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GS Trophy teams ready to go on the ride of a lifetime!

Posted By Louise C Powers #212117, Sunday, February 9, 2020
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND! Here in Rotorua, among the natural thermal springs, the teams have all arrived, the bikes are waiting, tents have been pitched, riding kit unpacked and everyone is ready for the start of the seventh BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy.

With the exception of the Australian team, arriving here has been a matter of long haul flights for all participants so there’s been the matter of coming to terms with jet lag. Then they have to manage event registration, taking possession of the BMW F 850 GS motorcycles, adjusting the bikes to their personal needs, and then to embrace New Zealand life. The indigenous Maori people treated the riders to an introduction to New Zealand culture, including the world-famous haka, a traditional challenge to newcomers.

This year there are 22 teams from 25 nations competing. As in Mongolia in 2018, the competition includes two teams of female riders, all of whom are extremely keen to join the GS Trophy brother- and sisterhood. The teams from the Netherlands, Malaysia, North Africa and the Middle East are all first-time entrants and their finalists are naturally excited by what lies ahead – the road (using the term loosely) less travelled.

What lies ahead is eight days and around 2,400 kilometers of adventure riding traversing both the North and South Islands. Some 60% of the route will be off-road, the remaining 40%, while sealed, will look much like European alpine roads. New Zealand is a country of barely five million people, and most of those are concentrated in the urban centers. The quiet roads scattered across the country lead through incredible landscapes, nearly always hilly and often mountainous.

The route starts in Rotorua, close to the center of the North Island in an area of active volcanic activity. It will end in the alpine ski-resort of Queenstown deep in the South Island. Along the way participants will enjoy the nature and culture of these remote islands while facing the competition’s challenges, including riding skills, machine knowledge and wilderness understanding. As always with the GS Trophy, the riders have to expect the unexpected at all times

Chris Zimmerman is the course director; he said, "New Zealand is the perfect off-road destination, it’s not only about the roads and trails, but the people here, with everyone you meet, you discuss the off-road riding and they love it. You see it in their eyes. Everyone here is so supportive. We have a great route awaiting and as ever we have that unique GS trophy mix of riding and special stages, it’s going to be a brilliant ride."

Overall director of the International GS Trophy is Ralf Rodepeter; he is also head of brand and product at BMW Motorrad. Not only is Rodepeter delighted with the venue and format of this year’s competition, he said, "I love the GS Trophy, it’s a wonderful ride and so much fun, but what I like most is seeing the people connect. Every day the teams are mixed so they ride every time with new nationalities and they’ll have an adventurous experience together, which creates this bond and understanding.

"Bringing in teams from North Africa and the Middle East this year is especially exciting, so we can honestly say we have riders from all over the world and all walks of life. And this is the spirit of the GS, bringing diverse peoples and cultures together, learning about each other and discovering and enjoying the nature, playing and adventuring. All this is set in this most beautiful of countries – I know I’m looking forward to this as much as the participants!"

The 2020 GS Trophy kicks off tomorrow morning. Check back each day for updates on the teams, and follow closely as BMWMOA member Lisa Taylor takes on its challenges!

Tags:  gs trophy 

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