Owners of GS bikes across South Africa joined together for the 2011 BMW GS Eco Challenge from October 6-9. This year’s annual event saw GS owners experiencing an adventure unlike previous years. The selected destination lay in the heart of the Eastern Free State of Clocolan, South Africa.
This year the BMW GS Eco brought together the best of previous GS events: a combination of the GS Challenge and the GS Eco 1000. The riders experienced picturesque scenery that challenged their riding skills and ability on well planned green, orange and red routes.
BMW Motorrad South Africa welcomed 604 riders and in total over 720 attendants for this event, of which 37 were women riders. Coupled with the riding experience, GS owners were also contributing towards the sustainability of the ecosystem. For every participating motorcycle, BMW Motorrad donated one tree to Food & Trees for Africa’s program, ‘Trees for Homes’ – South Africa’s national greening and food gardening enterprise.
After a demonstration of how to prepare the soil, plant the tree and care for it, each of the trees donated by BMW was handed to the community to be planted in the Clocolan area during a special ceremony held at the local school. A commemorative tree will also be planted at the BMW Motorrad Head Office in Midrand – in addition to the 510 trees that were recently planted by BMW for the 2010 rally offset – thus totaling 1,110 trees to be planted to date.
In addition to the trees that were donated to the local community, a sum of R50,000 (~$6,400) was donated to two local charities, one being an orphanage and the other a home for the aged. The riders themselves collected and donated another R15,000 (~$1,900) towards the further upgrade of the facilities where the event was held.
Friday and Saturday’s route riding was rounded off with a skills challenge to show off the talent some GS riders have. Spectators were wowed and entertained with precision riding and some spills, where the course became very technical.
After the dust had settled and all the riders had cleaned the Clocolan dust off them, the winners of the challenge were announced and all enjoyed a feast prepared by the local Clocolan community. The final winners of the two categories were presented with some great prizes and a trophy to take home for their achievements. Herman Neethling won the Advanced category and Mike Schmucker won the BMW GS Eco Intermediate Skills Challenge and the BMW GS Eco Best Performance trophies.
All in all it was a fantastic event providing a great foundation for future challenges, showing off a collection of new and old GS models as well as the great camaraderie that surrounds the BMW GS.