Now that the dust has settled in southern Africa and the participants from
all around the world are safely home with their families, the organisers
of the second International BMW Motorrad GS Trophy can relax, safe in the
knowledge that the 2010 event was an unrivalled success story. Ten teams
from all over the world fought hard and bravely to try and make the Trophy
their own, and in doing so, put on an amazing show of teamwork and solidarity
that united a worldwide network of GS riders. Now back at BMW Motorrad HQ
in Germany, GS Trophy 2010 Project Manager Michael Trammer gives an exclusive
interview about this amazing African adventure.
Just how big a logistical exercise was involved in getting everyone
to Africa on time and in good shape?
Fortunately everybody arrived in Johannesburg in a good shape, although I
can't say the same about all their luggage, some of which arrived one day
later. But we had enough spare helmets and rider gear to go around, so everybody
was able to start the GS Trophy on the Sunday.
How many media colleagues were present and did they also participate?
Each of the teams was accompanied by a journalist who was part of the team
but did not take part in the special tests. We had a rule that the journalist
would become part of the team if one of the members got injured and this
actually happened to team Japan. As well as the journos, the GS Trophy
was also documented by several film teams and photographers.
Did the Touratech-equipped BMW bikes stand up to the tough challenges
Absolutely. In fact, we brought far too many spare parts with us. In the
end, all we needed were some rims, clutches, a radiator and a few small parts.
Apart from one bike being totally destroyed by a crash, there were no problems
and no serious injuries either.
How many event staff were involved in total?
In addition to the 40 participants there were 53 others involved. We also
had 14 support cars and 65 bikes with us. It sounds like a lot of people,
but on reflection everyone was needed – it's a big event and they all did
a great job!
How did the competitors cope in the heat?
We had temperatures ranging from a chilly 10 degrees in the mountains of
Mpumalanga up to a toasty 38 degrees in sandy Mozambique. However, because
it is the rainy season the temperatures were not too high, which was fortunate
for the competitors, who had enough exhausting challenges to cope with!
Was the inclusion of the photo competition a good thing, and a popular
decision among competitors?
Yes it definitely was a good idea. The teams were very ambitious and took
a lot of really nice pictures. Furthermore, this competition also affected
the final results and when you consider that in the end there was only one
point difference between the winning UK team and the South Africans in second,
things could have easily been different…
Was there a lot of camaraderie between the teams?
The team spirit between all the teams was incredible – in fact, we were all
just one big family, despite the fact that there was a competition going
on. That's exactly what the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy is all
about though and we're both happy and proud that this event created such
impressive team spirit, camaraderie and many new friendships.
Were the locals pleased to see the Trophy passing through?
the 2,000 km round trip we've seen many people and experienced different
cultures. We made many contacts with locals and if you followed the same
routes now, you would see many people with GS Trophy caps and T-Shirts. Even
the border guards in Swaziland and Mozambique shared our enthusiasm.
Was southern Africa everything you imagined it to be?
We were very lucky that co-organizer and chief marshal Tomm Wolf and his
team scouted the routes in such a perfect way, because every participant
can truly say that they've really experienced Africa. As you can see from
the pictures, South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique offer everything a
GS rider can dream of!
Did the winning team surprise you, or were they strong from the
Team UK was strong from the beginning. I really like their attitude as they
were very relaxed, yet always competitive. Worthy winners in my opinion!
Were there any problems with the bikes?
Not really. We were well prepared and the bikes performed admirably, so no
‘night shifts' were needed by our mechanics from Touratech. Also, the Metzeler
Karoo tyres easily lasted the distance.
How did the competitors cope with the early starts?
Due to the long and hard riding days, participants actually went to bed quite
early, so the early alarm calls were acceptable. Plus, when I played Guns
N' Roses' "Welcome to the jungle" through a loudspeaker at 0530, everybody
got up quickly!
you surprised at how many people around the world were following the Trophy
The number of our fans on Facebook increased from 30,000 to nearly 140,000.
I think the families and friends of the participants and all the GS fans
worldwide appreciated the opportunity to follow the GS Trophy daily, as well
as being able to watch the videos and read the reports. We hope it helped
them feel part of the adventure.
Did the teams also support each other?
There were always two teams riding together and every day these teams changed.
As hoped, they helped each other in every possible situation and shared
techniques for sand riding, helped pull each others bikes out of mud holes
and much more besides.
What was the high point of the Trophy for you?
The high point was that nobody got seriously injured and that we returned
to Johannesburg safely. Also, I have to say that it was great to see the
satisfaction of the competitors who took part in this amazing event. It
was a privilege to be part of this awesome community.
And the low point?
The low point for me was that I was not allowed to ride a bike because of
a broken collar bone. That's all!
Was there a big difference in the riding ability of the competitors?
All of the competitors were very skilled riders. Of course there were some
differences but not big ones. Due to the fact that we had rationalised
our national qualifying procedure, the level was really high.
Was it the first time in Africa for many of the riders?
Yes it was! I think none of the participants has been to Mozambique or Swaziland
What were the funniest moments of the Trophy for you?
We really laughed a lot, but it was especially funny when the Italian team
capsized their canoe on the Pongola river
It must have been great to have such a close finish at the end?
Yes. The completion was thrilling and intense right until the end. Congratulations
to the teams from GB, South Africa and Scandinavia for putting on such
a fight. That said, every participant can consider themselves a winner.
Do you think that this is the kind of event can run and run?
That's what we really hope. It's worth a try for every GS rider in the world
to have a go in one of the national qualifying events and to try to become
a finalist for the 2012 GS Trophy. But even if you should miss this goal
you can still be a part of it through the increasing internet community.
We'll see you in 2012 somewhere on planet GS!