Munich. The seventh BMW Motorrad International GS
Trophy, the 2020 Oceania edition, came to a close on February 16.
After eight grueling days, and over 2500km travelled over both the
North and South islands of New Zealand, Team South Africa emerged
victorious in this most iconic of adventure motorcycling competitions
– for the third consecutive occasion.

Some 22 international teams, with participants from over 40
countries, took on the challenge of the latest edition of this unique
competition. Riding in the Southern Hemisphere summer, the riders
mostly enjoyed comfortable temperate conditions, but more than once
they also experienced the unique Kiwi phenomenon of ‘four seasons in
one day’ as overnight temperatures plummeted and the riders found rain
and winds as they tackled the trails. The GS riders also found
themselves everywhere from sea level – on the North Island beaches –
to thousands of feet up alpine passes in the South Island.

The days were typically long with breakfast calls at 5:30 and up to
12-hours of riding. On the occasion of crossing the Cook Strait to
reach the South Island the start was an even earlier 3:30; in all the
riders became very familiar with eating breakfast by the light of
their head torches.

Once on the trails, the riders experienced every terrain New Zealand
could offer, from sandy beaches, to gravel tracks, to rocky passes and
a good number of river crossings. Their adventure riding skills and
their endurance were most certainly tested.

This year’s Int. GS Trophy motorcycle was the new F 850 GS, which
more than proved itself as being up to the rugged task. It was also a
delight to ride, with so many of the riders expressing satisfaction in
the bike’s versatility and performance, while proving fun to ride both
on highway and on the trails.


Team South Africa’s ‘threepeat’

The Oceania 2020 edition will be recorded in Int. GS Trophy history
as one of the closest competitions (although it’s hard to go past the
one-point win the UK recorded over the South Africans in 2010). Going
into the eighth and final day there were three teams in close
contention for the win, with less than 10 points splitting them: South
Africa, Italy and France. And after the first test of the day – when
the South Africans suffered an uncharacteristic fall – the competition
hung on the outcome of the final parcour test. Only then Team South
Africa rallied impressively, putting in three almost immaculate rides,
while the need to attack saw Team France and Team Italy made some mistakes.

And so Team South Africa took their third GS Trophy win ‘on the
bounce’. That’s wins in the South East Asia, Central Asia and now
Oceania editions – which they can add to runner-up positions in the
2014 North America and 2010 South Africa editions, marking them out as
by far the most successful nation in the history of the event.

However, it must be said the South Africans did not dominate this
edition. For the first three days the hard-riding – and it has to be
said, fun loving – Team South Korea headed the leader board, only
handing over the lead to Team France on day four. The South Africans
were always in contention though, and from day five to the end they
headed the leader board, but only by the slimmest margins as Teams
France and Italy proved tenacious in their pursuit.

Team Netherlands – three tall, powerful figures – proved impressive
in their debut in the competition. Placed ninth after day one, they
improved daily and in fact were top scorers on the final day to lift
themselves to fourth overall, just five points off the podium. Other
debutants didn’t fare so well. Team North Africa were down a man after
one of their number sustained a fracture to his foot after crashing on
day two. They finished 21st. Team Middle East placed mid-pack in 11th
and Team Malaysia 18th.

Team India, debutants and last place finishers in 2018, improved by
three places this year, finishing 19th – keeping to their vow to
improve with each edition, although at this rate it may take a fair
few editions before they reach their second target of challenging Team
South Africa for the win!

The International Female Teams did not score the successes they
desired. But they rode strong and scored highly on occasional tests.
Their high point came on the marathon 440km day six, when the two
female teams, riding together, both started and finished the day at
the head of the pack. Bearing in mind this day also included an
arduous 110km technical off-road section through the Mackenzie high
country – with a fair few deep-water crossings – this was an
impressive display of both technical riding and endurance.

In the end it was Team South Africa’s year, again. Solid preparation,
excellent teamwork – paired with a great sense of international
camaraderie and a fun attitude – saw them prevail.

Brandon Grimsted: “We had a fun week, we thoroughly enjoyed it and
honestly it was some of the best off-road riding I’ve done in my life.
Holding just a five point lead into the final day was scary and we
were nervous, over-thinking everything, and that led to problems in
the penultimate test, but we got back up and for the parcour final we
set a fast time with super-clean riding and that won it for us.

“As a team we were already close, but the week of being in each
other’s company all the hours of every day has bonded us for life! And
the friends we’ve made along the way, from all these different nations
– well, it makes the experience complete.”


The BMW F 850 GS

After three editions with the boxer twin R 1200 GS, this year was a
return to the parallel twin GS, now updated to the F 850 GS as
launched a year ago. The new bike brings with it the tough build of
its predecessor, the F 800 GS, but is brought up to date with all the
latest rider aids for a thoroughly modern adventure ride. The bike
performed well with its agility both on and off-road.

Tim Mitchell, Team UK: “I normally ride an R 1200 GS, so riding the F
850 GS was a new experience for me – and a good one, I enjoyed the new
rider aids and things like the new TFT screen which packs so much
information and yet reads so naturally. And I enjoyed riding it, too,
it handles so well both on the twisty highways as well as on the trails.”

Ronnie Lundberg, Team Nordic: “I love this bike! I love the
suspension, the power, the way it is so narrow. I found it to be great
both on the gravel and the road, across everything, and that’s what GS
is all about, it’s an everything-you-want bike. So good!”

Tony Aldana, Team Mexico: “This is a beautiful bike, it does
everything. I don’t know how to say it; it is everything that I need.
I’ve been thinking about a 1200, but from this test, these eight days,
I now think I love this bike more! You can go fast, go off-road, go
through rivers, you can do anything with this bike. And the technology
it has is great, the traction control and the enduro pro mode are
amazing. You can go with this bike anywhere you want to in the world!”


