BMW GS Trophy
The 2010 BMW Motorrad GS Trophy was a test of endurance and riding ability on a motorcycle: 10 international teams, 13 nationalities, all riding equally prepared BMW F 800 GS bikes some 2000km in seven days.
The moto journalist laden teams, including our very own Jeff Buchanan from Ultimate MotorCycling, crossed three African nations (South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique), while dodging wildlife and conquering some of the most challenging off-road terrain in the world.
The motorcycle competition started at on Nov. 14 and for the next seven days the BMW F 800 GS riders rode 300km per days, bivouacked nightly under canvas and along the way completed 12 special challenges that tested their riding skills, their strength, their mental agility and their endurance.
All 50 BMW F 800 GS motorcycles involved in the GS Trophy finished the entire 2000km course without a single mechanical breakdown. There were a few casualties, but these were the result of motorcycle crash damage. As reported by BMW, not one of the adventure bikes left the event for mechanical reasons.
Dominique Lemaire (Canada GS Team) says: "The BMW F 800 GS is a very well adapted bike for the terrain we ran through, there are so many products on the market that are dedicated and very aggressive for off-road riding, but the F 800 GS is a very nice balance for someone who likes to ride on the road, to ride gravel and likes to also ride in more harsh conditions.
"The power is very smooth and you can really put the traction to the ground, and the styling and the ergonomics are good also. I'd like to buy the bike I used if BMW would sell it to me!"
Guido Gluschitsch (Alps Journalist GS Team) says: "The F 800 GS was the perfect partner to the riders. They were normal people from normal life, riding so good - you can't imagine that when you see them - and it was the same thing with the bike.
"It was the just a normal bike, yet it takes all the stones, mud and crashes. And after the crashes you could just pick it up, it always starts and you can go on."
In the end, the BMW F 800 GS motorcycle proved to be 100% reliable but it was the UK GS Team who rode the bike to victory.
Reflecting on seven intense days of the GS Trophy 2010, Team UK's Mark Kinnard explained his thoughts to Ultimate MotorCycling: "We came into the GS Trophy with it in mind to go for the win. But we had a terrible first day, we finished fifth, and we vowed after that to come back fighting. And we did, we won the next day and went first overall and we stayed there to the end."
"It was very tight going into the last day and I recall we'd said on the final night that whatever the outcome we would still be very happy, for although winning is terrific it was the experience - the country, the friendships, the shared highs and lows - that will stay with us long after the glow of victory will fade."
Second placed Team South Africa were equally motivated from the start. "We definitely weren't aggressive enough in the tests early on. We noticed perhaps too late that the other guys were really committed,"explained the runners-up.
Equally, third-placed Team Nordic were a very talented team, but they confessed they came together as a team too late.
Team Nordic's Borre Skiaker said: "We were three people from three countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway) and three different cultures and that made it a bit different for us. Perhaps our big mistake in the competition was we didn't have a strategy. I think we were missing that last part of the puzzle."