Having fun in the dunes on the F 800 GS; American team member Jason Adams; the Spanish tea
The dust finally settled on the inaugural GS Trophy at the end of October after ten days of epic enduro riding. For the competitors involved in the event, completing the GS Trophy was the culmination of months of hard work and dedication. Although Team USA were crowned the winners, the focus of the event was not on winning or losing, but on ensuring that each team made it to the end of the journey with a smile on their face. According to Jason Adams, a member of the American team, this made for a very special adventure.
For the first ever GS Trophy, teams from Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and America traveled to Tunisia for ten days of challenging riding. The intention of the event was to offer everyday motorcyclists the chance to experience the trip of a lifetime, while pushing their off-road riding skills to the limit in a challenging environment. Each team consisted of six members - a mixture of amateur riders and journalists - who were invited along to be part of this historic occasion.
Aboard a fleet of Touratech-prepared BMW F 800 GS motorcycles, the GS Trophy convoy left Milan on October 15th and headed straight to Genoa to board a ferry which would transport them to Tunisia and a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the desert. What followed were magical days exploring the desert and competing in challenges, and nights sharing stories around the campfire and sleeping under the stars.
After the challenges were complete, one team had to be crowned champions, and that accolade was given to Team USA, who accepted the first ever GS Trophy victory with humility, after impressing with their skill and dedication throughout the event.
"It feels amazing to have been part of the inaugural GS Trophy," says Team USA member Jason Adams. "I feel very privileged to have been part of such a fantastic event. I'm sure the GS Trophy will continue to grow and develop over the next few years, and I'm proud to say that I was a part of that development."
Jason, a 37-year-old theater technical director from New York admits that the GS Trophy was a life-changing event. "One of the most enjoyable aspects of the GS Trophy was hanging out with the other teams," he reveals. "There was a sense that we were sharing a great experience together, and we had been attracted to the event for the same reasons, so we got on really well. Even while we were riding, we would always stop to help one another to make sure that everybody arrived at the destination safely."
Having first sat on a motorcycle at the age of six and with over 30 years of experience on two wheels, Jason describes himself as a true motorcycle fanatic, but by no means an expert. As a result, at times he discovered the difficulties associated with riding in the desert. "The event itself was very challenging," he says. "The hardest part of the GS Trophy was the transit between different areas where the challenges would take place, as trying to get 35 bikes and riders get to each destination took a lot of organization. But this meant that everybody pulled together to make sure it happened. There was an extraordinary feeling of camaraderie which emerged throughout the course of the competition."
Although Jason admits that an event on the scale of the GS Trophy was new to him, it wasn't the first time he had ventured off-road, having previously ridden on four continents, including Africa during a short trip to Morocco. He explains that when the opportunity to be involved in the GS Trophy arose, he simply couldn't refuse it. "I found out through a friend at my local BMW dealership, Max BMW, who sent me the application form as he thought it would be something I'd be interested in - and he was right," he explains. "I'm a massive off-road riding fan anyway, and prefer to stick to open ground rather than trails and tracks, so the idea of the GS Trophy sounded perfect for me."
After filling out his application, Jason was invited to the initial trials, where he faced competition from 95 other riders. After making it through to the next stage, Jason continued to impress to make it through to the third and final round of selection. His leadership, riding and teamwork skills earned him a place on the team and just over a month later he was in Tunisia living the dream.
"Every time I made it through a round of the selection process I was in complete shock," reflects Jason. "There were so many emotions running through my mind, but more than anything I was excited to think that I might be involved. I'm under no illusion that I was the best rider, or the fastest, but I think that my enthusiasm caught the eye of the judges. I maintained that positive attitude right through the selection process and into the GS Trophy itself."
"I'd definitely recommend the GS Trophy experience to anybody. I'd do it again in a second," he concludes. "The experience taught me a lot about riding motorcycles and has given me an even bigger appetite to discover new things."
Joining Jason on the American team were fellow amateur riders James Stoddard and Brad Hendry along with members of the press Ryan Dudek, Jonathan Beck and Jimmy Lewis. For those of you who aren't aware (no excuses!), Jimmy is a former BMW Motorrad factory rider and one of the most distinguished enduro competitors of recent years, having won four gold medals at the ISDE, claimed victory at the Baja Rally and finished third in the Paris-Dakar Rally. He is currently Editor of Dirt Rider Magazine, and was invited to the GS Trophy both to compete and to document what happened along the way.
"It was fun to meet all the guys and see Tunisia on a bike," says Jimmy. "I think the first GS Trophy went well. In fact I hope they keep doing them because they will only get better." Jimmy also reveals that he enjoyed riding alongside amateur riders. "I do it all the time, racing at home for fun, but to get to spend time with these guys out in the desert was cool. I was able to help a lot of them with sand riding too and to see the progression was great."
Following the success of the inaugural event, the GS Trophy has the potential to become a permanent fixture in the motorcycling diary. Although there had to be a winner, the teams from Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan can feel proud of their achievements and contribution to the development of the event.
Visit www.bmw-motorrad.com for more information on the GS Trophy.