Free State wins 2018 BMW GS Trophy

Montague in the Western Cape played host to the 2018 GS Trophy, which saw over 700 attendees descend on the town from 9 to 13 May. Words by Justus Visagie, photos by Greg Beadle

A selection of routes to catered to all adventure riders, with some hailing from Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands. The annual GS Trophy has been held since 2004, when it attracted 98 participants.

Three adventure bike riders
A wide range of routes were mapped out by the organisers

The event introduced riders from BMW Motorrad clubs across the country to some of the Montagu region’s scenery, through a mix of tar, gravel and tough off-road routes.

Riders were encouraged to enter the skills challenge. Obstacle courses were laid out in deep, soft sand adjacent to the event’s home at the Montagu Caravan Park. The organisers changed the obstacles daily, and adjusted the difficulty levels as the competition progressed. Riders who excel here take the first steps towards being chosen for Team SA 2020.

Victory for Free State

The regional teams previously selected and those up for a spot in the wildcard team selected on 10 May, faced a series of timed challenges. The overall winners were announced after a thrilling Saturday session that saw the men’s team from the Inland region take the honours. Carl-Reinhardt Cronje, Dalton de Bruin and Roelof Schutte – all from the Free State – topped the points table. The ladies’ winning team comprised Antoinette Janse van Rensburg, Charine van Niekerk and Lezanne Truter.

A 1200GS rider shows skill in the soft sand
Success at the skills challenge can lead to selection for regional teams and the national team.

By winning, these riders gained entry into the next year’s GS Trophy (2019), to determine who will represent South Africa at the 2020 international GS Trophy event. The 2018 Men’s Team SA, together with the two South African women that form part of the EurAfrica team (including one French entrant), were also in Montagu. They completed a number of training rides, assisted the Skills Challenge participants, and received their official send-off.

“Two things stand out at the 2018 GS Trophy,” says Edgar Kleinbergen, General Manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa. “We have seen a marked increase in the number of female participants – both on the rides and in the skills challenges. It’s encouraging to us and is backed up by more interest from ladies in our learner rider courses.”

“It’s also notable that the overall winners of the men’s skills challenge are aged between 19 and 34, which points to a lower average age of participants in the national GS Trophy qualifiers,” Kleinbergen continued. “It is encouraging to us to know the sport of adventure riding in South Africa will continue for a long time to come.”

Mongolia awaits GS Trophy Team SA

Team SA, Chris Meyer (39), Eugene Fourie (39) and Mark Dickinson (33), will shortly depart for Mongolia to participate in the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Central Asia 2018 from 3 to 10 June. The gruelling event will require riders to cover close to 4 000 km of challenging terrain in just eight days.

Team SA: Eugene, Mark and Chris
Eugene Fourie, Mark Dickinson and Chris Meyer will represent SA at the GS Trophy in Mongolia.

Their journey will be documented on the Facebook page GS Trophy – Team South Africa. Here followers can boost the team’s chances of winning by voting for photos taken by the team. Stefan Boshoff will be the team’s “embedded journalist”. This means he will update followers on the team’s progress and act as their strategic advisor and aid. Be sure to read his interesting and witty updates.

Mongolians in traditional dress welcome the GS Trophy
Mongolia awaits the GS Trophy teams, who will each cover over 4 000 km of this vast country.

One notable event on the sidelines was when Jacques Diener, from Bloemfontein, proposed to Celeste van Aardt after a scenic ride to Cape Agulhas. May their their marriage be as reliable as an air-cooled boxer motor and shaft drive. Visit for more on this gripping motorcycle challenge.