Two more teams have been added to the growing list of 2012 GS Trophy entrants. The latest nations to confirm their line-ups for the forthcoming South American challenge in November are Germany, Switzerland and Austria, who will enter two, three-man teams (a German and an ‘Alpine’ team) to this event.
The BMW GS Challenge national qualifier took place over the weekend of June 15-17 as part of the annual Touratech Travel Event at a site close to the company’s headquarters in Niedereschach in the Black Forest region. Now in its fifth year, the BMW GS Challenge Germany was bigger than all previous editions and after two exciting test days packed full of adrenaline and excitement, the winners were chosen to represent their nations.
This year’s GS Challenge in Germany sold out just six weeks after the dates were announced. On the first day, 250 starters on various GS models turned up in hope of successfully qualifying and booking their seat on the flight to South America later this year. The age of the entrants ranged from 19 to 63 years old and around 40 percent of them were competing for the first time – including 14 women riders.
Nerves and tension were clearly in evidence on the first morning, especially as the Touratech Travel Event that was happening simultaneously meant enthusiastic crowds of supporters assembled to watch this series of unique challenges and cheer on the competitors. Riders from Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain helped create a truly international flavor to the event, which would test not only riding skill, but teamwork, physical fitness, stamina and brain power.
As varied as the numbers of participants were 17 ‘specials’ designed to bring out the talents necessary for success in a competition of this nature. From ‘jousting’ to ‘Mars mission’ to ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ the BMW adventure-sport bike enthusiasts were tested to the limit – on and off their GS bikes – and it was about much more than individual performances. Team spirit, communication and problem-solving skills needed to be in evidence in order to successfully complete tests that included transporting an F800GS by ‘human chain’ up and down an obstacle course, and creating a structure with woolen yarn and pegs that was strong enough to carry a person in it.
In hot conditions, navigation and road-book skills were comprehensively tested, which naturally opened up miles of off-road trails in the Black Forest, combined with those spectator favorites – water crossings and enduro challenges on steep quarry slopes. In addition to top riding skills, competitors also needed courage and strong nerves, especially on sections that included riding an F800GS along concrete pipes, over rows of tree stumps and even up and down cars.
In the end, the GS Challenge Germany was won by Alexander Métayer from Stuttgart, who dominated the two-cylinder class. “I came along this year just for fun, with the intention of spending a nice weekend with like-minded enthusiasts, so to get first place here and secure my place in the German team for the GS Trophy finals is sensational,” said the 43-year-old tour operator, whose clear victory came as a result of consistently good performances in many areas, despite an unconventional style of riding where he stayed in the saddle for many sections.
Runner-up in the GS Challenge Germany was 33-year-old events manager Tobias Weiser from Diez, with 48-year-old motorcycle dealer Thomas Donnecker from Bad-Soden-Salmünster the third rider selected to represent the German colors in South America.
The Alpine team will be represented by two Swiss riders – 44-year-old Martin Anrig from Sargans and Armin Schnyder (also 44) from Horw – as well as 22-year-old Austrian, Wilfried Schmidt Mayr, from Vienna. Special mention should also go to Ladies’ Cup winner Silke Schober from Oppenweiler, who missed the finals by just three points.
Commenting on another successful event, GS Challenge Leader Michael Eberwein said, “The participants were absolutely delighted with the Challenge, the atmosphere and the competition, which has resulted in extremely positive feedback. It is the spirit of the GS community, which makes the challenge so special. Thanks to the excellent preparation in cooperation with Touratech everything went really smoothly, so it will be hard to improve on this formula, although we’ve already got some new ideas that we can bring to the next BMW GS Challenge.”