Mesmerising memories from Mongolia.

2018 Int. GS Trophy over but the Spirit of GS lives on.

They came, they rode and they conquered the remote lands of Central Asia during an unforgettable sixth edition of the International GS Trophy. Mongolia welcomed 18 teams from 21 nations who battled hard against each other in their quest for the top spots in the ranking of the Int. GS Trophy. But whatever the final rankings, every participant will leave the land of Genghis Khan with unforgettable memories of this unique once-in-a-lifetime-experience. 

Everyone’s a winner.

There’s nothing else out there quite like the Int. GS Trophy. Nothing that unites the motorcycling world in the spirit of friendly competition, with the chance to make lifelong friendships with other riders from across the globe — not only because of the motorcycle you ride, the R 1200 GS Rallye. With every edition of the Int. GS Trophy, the worldwide community of GS riders grows even larger, and those who are lucky enough, and skilled enough, to compete wheel to wheel in this event, find themselves becoming part of an irresistible scene that knows no limits, country borders or language barriers.  

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It all starts back home.

It all starts back home.

There are no losers at the Int. GS Trophy — only winners, because all participants have beaten the ‘best of the rest’ in their respective countries to gain one of three coveted team places for the international finals. And what adventure rider wouldn’t jump at the chance of an all-expenses paid trip to the remote Mongolian wilderness to challenge the best amateur BMW Motorrad GS riders from every continent in a team battle for Trophy supremacy?

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Two years in the making, with countless scouting and reconnaissance trips taken to discover the best locations saw 18 international teams arrive in the capital Ulaanbaatar at the beginning of June for eight days of intense, tough, gruelling yet always friendly off-road competition. In addition to the familiar favourites in the starting line-up were welcome Int. GS Trophy ‘first-timers’ such as Australia and India, as well as two international female teams comprising ladies from the continents of Africa, Europe, Australia and America.

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"
The Int. GS Trophy is an opportunity to inspire women to chase their dreams.
"

Julia Maguire, #261 Team AusAmerica

Known and unknown quantities.

No country had ever won the Int. GS Trophy more than once, so naturally the predictions came thick and fast during the build-up to this year’s event. Could reigning champions South Africa do something that had never been done before and win consecutive international finals? Or would newcomers Australia throw a spanner in the works and blow away the opposition due to almost a quarter of a century of Aussie GS Safari experience? Or would one of the ‘wildcard’ teams surprise everyone with flawless and consistently high team performances over the eight competition days. Only time would tell.

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Winning habits die hard.

Winning habits die hard.

Interestingly, Team Korea took the early lead in the points standings, closely followed by Team South Africa, who had a title to defend — and knew how to defend it. The trio of riders — Mark Dickinson, Eugene Fourie and Chris Meyer — had practised hard and prepared well for this latest edition, and never slipped below second place in the rankings throughout the duration of the eight-day competition. It was up to the rest of the teams to raise their games — and not just when it came to the riding challenges, of which there were many.

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The community can make a real difference.

The community can make a real difference.

The aforementioned riding challenges — known as Special Stages — consisted of a variety of skills tests and exercises, designed to test riders and teams’ ability to perform at their highest levels under increasingly high pressure situations. But there was also another way to earn easier points, and that was the two Photo Contests, which always make an appearance during the finals. Simply put: every team has two chances to activate their local motorcycling communities to vote for their best two photos from the event — and the most votes received nets the teams the most points.

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In both of the Photo Contests Team South Africa literally wiped the floor with the opposition and received a lot more votes than any other nation. As such, the team scored maximum points — 50 in total — which helped them consolidate a valuable lead at the top of the leaderboard. All markets should have learned a valuable lesson here for future Int. GS Trophy events.

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Special days and Special tests.

Mongolia offered the participants a seemingly endless variety of riding opportunities, from deep sandy trails through canyons, water crossings, and plenty of fast gravel tracks across wide plains and undulating rocky gorges. However, it was the Special Tests where the Int. GS Trophy would be won and lost. Here, a skilled team of marshals had devised a wide variety of riding and navigational exercises, designed to expose any weaknesses in technique or gaps in knowledge. No matter how many times teams and individuals had practised similar exercises at home, being able to perform under pressure made the vital difference on the leaderboard. 

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"
The challenges are part of the game, but the sharing of travels through this amazing country is the main event.
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Konstantin Zolotarev, #213 Team Russia

Down to the wire.

Going into the final day, there were still three teams in contention for the title and both Team USA and Team France fought hard until the end, with just two points separating them after the final Special test. However, Team South Africa’s consistently high performances saw them crowned worthy and popular 2018 champions. They celebrated and all the teams celebrated with them. Team South Africa’s Mark Dickinson summed up the ethos of the event perfectly: “The most appealing aspect of the Int GS Trophy is that it spreads the love for and from BMW Motorrad. The Spirit of GS means unity to me.” 

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That’s it! The GS Trophy 2018.

Missed a day? Don’t worry – here you can find fascinating moments, most thrilling experiences and the utmost GS-feeling for the whole 8 days of competition.

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