Heels & Horsepower Magazine

GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa – Day 1. The scoreboard is open!

The wait is over! The search for members of the South African team headed to Albania 2022 is on!

The peaceful farm near Amersfoort in Mpumalanga, ordinarily the home of Country TRAX Off-Road Riding Academy, was turned into a hive of activity this week when the BMW Motorrad South Africa machine rolled in for the start of the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa.  

Tents were pitched, flags hoisted, cables laid, and catering facilities set up in the preceding days as the farm was transformed into the Covid-secure hub for the 31 men and women who would be competing for a place in Team South Africa for next year’s International GS Trophy.

The eight regional teams, each comprising three members, and the seven ladies started arriving on the afternoon of Thursday, 9 September. With Covid-19 formalities out of the way, competitors were left to prepare their equipment for the weekend’s challenge and familiarise themselves with their individual luxury tents that would be their home for the weekend.

It was at the gala dinner where Penny Sterley, General Manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa officially welcomed all the riders, marshals, and support staff to the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa. What followed was to set the scene for the action-packed weekend.

After the initial rider and event briefing, the competitors participated in the first official challenge of the qualifier with a night navigation exercise using a GPS track log.

The night ride was completed without incident by midnight and, just like that, the scoreboard was opened for the rest of the weekend!

It certainly got the competitive juices pumping ahead of the weekend of challenges, set to culminate with the announcement on Saturday night, 11 September, of the five-person team going on to compete at the International GS Trophy 2022 in Albania in the late European summer.

BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2020 Oceania. Day 4. The (No) Rest Day

Day 4 was something of a liaison as the 2020 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy transitioned from the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand. 

The riders interpreted this as a chance to rest and recharge their batteries, but with a 3:30 am call to breakfast – so as to catch the early inter-island ferry – they soon realised, that there really is no rest in this competition until the finish.

Nonetheless, this was a great opportunity for the GS riders to share experiences, as with three hours on the ferry they had plenty of time for inter-team chats. Albeit that was after they had completed their first challenge of the day – the ‘40 years of GS Quiz’ in which they were tested on their knowledge of this iconic motorcycle that has become so much more than just a brand.

In fact it was a ferry ride in three parts: knowledge test, sleep and sightseeing, the latter coming as the ferry made its way down the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound to the port of Picton.


In Picton the GS Trophy riders created a stir as all 140 F 850 GS motorcycles disembarked the ferry, followed by the vast entourage of cars and trucks that support the event. Once out of Picton – which took all of two minutes, it’s that small – the GS riders enjoyed a scenic ride through the Marlborough Sounds. 

Although this region is world famous for its wine production, the route followed the national park trail along the sounds and then up into the valleys before reaching the small town of Havelock (population: 486) where the GS riders gratefully stopped for a refreshment break. From here it was a short ride to Pelorus Bridge where they found their campsite set deep in a forest.


The early afternoon finish was not an opportunity to rest as the GS riders found two more challenges waiting for them. First was the ‘GPS Challenge’ in which the teams took their BMW Motorrad Navigator VI GPS units and had to find their way – on foot – through the forest to find another Navigator VI unit from which they extracted data to be reported to the marshal at the end of the challenge. 

No sooner had they finished this, than the riders were shepherded to the ‘Metzeler Challenge’ where they needed to demonstrate their prowess with the tools, changing the rear wheel on their F 850 GS. Again, as this was against the clock the teams needed to have intimate knowledge of the wheel spacers, chain run and brake arrangement if they were to set a fast time.


Day 4 was the halfway point of the 2020 GS Trophy and the competition was really getting heated. The top three teams were very close together on points indicating that the remaining days would indeed be a battle for the top spot.

Day 4 overall standings:

1 France 226

2 South Africa 223

3 Italy 211

4 South Korea 199

5 Netherlands 189

6 Russia 188

7 Brazil 175

8 Middle East 170

9 USA 165

10 Australia 160

11 Latin America 158

12 Argentina 155

13 UK 139

14 Mexico 138

15 India 129

16 Japan 127

17 Thailand 124

18 Nordic 123

19 Malaysia 115

20 North Africa 93

21 Int. Female Team I 89

22 Int. Female Team II 52