Get to know our candidates a little better before they start their big journey by the end of this week:
An unexpected change…
A wise man once said: “In order to be happy we need three things: the courage to accept the things that we cannot change, enough determination to change the things that we can change and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.” (Bertrand Russell)
That quote is true for our UPoA rider Inga from Iceland. This week she had a very tough decision to make. Since she is still recovering from an old injury she won´t be able to join the team for the Madagascar trip this April. By stepping back from this once in a lifetime opportunity and giving her spot to her European teammate Gudmundur she shows off once more what a strong and independent women she is.
We heard this news with a tear in one eye and a smile in the other. Of course, we are very sad that Inga won´t be able to go to Madagascar but on the other hand, we are happy to have Gudmundur on board who is a great contribution to the team as well.
We would like to thank Inga for the strength to make such a decision and wish her a fast and full recovery.
|EUROPE | Gudmundur Björnsson, 58, Iceland (Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twin)|
The final decision
„All finalists are fantastic people and we would have liked to take them all with us“. For Ramona and Herbert Schwarz it was a heartbraking decision to choose the six riders for the “United People of Adventure” team. During a weekend full of action, fun, teamwork and information the following riders were selected for the Touratech adventure ride on Madagascar:
|AFRICA |Omar Mansour, 42, Egypt (Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré)||ASIA | July Behl, 34, India (KTM 1190 Adventure R)|
|AUSTRALIA | Andrea Box, 25 (Triumph Tiger 800 XCX)||SOUTH AMERICA | Gunther Fischli, 39, Brasilien (Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom)|
|NORTH AMERICA | Benjamin Myers, 38, California (Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro)||EUROPE | Inga Birna Erlingsdóttir, 37, Iceland (Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twin)|
When Strangers Become Friends
After some tough decision-making and a terrific selection weekend, the participants in the Touratech project „United People of Adventure“ have now been decided. The six riders will set off on a Madagascar expedition with Ramona and Herbert Schwarz in April.
The chemistry was spot-on from the beginning. Candidates from all over the world, all of different ages, nationalities, beliefs and personalities, instantly became friends. And once again, the selection weekend for „United People of Adventure“ showed that adventure riders are in fact very special people. However, this made the decision for Touratech CEO Herbert Schwarz and his wife Ramona even more difficult.
Although the couple had originally hoped that the weekend together with a combination of information, team-building and getting-to-know-each-other would make it easier to choose the participants for the trip to Madagascar in April, they soon realised that the reality was quite different. „We became very fond of all of the finalists, and to be honest we’d like to take them all with us.“ But in fact, the dream of exploring the world’s fourth-largest island on a motorbike could only come true for one rider from each continent.
After a guided tour of Touratech and a get-to-know-you gathering, plus the selection of personal equipment, riding adventure bikes on an indoor motocross track, a travel workshop and project presentation, it was time to get down to business. Various behavioural and personality tests and four tricky team tasks would provide further information on the applicants‘ characters, weaknesses and strengths.
Skill, coordination, a good memory, cleverness and constructive talent were required, but so too were consideration and self-control. The candidates had to crack a secret code, beat a „hot wire“ and construct a form of passenger transportation using wooden dowels and lengths of wool. All of these mosaic pieces created a picture in the end that decided which six participants were the best matches for „United People of Adventure“.
One of the most emotional moments was undoubtedly when the finalists had to explain why their fellow applicants absolutely had to go along on the trip to Madagascar. Nothing was false or made up, but instead the often amusing and sometimes thoughtful statements spoke of genuine warmth, respect and friendship. In an amazingly short time, strangers had become friends. The strong connection between the team members was evident in every word and gesture. There was only one downer over the selection weekend: Ismail Kirumira of Uganda, the second African candidate, did not receive a visa. „We would have loved to have him along; he would undoubtedly have enriched the group,“ Herbert and Ramona expressed their regret.
„The days we did spend together were such a fabulous experience that I simply don’t think Madagascar could possibly be any better. Even if I’m not one of the winners, I would be incredibly happy,“ the words of Gunther Fischli of Brazil undoubtedly expressed what was in everyone’s hearts. Robert Davies of Australia spoke of a „magical experience“: „We already felt we were a team before we even knew each other properly,“ – a large family united in their passion for motorbikes.
But there was no avoiding it – choices had to be made, and Herbert and Ramona quite clearly found it difficult to announce their decision after an in-depth consultation with Syntura team trainer Fiona Hesse. „They are fabulous candidates, and the decision was one of the most difficult I have had to make in my life,“ emphasised Herbert Schwarz. „Regardless of where you’re from and what you do, if you share a passion, then things simply work. This weekend confirmed that most impressively,“ he summed up.
In order to reduce the tension a little, at the last minute the decision was made to move the awards ceremony into the whirlpool of the accommodation. Although „awards ceremony“ is probably the wrong word, because there were only winners. Even the entrants who didn’t make it onto the UPoA team took with them not only a full set of riding gear courtesy of Touratech, but also lifelong memories of an unforgettable weekend, some interesting new knowledge about themselves and some important advice from the team trainer: „Carry on riding your bikes, get to know other people and different cultures, and make the world a better place“. And who can argue with that?