During the GS Giant practices on Thursday at the international rally in St. Paul on the GS Giant playground, Claude was surprised to be notified of his recognition as Ambassador. You can see him, all smiles, on the front page cover of the September 2014 issue of Owners News.
The first time I met Claude was at the Montréal Motorcycle Show in 2008. I was manning the BMW MOA booth on Friday, the first day of the show. We talked for a while, and I discovered he was the third owner of my late, white and blue 2001 BMW GS. Saturday, Claude was back with friends, and some joined the BMW MOA then. To my surprise, Sunday, he arrived again with new members to sign up. During the 2008 riding season, we met only once at one of the four dealerships in Québec Province while I was delivering BMW MOA complimentary copies.
In 2009, we met again at the MOA booth during the annual Montréal Motorcycle Show. Also, we met often during the riding season, when I then discovered that Claude is very involved in the GS side of BMW. We had interesting conversations, even if I am more an asphalt type than he. During those talks, many more subjects were detailed. In 2008 and 2009, he participated in the Canadian GS Challenges. He also crossed Canada and rode the U.S. West Coast during a ten day trip which totaled 12,887 kilometers. His interest was also toward participating in many Iron Butt rides (Montréal, Thunder Bay).
In Québec Province, he is very active with the Moto Trial Adventure, which named him an ambassador in 2010. That association promotes and wants to develop the moto adventure in Québec Province. They have organized group rides on a regular basis during the riding season, plus clinics on different subjects such as GPS, camping equipment, and clothing gear, all adapted toward remote areas. Claude has also been an active member of RidAdventure since 2007, another group that plays off-road and sponsors a discussion forum. They too named him an ambassador in 2012.
Riding with the BMW MOA GS Giants, Claude participated in many BMW MOA International rallies. Among those are Bloomsburg, Pa. (2011), Sedalia, Mo. (2012), Salem Ore. (2013), and of course St. Paul, Minn. (2014). In Salem, he was the overall winner of the GS Giant. In 2012 and 2013 Claude was one of the team members at the Canadian GS trophy. 2013 was also a very important year for him as he became a Certified BMW Off-road Instructor at the BMW Motorrad Academy in Hechlingen, Germany. A certified First Aid Worker, last September he was one of the Marshalls for the World Final GS Trophy. Also, he was present as a Marshall at the Max BMW Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain N.Y., in October, 2014.
Claude has more than 30 years motorcycle riding experience. A riding season for him is almost always over 35,000 kilometers. It seems to be more a habit than a goal for Claude, Ha! Ha! His red BMW GS license plate is BMW AB from Ontario. If you see it, you’ll probably be following him on asphalt. If you are off-road, your chances are less likely, as that license plate will probably be covered in mud.
Claude is not able to pass a stranded BMW on the side of the road or on a trail. He is a Helping Hands type. I have received many testimonials confirming that. Plus I can attest to one myself while on the way back to Québec Province with him after the St. Paul rally, YES !