Explore the unexpected is the motto of the eighth edition of the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, which will take place in late summer 2022 in Albania, one of the last still largely untouched off-road paradises in Europe.
The participating nations look forward to exciting but also work-intensive times as they organize the qualifying events and select their teams for this unique adventure competition. Twenty-two international teams and, for the first time, six international women’s teams will be selected in the coming months.
Qualification events for the GS Trophy 2022 Southeast Europe will take place in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Southeast Asia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
One team can already look forward to participating in the GS Trophy 2022. The 2020 Chinese team received a wildcard because it could not participate in New Zealand due to the COVID-19 restrictions in force at the time.
Long competition days were the order of the day for the Oceania 2020 edition in the fascinatingly varied landscape of New Zealand. As Dr. Ralf Rodepeter, Head of Brand and Product BMW Motorrad, explains, Albania will offer qualified GS riders completely different riding environments and experiences. He said, “After Tunisia, South Africa, Patagonia, Canada, Thailand, Mongolia and most recently New Zealand, BMW Motorrad was once again on the lookout for a location that offered the perfect GS terrain. Lots of legal off-road kilometers are required, with demanding route profiles and plenty of unknowns. Albania offers the ideal conditions – varied landscapes with high mountains, plateaus, deep forests, beaches along the Adriatic coast, fantastic river beds to cross and deep mountain lakes provide the ideal backdrop for what we believe to be one of the most exciting GS Trophies ever staged.”
ALBANIA is a small Balkan country with hospitable people and one of the last off-road jewels in Europe. Albania borders Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the north, Macedonia to the northeast, Greece to the southeast and south, the Ionian Sea to the southwest and the Adriatic Sea to the west.
Albania was very isolated right up into the 1980s and it was not until 1990 that the Albanians were allowed to vote freely for the first time. The country has been a member of NATO since 2009 and an EU candidate country since June 2014.
Albania is slowly opening up to tourism. The narrow coastal strip of the Adriatic Sea attracts many visitors in summer; two-thirds of the country is covered with mountains and the back country is sparsely populated. The coastal region has a Mediterranean climate with a continental climate in the hinterland.
Albania is a country of contrasts from the Middle Ages to the modern age. Castle ruins and fortresses line the roads and tracks everywhere. The small towns are steeped in a mysterious atmosphere and often you don’t have to travel long to feel far removed from the modern world.
A lot of construction work is going on, yet nature is taking back roads and paths just as quickly. Only a few major roads connect the north with the south and the east with the west.
The hinterland is criss-crossed with extremely narrow, winding roads and dirt tracks, which call for a a high level of riding skill. You will always be in for a surprise around the next corner, never knowing whether the road will continue or simply stop.
THE INTERNATIONAL GS TROPHY celebrates the spirit of the legendary BMW GS models. It offers everything a GS motorbike was made for: riding fun, adventure and challenges. Previous competitions were held in 2020 in Oceania (New Zealand), 2018 in Central Asia (Mongolia), 2016 in South East Asia (Thailand), 2014 in North America (Canada), 2012 in South America (Chile, Argentina), 2010 in South Africa (South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique) and 2008 in North Africa (Tunisia). The 2022 competition will bring 60 riders from all over the world, along with GS Trophy Marshals, media representatives, doctors, sponsors as well as a photo and film crew.
The International GS Trophy is not a race but a team competition in which an international line-up of off-road enthusiasts compete together in various special stages. Not all of these tests are about riding – they are also about knowledge and teamwork. As the competitors spend a lot of time together and also sleep in bivouacs, this adventure event also promotes a feeling of togetherness. It is not uncommon for lifelong friendships to be made during the GS Trophy, which connects people, cultures and motorcyclists from all over the world in the same way as the GS motorbikes do.
Based on the experience of the past GS Trophy events, the most successful team will be the one that prepares the best, has the best teamwork and rides most skillfully while having heaps of fun and enjoying the great feeling of international camaraderie.
BMW Motorrad will provide details of the GS motorcycles to be used, the equipment that will help the participants master the event and more information on the participating countries and selected teams. BMW Motorrad will be offering a multi-channel media experience during the event, details of which will be published shortly. This will include social media postings and regular messages in written form as well professionally shot and edited video summaries for every day. For now, you can find out more about the event and the teams on the dedicated website – gstrophy.com.
Right after the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2022 Southeast Europe has finished, BMW Motorrad will once again be offering the “Follow the Trails” tours, where customers can follow in the footsteps of the competition on original GS Trophy motorbikes.