BMW GS Trophy North America 2014

Cycle World's off-road tester checks in from western Canada, where he’s competing with Team USA in the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy North America. With Video!

BMW GS Trophy North America 2014 event action shot

BMW's GS Trophy is a unique event that brings together riders from around the world to celebrate the go-anywhere adventuresome spirit of the GS. This year marks the fourth edition of the GS Trophy, which began humbly with only five teams in 2008. Now there are 16 teams from 19 countries, with a total of 48 competitors. I'm one of the single journalists assigned to each to each team, so that makes 64 total competitors.

Starting just outside of Calgary, the 2014 GS Trophy North America is making its way in a southwest direction and will eventually make a 1200-mile loop through western Canada. It really is a sea of BMW R1200GSs, as there are about 80 riders on the road at any given time. We travel rally style for the entire event, setting up nightly bivouacs in each location.

I was selected to accompany Team USA, which involves competing in some of their challenges. Nicknamed the “B-Team” because of their names (Benjamin Profitt, Robert “ Bobby” Wooldridge, and Blair Young) these three riders from the Southeast US won a won a three-day national qualifier in which more than 70 American riders competed.

Although the GS Trophy is kind of like a rally, it is not a race. Still, the competition is heavy as teams are tested on a variety of challenges. These tests are kept secret until the time they happen, which heightens the curiosity and anticipation. In the two days we’ve ridden so far, four challenges have been completed. In a “Bridge-Out” challenge, all team members had to pull and push their bikes through a swift moving creek, the fastest time getting credited with the win. In a test of technical skills, riders had to complete a figure eight while holding an oversized ball and placing it back in a bucket with our left (clutch) jand! And in addition to a navigation challenge, we even had a fierce game of broomball at a local hockey rink. Hey, it is Canada, after all.

With five more days of riding, we’re sure there will be better and more interesting challenges ahead as we make our way on GSs through the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

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2014 BMW GS Trophy North America logo.