The fourth dimension.
Every team at the Int. GS Trophy has its own journalist ‘along for the ride’. They are there to spread the event news direct to all those following back home in the respective countries, but their input can also make the vital difference between a trio of riders being winners or an ‘also rans’. We find out more from the legendary journalist and instructor Stefan Boshoff, who has been mentoring riders and reporting the GS news since the early days of the Trophy.
The extra ingredient.
Stefan Boshoff is more than a journalist, he helps riders and teams to a top performance.
The extra ingredient.
When Stefan Boshoff rocks up in Mongolia with Team South Africa, it will be his fifth Int. GS Trophy as a journalist. A welcome presence and towering figure in the media centre, he is the voice of experience when it comes to helping riders and teams achieve their potential. So much more than a media representative, Stefan’s impressive communication skills combine with outstanding riding skills too, but for him the Trophy has never been about individuals, or even individual countries — and will never be.
“The GS Trophy is so much more than the event itself,” he says. “Having been involved since we hosted it in South Africa in 2010, it has been a continuous journey with an amazing family all sharing the passion for riding an awesome product. The GS Trophy happens every day in every corner of the globe. It is a connected family which keeps growing with each event. And the great thing is that I am part of this ‘larger than life’ movement.”
It also works without horsepower and GS: the rider has to explore some stages by foot.
Stefan has seen the event grow massively in size, presentation and joy since its inception a decade ago and concurs that the places the participants get to ride and see literally blows him away every time, as each Trophy seems to be better than the previous one.
“We get to meet the cream of the riders from all over the world. They keep getting better, so we also have to continuously up our game as journalists,” he admits. “The standard of riding keeps improving. And the interest and inspiration that the event generates keeps growing.”
The communicator: Stefan entertains and enthuses during a GS Trophy.
At his age, Stefan wryly admits that he is not the finely-tuned athlete that the team members are, so his main preparation focuses on the team, getting the country behind them and making sure that all BMW Motorrad riders are following the GS Trophy, albeit from a distance. Sharing the joy of the event with the world is, after all, what the journalists are there for — the riding comes second.
“Getting to know the guys better, lobbying for support amongst the community, sharing with the team my perception of what they can expect during the event are all important, as is riding my bike now and again,” says Stefan with a wry smile. “But what I enjoy just as much is following the participants after the event and seeing how they grow as great ambassadors of the brand and sharing the values of this amazing global family.”
Like father, like son: In 2017, Stefan's son Behan accompanied the BMW Motorrad GS Trophy International Female Qualifier as a marshal.
During the actual event itself, Stefan is a well-oiled machine and needs to be. It takes some commitment and staying power to ride all day in challenging and often extreme situations, and then to return to base camp, put his writer’s hat on and start sharing his impressions with all of those following around the world.
“It gives me great joy reporting the progress to our followers and sweating it out with the team. People probably don’t realise that the journalist role only kicks in after the activities of the day. When everyone goes to bed, we go to the media centre to write home about our adventures of the day. The team spirit and camaraderie in the media centre brings an additional dimension which makes up for the lack of sleep.”
Fun, good mood and applause for good performances: Stefan Boshoff with Jan du Toit (right).
Of course, everyone involved knows that Team South Africa won the 2016 Int. GS Trophy, but the unique thing about this event is that participants cannot return to ‘defend’ their title. It’s down to three other like-minded individuals to try and retain the team honours, although to date there have never been two consecutive Int. GS Trophy victories for a country. Could Team SA retain the top spot in 2018?
“The 2018 SA team has the potential to win the Trophy again — they are hungry and well prepared,” confirms Stefan. “But I also guide them towards understanding that the spirit of the GS Trophy is bigger than the win. If the win is on the table, we will not leave it for someone else to take, but we will not sacrifice the joy and the experience for winning. We will celebrate hard with whoever wins. If it is us, we will dance out in front. Beating us will be a challenge — at the dancing that is!”
Bigger than the sum of the parts.
Pure family life, pure friendship, pure passion: Stefan, Tomm and Jan (from left).
Bigger than the sum of the parts.
Stefan’s experience thus far has taught him that a combination of qualities are vital for Trophy success. The team make-up is important; they need to be good friends who find it easy to grow with and within the ‘family’. He believes that personalities and attributes have to be managed to channel and focus the greatness in every member towards the overall goal and the task at hand — after all, individual brilliance has limited application success. And of course, it helps a bit if they know how to ride the bike!
But when all is said and done, to concentrate solely on winning would be missing the whole ethos and camaraderie of the event, so all teams, riders and their journalists hoping for success in the 2018 competition would do well to listen to Stefan’s final words of wisdom.
"First be a happy GS Trophy participant, then a focused member of your team. This happy bunch travels together from start to finish every day — do not isolate your team from the experience. Make the experience complete by drowning yourself in the awesomeness of every aspect of the event. And when it is time to compete, focus and do your best. Spread the joy! The result will be a reflection of how well you did all of the above.”