beginning
to understand the art of riding on sand.

The next few days were spent around the dunes of Sam, just beyond Jaisalmer. Each day
was grueling, with hundreds of kilometers being covered in sand and dirt – getting as close
to the surfaces one can expect in Namibia as we could here in India. Tracks were used that
were completely off the beaten path, and the riders could push both themselves and their
machines to the limit in order to find the best way to traverse this new and foreign terrain.

One of the nights also included a cookout and camping under the stars, where the group
had to set up their own tents to sleep in at night after a hard day’s riding – something they
will be doing every single night during the Trophy!

All this was interspersed with various technical exercises that the riders will be scored on
during the event, giving the group a taste of what to expect when they travel overseas to represent our country.

It was truly heartwarming to see the improvement in the group over the course of the
exercise, not only as riders, but also with the camaraderie they showed towards one
another, helping out in case anyone was struggling and ensuring that the entire group was
riding together, rather than just looking out for themselves individually. Their improvement
riding on sand was also impressive – from starting out struggling to even cover 30 odd
meters to confidently riding for multiple kilometers through it at a stretch – we are sure
they will make the nation proud in Namibia! A few months remain however, and we already
look forward to our next training program with them in the buildup to the Trophy!