The GS Trophy - BMW F800GS - Dirt Rider Magazine

I'm not sure when I signed up for a two-week ride in Tunisia, a country that's smack-dab between Libya and Algeria on the northern coast of the African continent. That was because I was told the GS Trophy would be, "about a week long," and when I saw my plane ticket I was pinging. This was all I knew about the event other than to bring some toothpaste and energy bars.So the GS Trophy was fashioned after the Land Rover- and Jeep-style Eco-Challenge events and you never really know what's going to happen and what you'll be required to do. It turned out to be teams from different countries with a mix of journalists and regular BMW owners chosen through selection processes in each country. We all met up in Milan, Italy, rode to Genoa then boarded a ferry, and arrived in Africa for 10 days of all the northern-most portion of the Sahara could sink us with. Mostly camping and followed by Dakar-style support trucks, we trudged through the sand on BMW's newest adventure bike, the F 800 GS. More of a streetbike than anything, it made even simple off-roading challenging and quickly put a lot of riders in their place in the sand. What ensued was a slow convoy of crashes, clashes and camaraderie with the American team of Jason Adams, Jon Beck, Ryan Dudek, Brad Hendry, Jim Stoddard and myself taking a victory in the inaugural event over teams from Japan, Spain, Italy and Germany.What follows is a photo essay to give you a feel for the event. For the test on the BMW F 800 GS, check out

Hitting soft sand can be like hitting a curb.
Hotel Team USA, where the flies find you no matter how far out in the desert you are.
The sand in Tunisia is soft. Especially on a twin-cylinder street pseudo-dirt bike. Most of the challenges we faced were speed-based on the bike, which made it easy for our team. We had three pro-level riders.
Mechanicals on all of the bikes amounted to a couple of flat tires and a smoked clutch.
The Dakar-style chase trucks transported luggage and spare parts.
Team Japan in action formation flying a set of dunes called "The Doors."