Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Across five continents on a BMW R1200GS

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One bike, five adventures and the ride of a lifetime...

A few months ago, BMW ran a competition – ‘One World. One R1200GS. The ride of your life’ – where five people from around the world stood a chance to win an opportunity to ride an R1200GS wherever they wanted to. About 12,000 people participated and a jury made up of Adrien Brody and Rick Yune (Hollywood actors), Jutta Kleinschmidt (ace rally driver and one-time Paris Dakar winner) and Charley Boorman (intrepid motorcycle adventurer and TV presenter) selected the five who’d get to have a go at fulfilling their motorcycle adventure fantasy.

The final winners came from Italy, Germany, Spain, France and Great Britain and each person got to do the “ride of their life” on a different continent. Just one R1200GS, however, was used, which means that one bike actually crossed all five continents. Starting from Laos in January this year, the bike went to New Zealand, South Africa, the US and finally Europe. When the ride finally concludes later this week, the R1200GS would have covered a total distance of about 12,600km, ridden by five different riders over a period of 44 days. A remarkable adventure all right!

Here’s a quick look at the five riders and their five adventures aboard the BMW R1200GS...


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35-year-old Italian rider, Alessio Cigolini started the ride of his life in Laos on the 25th of January this year. Cigolini and his support team did a 9-day journey along the Mekong river, traversing rocks, gravel, dust and asphalted roads across jungles and mountains and fording a river or three to make things more interesting.

New Zealand

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49-year-old German rider, Herbert Unger took over the keys to the R1200GS in Christchurch and proceeded to ride across New Zealand’s South Island. Along the route were some spectacular stretches of road taking in the fishing villages along the coastline on the way to the mountains. A stop-off in Queenstown was followed by a very tough 18km stretch across rivers and over mud-caked ascents into New Zealand’s mountains. Unger’s ride concluded at Castle Hills, where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in the past.

South Africa

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Starting from Cape Town, 41-year-old Spanish rider, Salvador Echevarria then rode the R1200GS across South Africa. Echevarria’s trip took him across rocky cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, the Cape of Good Hope National Park and one of the world’s most famous off-road trails, just the other side of De Hell, where steep, rocky tracks and near-vertical hillsides demanded concentration and precision.

Unites States of America

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39-year-old French rider, Stéphane Gautronneau started his ride in Los Angeles and over a period of 10 days, rode the R1200GS across the western Unites States, taking in canyons, surfing beaches, snow- and mud-covered trails, Californian mountains, the desert scrub along the Pacific coast and the scorching heat of Death Valley. “Riding a wonderful machine along this demanding road – that’s rock’n’roll,” said Gautronneau at the end of his ride.


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25-year-old British rider, Stephanie Rowe started her tour in Barcelona and is travelling through five countries – Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Germany. When she ends her ride later this week (on Saturday, the 13th of this month), she would have ridden across Pyrenean mountain passes, partly unsurfaced roads of the Languedoc and Auvergne in France, the Tuscan hills and the winding roads overlooking Lake Garda in Italy and finally into BMW’s hometown, Munich, in Germany.

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