Team South Africa wins GS Trophy

South African riders victorious at International GS Trophy

The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Southeast Europe saw the eighth running of this prestigious event.

After 1230km of hard core adventure riding and 15 special tests Team South Africa clinched overall victory, in both the mens and ladies divisions.

21 teams took part in this year’s edition and they were really put to the test by the location in Albania, with high temperatures and high humidity.

Most days saw riders spend nine or ten hours in the saddle, and that to cover a total distance of half that travelled in the 2020 International GS Trophy in New Zealand, which shows just how technical this GS Trophy was.

All participants rode identical BMW R1250GS models equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres. Optional extras fitted included an enduro engine guard, headlight protector, cylinder head cover, endure footrests, adjustable gearshift and footbrake levers, sports windshield, rally seat, Akrapovic silencer and a small tank bag from the Adventure Collection.

For the first time the female competition was separated. Now, with six two-person teams, all doing exactly the same course as the male teams they were able to compete for their own Trophy. The ladies were fearless and well prepared and despite being much shorter and smaller than their male counterparts, their mastery of the big BMW R1250GS was even more impressive.

The final days riding near Kavaje included some of the best trails in the area. Designed to test the skills of the GS riders one more time, it included a succession of fantastic hill climbs and descents on tracks that challenged the riders with a labyrinth of super-deep rain channels, ruts, steps and cambers. In between there was a succession of river crossings, the rocky riverbeds presenting a real challenge. These trails once again showed what a great all-rounder the BMW R1250GS is.

When the scores were finalised, for the fourth consecutive time, it was Team South Africa who came out tops. They had made a steady start to the competition and got stronger as the week went on. Physically and mentally superior, and well practiced individually and as a team, if any other nation wants to claim victory, they will need to significantly increase their preparation.

“This is amazing, we didn’t expect this, on the last night we were doing the numbers and we knew it wasn’t a certain thing. It came down to the last challenge. So we are really stoked. And to take the fourth win is great, there was that pressure not to be ‘that’ team – the one’s who didn’t win – but we said to ourselves we’d do the best we can and whatever comes up, comes up. Also, we want to thank everyone who’s supported us back at home, they really help make this happen,” said Warren Ventner, Team South Africa.

 “It’s unbelievable. We were only leading Germany by one point yesterday and we didn’t have the best last stage so until the result was announced we didn’t know which way it had gone, but somehow we still kept that one point advantage, I feel truly blessed. It just shows what teamwork can do if you just don’t give up. It’s been a great competition, we’ve really enjoyed our times with the other female teams, they’ve been incredible, and so much fun. And what a great thing to do; once women have been exposed to this great sport and pastime of adventure motorcycling they see how fantastic it is, how liberating, that you ride, you see the world, you meet new people, see different places, even in your own country. It’s a wonderful thing,” Hanneli Zondagh, Female Team South Africa.