The place to be for adventure riders over the weekend of June 14-16 was Niedereschach in the Black Forest region of Germany, where the tenth annual Touratech Travel Event took place. Attracting thousands of overland enthusiasts from across Europe, the meeting also included the GS Trophy Germany competition, where aspiring enduro riders battled for places to represent their country in the 2014 International GS Trophy finals.
Adventure travelers pitched their tents in the campsite before finding their way to the entertainment compound, where motorcycle travel films and presentations were taking place throughout the weekend under a giant canopy. In the retail village visitors were able to check out travel and motorcycle lifestyle products including the presentation of the latest star attraction – BMW’s brand new F800GS Adventure.
The 2013 BMW GS Trophy of Germany got underway promptly at 9am on the Friday morning. Running in conjunction with the Travel Event, around 200 GS-riding competitors found themselves riding back and forth across the Black Forest region, following road books and completing special tests in their quest to win one of the coveted places in the next International GS Trophy that will take place in 2014.
Just for fun, BMW Motorrad’s “One World. One R1200GS Tour” participant Herbert Unger from Germany was also taking part in the GS Trophy competition in his home country and commended the “top organization, picturesque surroundings and packed program of activity.” Herbert was also joined by fellow ‘One World’ riders Stéphane Gautronneau from France, Stephanie Rowe from the UK and Alessio Cigolini from Italy, who took part in selected stages.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Alessio. “I got to ride with Stéphane, we rode six of the 17 tests – most of them enduro type – and we completed one route from the road book. It was a perfect for the riding and for the chance to share the day with all the other GS Trophy riders. Everyone is so happy, helping each other and sharing ideas. It was the true GS spirit.”
The morning of the second day of the event was greeted with glorious sunshine that lasted all day, making for balmy temperatures. Under blue skies, darting between the lush green meadows, diving in and out of cool shade of the Black Forest, thousands of travel enthusiasts from all over Europe made the best of this celebration of the adventure motorcycling lifestyle.
Saturday saw the conclusion of the GS Trophy Germany competition, after a second eight-hour day of riding and special tests around the Black Forest. A grand final arena trial in the early evening helped determine the winners from the 15 finalists – 10 of who were competing for Team Germany places and five who were in contention for Team Alps (Switzerland and Austria).
For Team Germany, Markus Eichberg, Roman Wusch and Thomas Becher took the top three places and so go on to represent their country in the international BMW Motorrad GS Trophy of 2014. For Team Alps, Swiss riders Thomas Ringler and Ernest Heggli will be joined by Austrian Manfred Preloschnik in the international finals.
Markus Eichberg, a 37-year-old heating engineer from Munich and father of three, was elated to be crowned outright winner at this his second attempt at a BMW Motorrad GS Challenge/Trophy. “I can’t believe it. I sold my much-loved original BMW GS many years ago as I was committed to raising my young family, but then bought a BMW HP2 three years ago when I couldn’t stay away from the bikes any longer,” he said. “Then last year I thought it would be nice to try riding my BMW HP2 off-road by entering the GS Challenge – and this year I’ve won it! My family were okay with me coming away for the weekend but now I’m going to have to break the news to them that next year I’ll be away for much longer, riding an adventure of a lifetime, thanks to BMW!”
Touratech Chief Executive Herbert Schwarz said he was proud this tenth running of the Travel Event in Niedereschach, which again has been successful and enjoyable. “It is a wonderful event with so many friendships being made and re-made over the weekend. We had so many nationalities visiting, including some who chose to compete in the GS Trophy. For instance, it was great to see a mix of a nine-man Belgian team working alongside German competitors in the team challenge, while also in the entry there were riders from Italy, France, the Netherlands and the UK.
“Within the Travel Event we also had a wonderful mix of international riders, some returning from great adventures, and others preparing to leave on their own. In the campground and all around the event, people were sharing stories, advice and inspiring each other.”
GS Trophy winners Team Germany:
1st Markus Eichberger (Peißenberg)
2nd Roman Wusch (Wiesbaden)
3rd Thomas Becher (Stephanskirchen)
GS Trophy winners Team Alps:
1st Thomas Ringler (Romanshorn / Switzerland)
2nd Ernest Heggli (Lufingen / Switzerland)
3rd Manfred Preloschnik (Vienna / Austria)