South American BMW GS Trophy starts November 24th!
In little more than a couple of weeks, the third BMW GS Trophy will be starting. This is a great off-road event which takes place, this year, in the foothills of the Andes in Chile and Argentina. About forty-five riders from nineteen different nationalities will be taking part, with the BMW F 800 GS motorcycle in common, as they negotiate the ups and downs of this spectacular location.
The Andes is the longest intercontinental range of mountains in the world, and the world's highest mountain range outside Asia, so you'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting, beautiful and challenging location. Hopefully the riders will not attempt the highest mountain on this occasion though, save that for next year!
Spot the difference
The GS Trophy event is a week of adventure riding and motorcycle teamwork challenges, made all the more interesting by the fact that the riders will all be on identical bikes. The participants were chosen from each country by participating in a qualifier where their skills were put to the test. The UK qualifier took place at the BMF Show over the weekend of 18-20 May at the East of England Showground in Peterborough and three intrepid riders were chosen for team GB. The whole idea of the GS challenge is to give ordinary everyday riders who have learnt their skills through practice and learning and are not professional riders, a chance to have a go at something out of the ordinary and come away with a great sense of personal achievement and a multitude of newly learned skills!
Although technically the BMW GS Trophy is a competition, the organiser Tomm Wolf is often quoted as saying "It's not a race!" " its more like the Olympic Games for off-road riders"
The idea of the pre selection of the riders by testing them at the qualifier events, is to make sure that they are up to the trip and have all proved that their skills are good enough to take on such a challenging enduro event and they are ready to go to the next level in the Andes.
The bikes are making landfall...
The bikes for the challenge are currently arriving at the docks in Chile as the riders prepare themselves for their intense week of off-roading, the like of which many of them have never experienced before.
The forty-five riders will form fifteen teams and there will be one journalist riding along with each three man team, to report on the event and the adventures the riders have as they happen.
The ride is not so much a competition as much as a chance for riders to test the bikes and themselves. They will not only have to ride mostly off-road but will have to use navigation skills to find their way along the route and survive as a team out in the natural and beautiful Patagonian wilds.
The event is growing as well and now has entrants from Russia, France, South America and Eastern Europe.
Ain't no mountain high enough
The route has been planned carefully using the knowledge of local people who have acted as guides showing the organisers the local terrain. The course is truly varied and will be totally new terrain to many of the participants. It takes in natural forest, mountainous areas, volcanoes, plains and even a glacier (cool - it will be) so there will be an interesting and different adventure for each day and the riders will not know what kind of territory they will be experiencing until they get to it.
|"Let's go this way - if you're hungry, 'alpaca' picnic!"|
The bikes have been specially prepared for the event by Touratech motorcycle adventure touring specialists and Herbert Schwarz their executive director says:
"Of course these bikes are made for off-road riding, but with regard to the tough conditions in South America we have added a few parts to give increased protection. These include engine bars, frame guard, wider foot-pegs with additional grip etc"
Way to go
The BMW GS Trophy course starts in Temuco in Chile on November 24th and after a 2000km loop through the mountains and into Argentina, they will end up back on December 2nd with many tales to tell.
The event will be fully reported by the journalists and photographers who are travelling with the teams and can be found on gstrophy.com once they get going. There will also be updates posted on Twitter and Facebook as things happen along the way.
Good luck to them all, it will be interesting to see how they get on with the bikes, and the mountains and whether they make friends with any alpacas...