Around The World Relay Makes It Home Safely

In March 2006, a group of adventure motorcyclists departed Madrid in Spain to begin one of the most ambitious around-the-world rides ever seen - a unique relay ride involving four BMW R1200 GS Adventure motorcycles, 120 riders and 30 stages across the globe.Eighteen months later, after a combined total of almost 372,000 miles completed in Europe, Africa, Asia, America and Oceania, the four R 1200 GS Adventures arrived safely back in Madrid to a heroes' welcome from Spain's capital city and its inhabitants.

Having travelled through some of the earth's wildest and most difficult terrain, as well as having 30 different riders on each machine, the four motorcycles were joined on the final 43 miles to the center of Madrid by a 'caravan' of BMW riders, who accompanied the four R 1200 GS Adventures and their riders on 4 September for the final journey to Madrid's Town Hall, where they were met by the City Major, Don Alberto Ruiz Gallardon.

One of the Round the World BMW Riders Tour organisers, Gerardo Seelinger, describes his elation at seeing the successful conclusion of the most complete and complex team travel journey ever organized.

"It was amazing to see all four bikes safely back in Madrid after 18 months and 83,000 miles on their odometers. Between 150 and 200 BMW riders came out to join the final procession into the center of Madrid and the police closed all the main roads just for us - I have never seen anything like it! There were press, TV and radio present and what was really special is that the Mayor - who actually rides a BMW R 1200 S - would like to see us as ambassadors for the 2016 Olympic Games and to use this kind of journey to promote Madrid worldwide."

The BMW Riders Around the World Relay project was originally inspired by two Spanish motorcyclists - Gerardo Seelinger and Gustavo Cuervo - who (with the support of BMW Motorrad Espana) dreamed of a ride that combined some of the best roads and the most breathtaking scenery in the world and offered a special insight into different countries and cultures that no ordinary holiday could ever hope to achieve.

Hundreds of people applied to join the ride, but only 120 places were available, so the chosen few were lucky to become part of a unique journey that will probably never be completed on this scale again. The journey has been a real test of the new BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and there are no other Adventures in existence that have had such a hard life in such a short space of time. Fortunately, the bikes lived up to the reputation established by BMW Motorrad's 'Gelande Strasse' genre for more than a quarter of a century and as Gerardo puts it, there was simply no other machine that could have stood up to the test of having 30 different riders on some of the world's most inhospitable terrain.

"The GS Adventure is the only bike that could have done a trip like this. The great thing about this journey is that everyone thought it would be impossible, but it just shows you what can happen when the adrenaline starts to flow! We will give the bikes back to BMW and one will probably be auctioned for charity. We'd like to think we've helped 120 riders to have an experience of a lifetime and that their journeys have inspired them to realize just what it is possible to see on a motorcycle. There were so many interesting people who were riding the stages but the most memorable ones for me were the four grandmothers who trained for nine months to prepare for their trip. They were all over 60-years-old and only weighed around 110 lbs (xxkg) each but they learnt how to ride those GS Adventures and completed their stage successfully. In fact, their biggest hurdle was their own families, none of whom wanted them to go!"

Due to phenomenal demand, Gerardo and Gustavo are already planning the next Around the World Relay, which is scheduled to leave in February 2008 but will be simpler than this one. "We've had so many people ask us what we're doing next," says Gerardo. "Thirty stages and 83,000 miles was probably a bit too ambitious, so we want to just do 15 stages and 37,000 miles. We'll still go around the world of course, but will only be away for one year this time. We've already got people reserved for seven of the 15 stages, so anyone who is interested in being part of our next adventure should contact me for more details."

Those interested in registering their interest for the next Vuelta Al Mundo BMW Riders tour should email gerardo@vueltalmundobmw.com or visit www.vueltamundoaventura.com, where more details of the 2008 trip will be posted shortly.