A whirlwind of GS activity – and even a tornado.

Where the community helps itself and others.

Country Trax off-road academy in South Africa is a hard place to find. It’s 50 kilometres from the nearest town – only accessible via gravel roads. But that didn’t stop a freak tornado from finding it and ripping the heart out of the BMW-approved motorcycle training school.

Jan du Toit is well known in the BMW Motorrad world. A regular at the International GS Trophy events, where he offers his expertise as a marshal, Jan has been offering off-road motorcycle training at his farm in Amersfoort for the past 17 years. He has taught thousands, of motorcyclists the joy of off-road riding. But suddenly Jan saw everything he’d built over the years disappear before his eyes.

+ Read more

House without roof.

House without roof.

“I was marking a route out in the forest when I got a call from my neighbour, who’d seen that a big storm was on the way,” says Jan. “I put my BMW GS back in the barn and walked towards the house, when I heard something that sounded like a gunshot. I looked around me and saw hailstones the size of my fist falling from the black sky. I ran inside but all the doors and windows started to shake. Then I looked outside and lots of the big trees were lying on my front lawn. When I looked up, I noticed that the roof of our house had gone.” 

+ Read more

Help from the GS community.

Help from the GS community.

When Jan dared to go outside again he was met with a scene of total destruction. “All the buildings except one were destroyed. There was no power, no water, we couldn’t exit or enter the farm because of the fallen trees. Next morning, the whole community showed up cleared the road and started cutting up trees. By now, the BMW motorcycle community also had heard about the disaster and the offers of support started to flood in, as Jan explains. The additional support from the BMW community was huge, especially in terms of professional services offered. Engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, insurance people all offered their time and expertise. Whatever their professions and skills were – they offered them.”

+ Read more

A bike like a passport.

Jan is justifiably proud of the GS community in South Africa, acknowledging that if he had tried to fix everything on his own, he wouldn’t have succeeded. He’s played an active part in helping build the GS ‘family’ over the past 17 years and it’s only fitting that so many of them – whom have benefitted from his expert instruction on the many courses offered at Country Trax – wanted to give their time and expertise and money to bring the Academy back to life. “The GS community is strong here and other brands don’t have anything like this. We also have the riding territory and climate others don’t have, so we can really use these bikes all year round. In South Africa, BMW Motorrad doesn’t sell bikes, it sells a lifestyle and owning a GS is a way into a family, a membership of a special club – where your passport is getting the bike.”

+ Read more

A weekend full of riding pleasure.

A weekend full of riding pleasure.

BMW Motorrad South Africa has always had great attendances at its customer events, but its latest national GS Trophy event surpassed all expectations, with 879 participants arriving at the Badplaas Resort in Mpumalanga for a weekend of GS-riding fun and competition. The 2017 GS Trophy South Africa featured several off-road routes, specially plotted for the event. After two days of rigorous challenges – similar to those conducted at the International GS Trophy – Team Gauteng were crowned the victors. The team was made up of Eugene Fourie, Mark Dickinson and Alfred van der Westhuizen. The winning Women’s Team was made up of Elzelda van Jaarsveld, Linda Steyn Bodington and Antoinette van Rensburg. 

+ Read more

The main event, for competitors only.

The main event, for competitors only.

The 28 participants invited to the finals for the national team selection were outstanding, so when the final qualifiers were planned to take place at Country Trax, chief instructor Stefan Boshoff knew what to do: “The standard of riding in the GS Trophy just keeps on rising every year. We know all the competitors because they’ve been through our training courses and many of them have tried for previous team selections. So when it comes to our qualifiers we have to make sure that we have the kind of challenges that continue to raise the bar but don’t break bikes or people."

+ Read more

They’re always introducing subtle changes, because the riders watch videos from Country Trax and try to anticipate what they’re going to do. "But we keep mixing it up!” One of the challenges was called the ‘Wall of Life’. A scary, deep circular pit, bordered in its entirety by concrete blocks set at an angle of about 60 degrees. The competitors had to battle nerves, G-force and a tricky entry and exit point to ride their BMW GS at an angle and speed never before attempted. “The idea comes from the Motodrom, which we saw at BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen”, laughs Stefan.  