The Int. GS Trophy

In their words

Diego Penagos, Team Latin America: “To be honest it feels really bad
for this adventure to be coming to an end. This community, these
friendships, we’ve met people from all over the world, made so many
friends, it’s been wonderful – but now we must go home! On one hand
we’re super-happy for the experience, but we’re going to miss all this
and these people so much. I’ll even miss my teammates as they don’t
live in Colombia. I’m going to miss everyone so much!”

Rickiey Naik, Team India: “This has been very, very exciting,
sometimes challenging. The views, the terrain, the overall experience
has been phenomenal, in fact I’m running out of words to describe it.
It’s like they say, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The whole
bunch of people, the marshals, the organisation – it has all been amazing.”

Soufiane Ammar, Team North Africa: “I came into this event as the
media guy but I became a proper team member after we lost our leader
on the morning of day two. But we never gave up and we had a beautiful
week, enjoying beautiful landscapes, making great relationships, and
we now have so many friends from around the world. So we are happy to
have made the finish, it’s been difficult but we are here and very
happy to have made it. And next time hopefully our team will do
better. Make life a ride!”

Aurelien Szulek, Team France: “Wow, every day was amazing, the
relationships with the people were great, the roads, the landscapes…
and the bike was really good, I didn’t expect it to be so good. It
feels good on the road and trails. So we want to say a big thank you
to BMW Motorrad, for creating the GS, because with this bike they
opened the road to so many possibilities. It’s the best adventure bike
in the world and BMW Motorrad is the only brand that can give an
experience like we’ve enjoyed this week.”

Nikki van den Spek, International Female Team I: “The week has been
amazing. We had a language barrier in our team – we are Colombian,
French, Austrian and Dutch – but we overcame this and together had a
great experience, and now we know each other so well. For the girls,
sometimes it was hard, but in the end they managed the bike very well
and it wasn’t a big problem. When we rode with the male teams you
could see in the morning the men were thinking ‘hmm, we have to ride
the whole day with the female team?!’ But after a short while
everything was okay and they’d say, ‘hey, you are great riders, we’ll
have fun today!’ It’s sad the event is now over.”

Tony Aldana, Team Mexico: “This week has been everything, but more
than everything, an adventure! There has been river crossings, sandy
beaches, gravel, rocky trails – everything that I love about
motorcycling. New Zealand has everything, mountains, lakes – it’s a
beautiful country. In all this was a beautiful once-in-a-lifetime
experience, I loved it. There was not a day I would say was the best,
the perfect one – the whole event was perfect!”


Mathias Horn, Project Manager, BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy

“The 2020 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy has been the biggest
yet. The most participants, the longest distance and, well, two
islands! So it’s been a challenge, the logistics have been immense,
particularly as we’re down here in one of the remotest locations on
the planet. But as always our team has come together and the event has
run exactly to plan.

“I’m delighted that the event has met, if not exceeded, the
expectations of the participants. The GS is not just a motorcycle,
it’s about connecting with the world, about a community, a shared
passion, and so this event has so much to live up to. The participants
have come to experience so much and for the F 850 GS to deliver on
that, to have won over their hearts – and being a new model for many
this was their first experience with it – has been a success in itself.

“In all it’s been something of a life-affirming experience for the
participants, but also for us as organisers – every day we got to
share in the joy.

Lastly, I’d like to express sincerest thanks to our sponsors, each
bring so much to the event and to have representatives from each here
with us, riding the course with the participants, seeing their
products in action, that’s special too.”


Amelie Diehl-Thiele, Project Manager, BMW Motorrad
International GS Trophy

“It’s a delight to bring the people of the world together, to see new
teams from North Africa and the Middle East as well as increased
participation from the countries of Asia. That the GS can unify people
from 40 nations, bring them together, to share the ride, the joy and
laughter, is an outcome of the event that goes far beyond corporate
talk of brand or market awareness.”

“As well, I think our course directors, Chris and Tom, plotted a
route through New Zealand that showed off this incredible environment
to its best, while ensuring we left but the lightest of footprints. We
showed that adventure motorcycling can reach the wilderness but also
respect it.

“And we’re grateful to the people of New Zealand for having welcomed
us so warmly, while I’ve been proud of our GS riders who have behaved
as the most exemplary of ambassadors for adventure motorcycling and
the GS motorcycle.

“So to all the GS riders out there around the world, we invite you to
join the GS Trophy community and, who knows, in a couple of years you
too could be participating in the international final, enjoying the
ride of your life!”


BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2020


Final standings:

1 South Africa 394

2 France 382

3 Italy 380

4 Netherlands 375

5 South Korea 361

6 Latin America 355

7 Brazil 335

8 Russia 316

9 Mexico 295

10 Argentina 278

11 Middle East 268

12 Australia 264

13 USA 254

14 Nordic 246

15 UK 238

16 Thailand 222

17 Japan 218

18 Malaysia 208

19 India 200

20 Int. Female Team I 169

21 North Africa 146

22 Int. Female Team II 118


The event’s excitement was also be relayed with much more information
of a more informal kind via BMW Motorrad’s social media sources:

BMW Motorrad Facebook

Twitter (#gstrophy)



“RIDE AND TALK – The BMW Motorrad Podcast


In case of queries, please contact:


Tim Diehl-Thiele, Head of Communications BMW Motorrad

Tel.: +49 151 601 57505,


Ingo Wirth, Head of Communications MINI and BMW Motorrad

Tel.: +49 89 382 25814,



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