As the 2022 iteration of the GS Trophy kicks off in Albania, let’s take a moment to meet Team USA – all three of whom are MOA members – and learn a little about them. (Many thanks to Louise Powers for coordinating coverage for BMW Owners News. Photos courtesy BMW Motorrad/GS Trophy.)
Meet Cory Call
Cory Call was about four years old when he got his first motorcycle; his brother bought him a Honda QA 50. Anyone who knows Cory will be completely unsurprised to know he instantly crashed it into the bushes under the kitchen window.
“That was probably around 1975 or ‘76. I have been riding ever since!” Cory said.
Cory now lives in Sacramento, California, and has owned a dirt bike in some form or another ever since. Early on, his brother would take him and his buddies to the track to race motocross. Motocross-style riding has been a constant in his life and he still tries to ride every week at a local track. In fact, he still rides today with one of those buddies from early on!
During his junior year in high school, Cory took a motorcycle shop class. He already had a strong background in the mechanical workings of motorcycles due to hands-on instruction from his father and brother in the garage. Not surprisingly, he excelled in the class and found it was his best subject.
Come his senior year, Cory got his first job in a motorcycle shop and has been working in the motorcycle industry ever since. He started as a mechanic, then transitioned into sales after years of being a technician. Cory has worked for just about every brand over the years.
When he was old enough to get a motorcycle license, Cory got his first street bike, a Yamaha RD350. In 1991 he started road racing with the AFM, then moved into super moto in 2001. Because he likes both street and dirt bikes, dual sports have been in his garage since the early 2000s.
“When I got my job at San Jose BMW, I rode my first R 1200 GSA and that was it! I was hooked! I sold my [Husqvarna] TE510 and bought a 2018 GSA,” Cory said. “I’ve had my GSA a little over two years now. It’s got over 180,000 miles on it, but sadly it’s never been out of California.”
After making Team USA, the entire team had a chance to get together and ride in the Mojave Desert. At the end of Day 1, Cory came back with an astonished look on his face, followed by a smile that wouldn’t quit for the rest of the weekend.
“That was SO fun!” he declared.
As it turns out, though he has owned a GS for years, he’s never had the opportunity to ride one on the kind of terrain they hit that weekend. He soon got a new 2022 R 1250 GS, and he commutes 130 miles to work—each way—year ‘round, rain or shine. His life remains motorcycles—in and out!
Meet Ben Phaup
You won’t find Ben Phaup’s GS in front of Starbucks despite his deep and abiding love of black coffee, an affinity he developed during years of working high-stress, dangerous jobs. Through his tour in Iraq as a US Marine, then years of working as a commercial logger, oil rig hand and underwater welder, he’s had two definite constants: coffee and motorcycles. Ben currently works in electronic security and his family has made their home in Amherst, Virginia, a small city nestled on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I started riding at 10 years old on a friend’s dirt bike. My parents were adamantly against it, so I wasn’t even allowed to have one,” Ben said. “After riding friends’ bikes for a couple years, a friend of my parents who was an avid rider told my parents he’d show me and my brother how to completely rebuild this old broken-down dirt bike he had. He said if we bought the parts, we could keep the bike when it was done. My parents agreed because we were learning a useful skill, and after a few months of working on it in the evenings, we had a fully-restored 1977 [Yamaha] YZ 80.”
Ever since then, Ben has always had some sort of dirt bike to thrash around on trails wherever he lived, and his time on bikes since then is all off-road and nearly 100% on dirt bikes. He raced hare scrambles for a few seasons, but didn’t find the podium often, as he admits he’s not the fastest rider. His skills shine on technical routes and endurocross-style terrain.
A series of injuries—including one sidelining him for nearly a year—Ben started looking for a safer alternative. This led him to a Suzuki DR650 as a way of fulfilling his dream of riding the Trans-America Trail. The DR was his first true street legal bike.
Ben said, “After getting [the DR650] all ready to go for my trip, I found I really did not like it. The thought of taking it cross-country horrified me, so I bought a BMW F 650 GS twin at the last minute and took that instead.”
Since impulsively buying the F 650 GS and taking it through the TAT, Ben has predominantly ridden large adventure bikes, both locally and around the country.
“I really enjoy the challenge a large bike presents when taken off-road,” Ben said. “I also enjoy proving people wrong when they say, ‘You shouldn’t take a big bike through that.’ My response is usually, “Challenge accepted!’”
Learning of the GS Trophy was part of his decision to buy that first BMW. “I wanted to participate, but you had to own a BMW and I didn’t,” Ben said. “I grudgingly sold my other bikes and bought a 2016 R 1200 GSA with every intention of selling it as soon as I could.”
As Ben trained for the GS Trophy, his preconceptions about the GS started to shift. He went from indifferently regarding it as a necessity for his goal of participating in the GS Trophy to really loving it.
“Now I plan on always having a GS in my garage,” Ben said.
Meet Jim Duplease
Jim Duplease’s start in the world of off-roading wasn’t on two wheels. At the age of seven, his uncle gave him an ATV. In his excitement, he hopped on and promptly drove it into his swing set, bending one of the upright poles. As doing this sort of thing is not a deterrent to Jim, he continued riding ATVs and snowmobiles where he grew up on the east coast.
Jim finally moved on to two-wheeled fun when he moved to California in his early 20s; he now lives in San Diego and works as a roofing contractor. He first got a street bike—a Yamaha Virago 750—and added a dirt bike not long after. A friend convinced him to borrow an R 1100 GS and what followed was years of longing, as he knew he was in no position to own one at that time.
When the day finally came for Jim to buy his very own GS, he picked up a 2001 R 1150 GS, a bike near and dear to many adventure riders’ hearts thanks to its introduction to the world in a certain ‘round-the-world television series. He rode it down through Central America, and was hooked.
Once he returned, he upgraded that ’01 R 1150 GS to an ’08 R 1200 GSA. In 2017, Jim bought the bike he rides today, a brand-new R 1200 GSA. He has put that bike to the test over and over, including pounding out 3,300 miles in three days from San Diego to Boston, and later riding from San Diego to Daytona in two and a half days. He’s ridden that bike over most of the single track near San Diego, up to Prudhoe Bay, and along the Continental Divide.
Jim headed to Ecuador for a two-week trip, two-up with his girlfriend. Other than that trip and a few other rides here and there, he tends to be a solo rider. “I have met a lot of cool people that way. People always come up and talk when I’m solo,” he said. Now he has a variety of rides, including his GSA, a trials bike and dirt bikes. He’ll be the first person to say, “You don’t know me!” as he slides away on his Vespa with a mischievous smile and a six-pack of Busch Lite strapped to the back seat.