A bigger starting line-up of riders and a great choice of roads and tracks to explore in Clocolan, in the heart of the Eastern Free State in South Africa, ensured that the 2012 BMW Motorrad GS Eco was a great success. More than 600 owners of GS motorcycles helped make the BMW GS Eco challenge a true national event from October 18-21.
Riders of BMW GS motorcycles had a choice of tar and dirt routes to choose from, allowing both hobby riders and trained professionals to demonstrate their riding capabilities. In addition to the choice of routes, some participants took part in the GS Skills Challenge where they showcased their riding skills by overcoming a range of demanding tasks, including riding on a slope; opening a gate with one hand while controlling the bike with the other; bike weight balancing movements; using their GS to push a big wheel rim into a goal post; and riding onto and across a seesaw.
Western Cape rider Ruan De Lange was the 2012 BMW GS Eco Skills Challenge champion. Other finalists included Roger Kane-Berman (KwaZulu-Natal), Duncan de Klerk (Gauteng), Gunther Kritzinger (Gauteng), Shane Levy (Mpumalanga), Stephan Joubert (Gauteng) and Geoff Goetsch (Gauteng). Although the event was dominated by male riders, a number of ladies also showcased their riding skills. Another Western Cape rider, Mandie Engelbrecht, was named the best female rider, while Gauteng rider, Elmarie Bierman, was named the best pillion.
“The enthusiasm among riders is what bears out the idea behind the GS Eco event,” said Rob Holder, general manager of BMW Motorrad in South Africa. “This event has grown into an annual occasion offering a unique experience to BMW GS riders from all over South Africa.”
“Not only do we ride and have fun, but our annual eco theme enables us to offset the carbon emissions caused by the event by donating various trees and other necessities to various poverty-stricken areas, and in so doing, leaving a lasting positive imprint on the communities in which the event is held,” added Holder, also confirming that this is part of the reason why the event is only limited to 600 riders.
During the 2012 BMW GS Eco event, BMW Motorrad and participating riders donated 600 trees to the community of Kanana in the Grasmere area of the Vaal region, in partnership with Food & Trees For Africa. Three hundred trees were distributed in that area at the start of the event while another distribution will be done for the remaining 300 trees at a later stage. To date more than 1,200 trees have been planted in various communities where the event has been held.
In addition, two schools and an old-age home in Clocolan also benefited from the funds raised for the 2012 event entries. The Hatane Pre Primary School received new blackboards, tables and stationery while the Clocolan Primary School’s boarding house was given new linen. The frail care facilities of the Clocolan Old Age Home will also be upgraded.
The next BMW GS Eco event is scheduled to take place in the Eastern Cape, October 17-20, 2013.