A big starting line-up of riders and a great choice of roads and tracks to explore in the Bloemfontein area of South Africa ensured that the 2014 BMW Motorrad GS Eco was a great success. Hundreds of owners of BMW GS motorcycles from all over the country came to enjoy a weekend of riding and challenges, and help raise funds for community projects and schools in the town of Maselspoort in the Free State province.More than 600 owners of BMW off-road motorcycles participated in the annual BMW GS Eco over the weekend of 11 to 14 September. Held just outside of Bloemfontein at the Maselspoort Resort, the event attracted a wide variety of BMW GS owners, who were made up of both trained professionals and hobby riders. There was a choice of tar and dirt routes to demonstrate their riding capabilities, and those who wished also had the opportunity to put their technical skills to the test in the annual GS Eco Skills Challenge, which was divided into two categories: intermediate and advanced.Previous winners of the GS Eco Skills Challenge include Western Cape rider Ruan De Lange, who was champion in 2012 and went on to represent Team South Africa, who finished in the runner-up spot in this year’s International GS Trophy in Canada. This year’s GS Eco Skills Challenge advanced winner, John Gray, was therefore the recipient of a special prize – a wild card entry to the 2016 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy national qualifiers.Alex Baraka, General Manager for BMW Motorrad South Africa says that the prize was introduced in order to give more South African GS customers the opportunity to enter the illustrious event that takes place every two years and attracts teams of top GS riders from across the globe. “South Africa is one of the most important GS markets in the world,” says Baraka. “It is the only market where we sell more GS Adventures, which makes it unique. Our customers have also indicated that they would like to have the opportunity to qualify for the GS Trophy.”As a wildcard entrant Gray will not have to participate in the provincial qualifying rounds (to be introduced in 2015) for the 2016 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy team. However, he automatically qualifies for the national qualifying round that decides who will make up the South African team.Baraka says that the BMW GS Eco is very unique because of its magnitude: “To have over 800 guests come together is amazing. It shows the enthusiasm our customers have for this brand.”As well as offering a unique experience to BMW GS riders from all over South Africa, the event’s eco theme enables the organisers to raise funds and donate various necessities to various poverty-stricken areas, and in so doing, leaving a lasting positive imprint on the communities in which the event is held.This year, BMW Motorrad and participating riders raised money for various community projects and schools in Maselspoort; including an industrial washing machine valued at 5,500 rand for the Bolokanang Youth Centre; 5,500 rand for the Towers of Hope leadership foundation; and 10 000 rand raised through Stationery for Africa, an initiative run by two BMW riders that aims to make a difference to children’s education by providing stationery, to selected schools in Maselspoort.For more information and pictures from the 2014 BMW GS Eco event, please see ...
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