Heels & Horsepower Magazine

BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2020 Oceania. Day 5. Team SA takes the lead

Day 5 changed the 2020 GS Trophy in a big way as the South Island served up a sizable new challenge: mountains! As promised, the riding intensity had been raised to a new level.   

The morning started with a steep and winding 20km rocky climb up Mount Richmond.  The riders travelled through forest which took them above the cloud base before reaching the 754m Maungatapu Saddle where they found the first test of the day: the Emirates Challenge. 


In this test all the riders had to navigate tricky trials between the rocks and bush while remembering three key flight details to be relayed to the marshal at the finish: flight number, boarding time and seat number! 
The ride down the mountain was no less tricky and for sure the riders were grateful for the coffee stop in Nelson (the capital of the Tasman Bay region), known for its spectacular sea fishing as much as the local fruit and wine cultures.

However, the coffee break was soon forgotten when the riders found themselves fighting their way up and over yet another mountain. This one was even more technical than the first. 


After a tough morning, the afternoon took on a more reflective attitude as the riders got to enjoy the spectacular ride on highway through the Gorge, to come out upon the west coast and the Tasman Sea. Here the riders found a stunning ocean road bordered by limestone cliffs and rainforest dotted with New Zealand’s unique and beautiful Nikau palm trees. 
The riders´ final destination was Punakaiki Beach were they embarked on the second test of the day: the Rab Challenge. This test brought many a laugh as the teams had to run across the beach, remove their boots, unpack and climb into their Rab sleeping bag, then reverse out, pack the bag, slip on their boots and run back to their next teammate. 
Day Five overall standings:  
1 South Africa 277

2 France 266  

3 Italy 247  

4 South Korea 233

5 Russia 212

6 Netherlands 208  

7 Brazil 205

8 Australia 192  

9 USA 190  

10 Argentina 186

11 Middle East 186  

12 Latin America 185

13 Nordic 168  

14 Mexico 165

15 UK 164

16 Japan 151

17 India 141

18 Malaysia 141

19 Thailand 136

20 Int. Female Team I 108

21 North Africa 106

22 Int. Female Team II 58

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

New on the Tarmac: Meet the BMW F 900 R & F 900 XR

BMW South Africa has recently launched the dynamic new Roadster F 900 R and the F 900 XR in the Adventure Sport segment.  In so doing, BMW Motorrad is further expanding its product range for the popular mid-range.

Both models offer sporty riding pleasure, straightforward handling and a unique range of equipment options, packaged to offer attractive value for money. Based on a powerful shared backbone, the two models differ significantly in terms of character and positioning.

The new F 900 R – the Dynamic Roadster for purist riding pleasure

Suitable for everyday riding, the new BMW F900 R is a dynamic roadster fashioned for self-confident, sporty and active bikers.   Aimed at experienced riders and newcomers alike, the new F 900 R’s aggressive design, sound, engine output and torque conveys an irresistible sense of freedom.

The new F 900 XR – a genuine “XR” for the mid-range

The F 900 XR boasts sporty riding dynamics combined with upright, GS-like ergonomics, outstanding long-distance and passenger suitability and a design that conveys a powerful sense of character.

The new F 900 XR also benefits from the technology transfer from the upper class: Adaptive Cornering Light and Keyless Ride are unique features in the mid-range.

In addition to sporty riders, the XR is also aimed at newcomers thanks to its low minimum seat height and attractive entry price.

Pic Courtesy of BMW SA

Technology benchmark in the segment

The two new models – the F 900 R and F 900 XR  – currently set the technological benchmark in the mid-range segment with their high-quality standard equipment (Connectivity, LED all round as standard) and their wide range of optional extras – in some cases unique in this class (including Adaptive Cornering Light, Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, engine drag torque control (MSR), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and RDC.

Adaptive Cornering Light as a component of Headlight Pro, is unique in the mid-range and comes as an optional extra ex works


2-cylinder in-line engine along with new engine drag torque control

In the new F 900 R and F 900 XR, enhanced riding dynamics are ensured by the further development of the 2-cylinder in-line engine first introduced in 2018 in the F 850 GS.  While offering a particularly emotional sound, the engine produces 77 kW of power and 92 Nm of torque.

In addition to the standard anti-hopping clutch, the new F 900 R and F 900 XR can be fitted with engine drag torque control (MSR) for the first time. MSR prevents the rear wheel from slipping as a result of abrupt throttling or downshifting, thereby ensuring even greater safety.

Pic Courtesy of BMW SA

Two standard riding modes

The new F 900 R and F 900 XR already offer the “Rain” and “Road” riding modes as standard. The standard trim also includes ABS and ASC Automatic Stability Control, which  can be disengaged.

With “Riding Modes Pro” as an ex works option, the sporty characteristics of the new F 900 R and F 900 XR can be experienced even more intensively. The additional riding modes “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro”, Dynamic Traction Control DTC and banking capable ABS Pro are available, along with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and the new engine drag torque control (MSR).

Even greater safety is offered by the Adaptive Cornering Light as a component of Headlight Pro, which is unique in the mid-range and comes as an optional extra ex works. Here, the rider benefits from improved illumination of the road when cornering for even safer riding at night. All lighting units in the new F models are based on LED technology as standard.


Readable colour 6.5-inch TFT screen with BMW Motorrad Connectivity 

The BMW Motorrad developers attached great importance to optimum readability for the instrument cluster – even in difficult lighting conditions. In addition, information diversity, display quality and user-friendliness are unmatched. The graphics on the screen are visually adapted to the sporty on-road world. Additional Core screens are available in conjunction with the optional Pro riding modes. The standard BMW Motorrad Connectivity is a unique feature in the mid-range, offering the ability to conveniently talk on the phone, listen to music or navigate while riding.

Cleverly designed ergonomic triangles for dynamic riding pleasure 

As a dynamic roadster, the F 900 R offers a particularly sporty, active seating position.

Meanwhile the F 900 XR offers an impressively active yet relaxed riding position for touring and travelling. The front fairing –  including an adjustable windshield – combines a sporty look with sound rider protection.

Various low and high seats along with the optional lowering feature also allow individual adjustment to various body heights.

Three powerful colour and style variants for an unmistakable sense of character

Three dynamic colour and style variants for the new F 900 R and F 900 XR ensure unmistakable characteristics.

The new F 900 R is available in Blackstorm metallic, San Marino Blue metallic and Style Sport in Hockenheim Silver metallic/Racing Red.

In addition to Light White, the new F 900 XR offers the two Style variants Style Exclusive in Galvanic Gold metallic and Sport in Racing Red.


F 900 R        From   R164 700-00

F 900 XR     From    R169 100-00