Charles Lucht, Dennis Godwin and Thomas Asher, who won East Coast, West Coast and Central GS Trophy U.S. qualifiers last Fall, had never met before arriving at BMW’s U.S. Rider Academy at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Yet, after two grueling days of riding and training on challenging courses in torrential rain, high wind and knee-deep mud puddles, they were a team…Team USA. In less than a week, they will compete against 18 other teams representing 25 nations in the fifth BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy in Northern Thailand. Beginning February 28, 57 riders, along with 21 embedded journalists, will demonstrate their skills in a week of adventure riding, special tests and teamwork challenges.
In Spartanburg, Charles, Dennis and Thomas were joined by Motorcyclist magazine’s Senior Editor Zack Courts, Team USA’s embedded journalist, and Bobby Wooldridge, of Atlanta, GA, a member of Team USA in the 2014 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy. Zacks’s technical skills, Bobby’s firsthand competition knowledge and professional guidance by BMW Performance Center instructors Ross McKinney and Ray Helms helped prepare Team USA members for the terrain and challenges they are likely to encounter in Southeast Asia.
As a storm raged across South Carolina, all of the riders mastered control of their BMW R1200GS motorcycles in the challenging conditions, and quickly started functioning as an effective team on the very first day. To reinforce teambuilding on the second day, the group went rock climbing outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Learning to depend upon each other for rope work and guidance, they had to climb blindfolded in a tandem team and rely on instructions from the others. After two intense, productive days of training, Team USA was prepared to travel to Thailand as a tight cohesive unit, confident in knowing that they can function together under challenging conditions.
Team USA Biographies
Charles Lucht, 49, of Richmond, Virginia is self-employed in the cleaning service business. He was the winner of the East Coast Qualifier at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg in September 2015.
Dennis Godwin, 56, of Buena Park, CA, is a general contractor who won the West Coast GS Trophy Qualifier at RawHyde, an official BMW training partner.
Thomas Asher, 47, is a mechanic from Johnstown, Ohio. He emerged victorious at the GS Trophy Central Qualifier in Bixby, MO.
Competitors in the 5th BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy will ride a fleet of 114 identical specially-prepared 2016 BMW R1200GS motorcycles, 100 of which will be R1200GS versions for the competitors, journalists, organizers and special guests, with 14 R1200GS Adventure models for the event marshals. Preparing the machines for the GS competition required only a small number of modifications. All the GS bikes are equipped with an aluminum enduro engine guard, steel crash bars, valve cover guards, headlight guard, wider enduro footrests, adjustable footbrake lever and a safety screw for the oil filler neck. All bikes will run on Metzeler Karoo 2 tires.
The GS Trophy begins and ends near Thailand’s Chiang Mai province, February 28 to March 5, 2016. We’ll bring you daily event coverage here as well as a full recap in the BMW Motorcycle Magazine.