The eighth BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy kicked off along the shores of Kavaje, Albania, on September 4, 2022. This year, 21 international teams, including 15 three-rider male teams and six two-member female teams, embarked on a seven-day, 1,230-kilometer (765-mile) journey through Southeast Europe’s Dinaric Alps and Pindus range.
Throughout the contest, the competition remained high. Unlike many technical rallies, the GS Trophy includes photo and video components. Teams capture the most exciting moments from their adventure and earn points toward their overall scores based on fan votes. That unique scoring system kept the teams within striking distance heading into the last day.
Gallery: 2022 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy
BMW saved some of the most challenging riding for the 80-kilometer (50-mile) finale, though. From weaving through shoreline trees to traversing sea-weathered rocks to executing full-lock turns over sand and rocks, the final stage traded distance for difficulty. When all was said and done, the South African team emerged victorious for the fourth year in a row. Trailing South Africa’s 217 points, the United Kingdom secured second place with 204 points, while Germany rounded out the podium at 185 points.
“This is amazing, we didn’t expect this, last night we were doing the numbers and we knew it wasn’t a certain thing,” admitted Team South Africa rider Warren Ventner. “It came down to the last challenge. So, we are really stoked. And to take the fourth win is great, there was that pressure not to be ‘that’ team – the ones who didn’t win – but we said to ourselves we’ll do the best we can and whatever comes up, comes up.”
Female Team South Africa also seized the 2022 GS Trophy with 297 points, narrowly squeaking by Germany's 296 points. Mexico finished on the third step with a respectable 264-point haul.
“It’s unbelievable. We were only leading Germany by one point yesterday and we didn’t have the best last stage so until the result was announced we didn’t know which way it had gone, but somehow, we still kept that one-point advantage, I feel truly blessed,” added Female Team South Africa member Hanneli Zondagh. “It’s been a great competition, we’ve really enjoyed our times with the other female teams, they’ve been incredible, and so much fun. And what a great thing to do; once women have been exposed to this great sport and pastime of adventure motorcycling, they see how fantastic it is, how liberating, that you ride, you see the world, you meet new people, see different places, even in your own country. It’s a wonderful thing.”