One of the biggest amateurs-only adventure bike competitions will get underway this weekend, with BMW’s GS Trophy officially starting Saturday, February 8.

If you’ve been around ADVrider a while, chances are you know what the GS Trophy is, but if not, here’s a quick summary. The Trophy is BMW’s in-house competition for adventure riders. To gain entry, teams must win local GS Challenge competitions in their home country or region, then win the national qualifier. The GS Challenge competitions are a mix of riding, mechanical repair and survival skills tests. The riders must be aboard BMW GS-series adventure bikes to win.

It’s a great display of rider talent and other capabilities, and this year, there are 23 teams, including two all-female teams with internationally-selected rosters. There are several first-time teams this year, but surprisingly, there’s no German team. There’s also no Canadian team. This year does see South Africa, the 2018 champions, return, and of course there is a team from the US.

This year’s GS Trophy runs in New Zealand, running from Auckland to Queenstown; February 15 is the final day of riding. Competitors are riding the F850 GS Adventure.

Before this year’s competition, BMW bigwigs were saying New Zealand “offers perfect ‘GS terrain,’ ” with  “Lots of legal off-road kilometers… demanding route profiles, passing through fascinating landscapes and with plenty of exotic flair.” Watching the promo video above, it looks like the promotion was entirely accurate. A combination of mountainous terrain, coastal scenery and a huge amount of unpaved roads will make this an unforgettable event.

The journos and riders are showing up early this week, and if you follow the GS Trophy’s website and the BMW Motorrad Facebook page, you should be able to keep on top of the action (most riders and teams have individual social media outlets).

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