Adventure and competition in Northern Thailand
With just two weeks to the start of the fifth BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, the Southeast Asia 2016 edition, this GS Trophy is shaping up to be the biggest yet. Some 57 riders in 19 teams (three riders per team) representing 25 nations from around the world – together with 21 embedded journalists – will compete in a week of adventure riding, special tests and teamwork challenges.
Starting February 28, it’s a week that will also be about experiencing life in the rain forests of the hilly ‘Golden Triangle’ region in Thailand´s Chiang Mai province, connecting with the natural world and celebrating the international brotherhood of adventure motorcycling that’s so closely associated to the BMW R 1200 GS.
Technical in Thailand.
This is the first time the GS Trophy has visited the Asian continent and so the event will engage an altogether different kind of terrain to that which has faced previous competitors. Past editions have typically featured long trails through wilderness or mountainous regions. This time, says chief organiser and route designer Tomm Wolf, the competitors can expect a slower pace but far more technical challenges.
“The tracks we will ride will be dry and probably quite dusty and much narrower than those we encountered in Canada and South America. There will be more single track, up-and-down, enduro-type trails, rather than the wide forest roads of the previous GS Trophy. The speeds will definitely be lower and the trails will be more challenging to ride, but extremely nice.”
The GS Trophy competitors will as a consequence be travelling a shorter distance over the week, but as any off-road rider will know, when speeds are low and the riding technical, long days in the saddle are sure to follow. Along the way the competitors will take part in a series of challenges that are consistent with the GS lifestyle and designed to exercise their riding and navigation skills, their knowledge of, and ability to live in, the natural world – and their ability to come together as a team.
“With the technicality in the riding, the competitors will understand more than ever that this is not a race,” explains Wolf. “But given the climate – we can expect heat and humidity – and the advanced riding and sporting level of the competitors, we can be sure it will remain a tough competition.”
The Southeast Asia 2016 event follows previous editions that took place in Tunisia in 2008, Southern Africa in 2010, South America in 2012 and Canada in 2014.
Who are the riders?
“The GS Trophy is a truly international event for amateurs from around the world, very much following the principle of the Olympics,” explains
BMW Motorrad’s organiser Mathias Horn. “The riders are everyday enthusiasts who through regional qualifiers have won their place in what will be an experience so rich and so exciting. With every GS Trophy the event evolves. This time we will find ourselves in the Asian continent and so the experience and the riding will be all-new. And we have three new teams as well, from China, from Southeast Asia and an International Female Team.
“We are especially excited to have a female team along for this edition. Women have always been a part of the GS Trophy, holding leading positions within the organisation – and a few of these have in the past ridden along with the competitors – but this is the first time we’ll have female competitors.”
The competitors will ride a fleet of identical specially-prepared 2016
BMW R 1200 GS motorcycles. The number of GSs will be a staggering 114 in total – 100 of which will be R 1200 GS versions for the competitors, journalists, organisers and special guests, with 14 R 1200 GS Adventures for the marshals.
Preparing the machines for a competition environment has required only a small number of modifications. All the GS bikes are equipped with an aluminium enduro engine guard, steel crash bars, valve cover guards, headlight guard, wider endure footrests, adjustable footbrake lever and a safety screw for the oil filler neck. All bikes will run on Metzeler Karoo 2 tyres.
“We’ve concentrated on equipping the bikes with what’s necessary to cope with the conditions in the GS Trophy,” says Markus Meissner from BMW Motorrad Aftersales. “Our bikes are already very well prepared as standard, and within the product range of Original BMW Motorrad Accessories we offer everything which is necessary to ride and master the GS Trophy.”
Follow the event.
The GS Trophy starts and finishes near Chiang Mai, running from February 28 to March 5. BMW Motorrad will ensure the public have the best opportunities to follow the event.
Media outlets will be able to access daily reports and images through the
BMW Group Press Club: https://www.press.bmwgroup.com
The public will be able to follow the GS Trophy through continuous updates on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram (#gstrophy) as well as on the website www.gstrophy.com.