Back in time for a life-changing experience.

Been there, done that, got the International GS Trophy.

Participating in the GS Trophy changes you forever. As the 2018 international finals draw near, we speak to several former competitors for whom life would never be the same again. 

Kevin Hammond, winner Int. GS Trophy 2010.

The sweet taste of victory for Kevin in the Int. GS Trophy 2010.

Kevin Hammond, winner Int. GS Trophy 2010.

At 57, you might think that Kevin Hammond would be slowing down, but he’s busier now than he’s ever been, and it’s all to do with motorcycles. He was a farmer when he entered the 2010 international finals in South Africa but now he makes a different kind of living from the land, running his own adventure riding school.  “To win the 2010 Int. GS Trophy with Team UK was very special. There we were — two farmers and a plasterer with the oldest combined ages of all — but we took all the challenges on and won through.  

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I still remember vividly the power of the GS brand and what it stood for.
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Kevin Hammond

Out of Africa.

Kevin with his British teammates in South Africa in 2010.

Out of Africa.

Kevin will never forget the amazing African landscapes, camping out in game reserves and witnessing the special camaraderie between the nations. It was a feeling he didn’t want to end, even after he returned home to the UK. “I bought my winning Trophy bike and had it on display at my local BMW Motorrad dealer. Then I was asked to help at the official BMW Motorrad Off Road Skills school in Wales. This led to me becoming an instructor and, eventually, training the next ‘Team UK’ for the 2012 Int. GS Trophy!” 

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It still goes on.

It still goes on.

Kevin then went on to provide support and assistance for a Trans-Americas overland expedition and he also guided various long-distance tours before deciding to set up his own adventure riding school (www.adventurebiketraining.co.uk). Even though his Trophy success was many years ago, he is still reaping the benefits of his achievements. “The GS community is like a family,” he says. “I was riding across Australia in 2016 and was recognised in the BMW Motorrad dealership in Brisbane. Then in South Africa last year I collected a GS rental bike, only to find it displaying a sticker that said ‘2010 Int. GS Trophy winner’. Even after eight years it still goes on!” 

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Taking the opportunity.

As the 2018 event approaches, Kevin knows what it means to have earned the right to be there, so has this final piece of advice for all competitors. “The most important thing is for riders to work together closely and use the strength within the team to plan for success. Make sure you look back at what other teams have done in the past and plan accordingly. This is a special opportunity, so take your chances and enjoy.” 

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German Gabriel Guntern, Int. GS Trophy Canada 2014.

Experiencing the Khardongla Pass, at 18,380ft it’s the world’s highest motorable road.

German Gabriel Guntern, Int. GS Trophy Canada 2014.

Argentinian German Gabriel Guntern will be following this Int. GS Trophy from somewhere ‘on the road’. The 56-year-old former BMW Motorrad dealer is riding around the world on the same GS bike he used at the international finals in Canada four years ago. The Int. GS Trophy opened his eyes to the possibilities of overland travel — he hit the trail soon after the 2014 edition, and hasn’t stopped since. “I believe that the GS Trophy changes the lives of everyone who participates in it,” he says. “It totally changed me and in fact, I continue to live it every day, because I am traveling the globe with the exact same motorcycle I used in the competition.” 

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Sharing and caring.

Every day, German posts photos, videos and impressions on his trip. What he loves best about sharing his story on social media is the constant feedback from the GS ‘family’ who continue to follow his adventures. “There are always supportive comments from those who participated in 2014 in Canada. I keep in touch with all the guys that shared this great adventure with me — we always remember the memorable experiences and encounters.” 

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Friends for life.

German and the GS at the world famous Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia    

Friends for life.

German believes that the Int. GS Trophy is unique because you can participate only once, and have to earn the right to be there. The 2014 edition gave him a thirst for travel and new friends across the globe — many of whom he has visited on his travels. His advice to the 2018 participants is to immerse themselves in the Int. GS Trophy world and embrace the true ‘spirit of GS’. “The participants should enjoy the bike, the amazing landscapes and the tough competition, but the most important thing is the people, from the organisers to the marshals and all the fellow competitors because they will become friends for life.” 

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Checking out a distant monastery perched high on the rocks in Greece. 

Tsutomu Morohara, Int. GS Trophy 2016 Southeast Asia

Tomu from Team Japan with Team South Africa’s Charl Moolman.

Tsutomu Morohara, Int. GS Trophy 2016 Southeast Asia

One of the stars of the last Int. GS Trophy was Tsutomu Morohara, affectionately known as ‘Tomu’ by everyone. Known more for his enthusiasm and sense of humour than his riding skills, Tomu entertained the entire GS Trophy with his antics throughout the competition, and made many friends. “I have so many great memories of the 2016 Int. GS Trophy but some of the best came on the final day, where Team Japan started in the last test — and I finally scored! I was greeted by so much loud applause from the other competitors, who at that moment had become ‘one team’ in support of me. It was the best moment of my life.”  

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Cultural exchange.

Participants at the Int. GS Trophy 2016

Cultural exchange.

Suffice to say that over the course of those memorable competition days in SE Asia, Tomu had made many wonderful friends from all over the world. “After the GS Trophy finished, I travelled to Mexico to meet my friends from the team. And last year I visited South Africa to watch their qualifier finals. Other GS riders from Thailand, Turkey, France and the UK have visited me in Japan, so for sure my GS Trophy is still going on.” 

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No language barriers.

Tomu believes the Int. GS Trophy is much more than a motorcycle competition and that it has a defining impact on everyone, whatever their background or riding ability. “I keep in contact with my ‘big GS family’ because all the competitors, marshals and event staff are my precious friends,” he enthuses. “We are ‘one team’ and even if you donʼt speak the same language, you are still connected simply by riding your GS. I believe that a GS crosses borders and cultures like music. “I’d advise all the lucky participants in Mongolia to enjoy everything that the Int. GS Trophy has to offer. Do your best with the special tests, interact with everyone involved and then you can truly become part of this big family. BMW Motorrad connects the world with this motorcycle, and the Int. GS Trophy connects the world beyond cultures, borders and skin colours.” 

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