+ Read more

Over the final qualifying three-day event all 28 participants had their courage and riding skills tested during 19 rigorous exercises, designed to measure endurance, teamwork, technical skills and mental tenacity. The event culminated with the announcement of the team that will represent South Africa in Mongolia in 2018. The men who make up Team South Africa are Mark Dickinson, Eugene Fourie and Chris Meyer. Also announced were the two women (Linda Steyn Bodington and Ezelda van Jaarsveld) who secured their place for the International GS Trophy Female Team Qualifier, which will also be held at Country Trax.

+ Read more

You’re only allowed to compete once in the Int. GS Trophy, but such is the experience and camaraderie that this unique event offers that many former participants return to their national events in some capacity, whether it be marshalling, mentoring or just supporting. This happens all over the world, especially in places like South Africa where the GS community is so tight. And also at the 2017 finals, there were two out of the three current Int. GS Trophy champions who were helping out. 

Also present was Morag Campbell, one of the three ‘GS Girls’ who contested the 2016 international finals as part of the first ever women’s team. And to give the South African event a truly international flavour, special visitors included Tsutomu Morohara from Team Japan 2016, as well as BMW Motorrad’s own Andy Dukes, who dropped in to support the event while riding the South African stage of www.themarathonride.com

Tsutomu summed up his GS experiences: “We are a worldwide family and when the national qualifier takes place in Japan, I will for sure be there supporting!”  

+ Read more
"
We are a worldwide family and when the national qualifier takes place in Japan, I will for sure be there supporting!
"

Watch out, the girls are coming.

Watch out, the girls are coming.

Ever since BMW Motorrad announced that an international female team would contest the 2016 Int. GS Trophy, the interest from women GS riders has been on the increase, especially in South Africa, where one of the three original team members – Morag Campbell – has been mentoring a growing group of ladies.

“We’ve got some fantastic ladies who ride GS bikes. We have staged a number of training days and skills challenges and also have our own Whatsapp and Facebook groups. It was wonderful to see the nine ladies come to Country Trax to try out for one of the two places to go forwards to the international team selection trials. And it was great to see that the girls wanted to run with the men and do exactly the same stuff as them.”

+ Read more

Out of Europe and into Africa.

Out of Europe and into Africa.

Originally from The Netherlands, Edgar Kleinbergen, new General Manager BMW Motorrad South Africa has been amazed by the level of GS riding skills in SA, which he believes are the best in the world, thanks to the training offered by Jan and the team at Country Trax. He acknowledges that the South Africans know how to ride hard, but it’s the way they support each other – men and women alike – through rides, training and competitions that makes him realize why they are the reigning Int. GS Trophy champions.  “It’s an amazing country, completely different from Europe, and just perfect for GS riders,” he says. “The ability you’ve got here to ride off-road is incomparable to anywhere else in the world. The community here is so strong. You could see friendships being made here – friendships going on for many years.” 

+ Read more

Stationery4Africa

If you're worried that your charitable donations might not be reaching those that need it most, what could be better than travelling to Africa yourself, jumping on a BMW GS bike and riding out with your panniers full of pens, pencils and paper to give directly to African schoolchildren? Stationery4Africa is the brainchild of GS rider Marchant Maasdorp, who has already been doing this for several years. Watch the video to see how you and your BMW Motorrad community can get involved. 

+ Read more

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader?

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader?

The BMW Group’s involvement and investment in local communities continues in South Africa. In July, In Pretoria a BMW Motorrad Literacy Centre was unveiled in Pretoria and provided for pupils from the DC Marivate Secondary School in Soshanguve. With the assistance of BMW Group employees from surrounding plants, one of the school’s old classrooms was transformed into a fully functional literacy centre, meaning that the 865 Grade 7 to Grade 9 pupils, aged 11-13, will for the first time have access to a school library.

+ Read more

Encourage to read.

Encourage to read.

The new BMW Motorrad Literacy Centre was established to encourage pupils to read and to assist those struggling with basic literacy. The focus of this corporate social investment strategy is education and employee volunteerism. The DC Marivate Secondary School was brought to the attention of the BMW Group South Africa by employee Obakeng Rangwaga, who had established a reading club at the school for struggling learners in various grades. “Reading, like riding a motorcycle, is a skill that has to be nurtured and honed. Reading and riding both have the ability to open up new worlds and create opportunities,” says Edgar Kleinbergen, General Manager BMW Motorrad South Africa. “Through the #reasontoride campaign we want to encourage learners to read – not only to improve their performance in the classroom – but as a way to explore the world.” 

+ Read more

F 800 GS

Adventure

Find out more
Weitere Stories, die Dich interessieren könnten.