February 2020 GS Giants Newsletter
All the BIG News from the GS Giants

The 2020 GS Giants Go Big Rally (Rock Lobster)

(by Rob Nye)


What is Rock Lobster?

Rock Lobster is the 2020 edition of the GS Giants annual GO BIG Rally coming up on August 6-9.  GS Giants love to laugh, meet up with our friends and ride our adventure motorcycles to the middle of nowhere... just about anywhere. We're men and women, young and old, Asians and Africans, Americans and Europeans and more. We speak English, Japanese, Pakistani, French, Spanish, Portuguese... a long list.

A signature event at our rallies are the bike games.  Rock Lobster will be no different and we have two of the best track builders in the United States, Jim Bean and Dennis Godwin, coming to build a very challenging course utilizing natural and man made obsticles..
 

Is this a BMW only event?

Nonsense!  We don’t care what you ride, just that you ride.  In fact, the local area is a hotbed of big bore KTM riders who will be joining us and helping with routes!

What is the venue like?

Rock Lobster will be held at Camp Bobriwka in Colebrook, Connecticut.  Bobriwka consists of 350 acres of woods with a swimming pond, dining hall, bathhouse, bunkhouse and miles of trails.  It is at the foot of the Berkshire mountains, close to Great Barrington, Massachusetts as well the Green Mountains of Vermont.





What is the local riding like?

It is wonderful.  It is New England at its best with twisty pavement leading to historic towns and villages.  You’ll see places that were part of the original Colonies and have the opportunity to have lunch in taverns that served George Washington.

Fine, how about dirt?

They say if you grew up skiing in New England you can ski anywhere and to a large degree the same is true of riding a motorcycle, on and off road.  There are miles of legal forest roads, historic roads and marked trails in the area.  In some New England states the roads are listed by class; in Vermont a class IV road (VI in NH) is a historic wagon path that is not maintained.  Some of these are reasonably easy in August while others can give you a brief taste of our version of the Darien Gap.  The surface is often rocks, roots, dirt, mud and water crossings.  Sand is rare.  Loose surface climbs and descents are not.  Come to a complete stop and shut down the engine when you encounter a person on a horse.

Rides and Routes?

Absolutely!  Thanks to some fantastic local talent we will be offering rides of varied difficulty that depart from the campsite.   These will be self-guided rides with .GPX files provided.  There are also trails on site.  We will offer short loops that are on site and are rated the same as the GPX rides regarding degree of difficulty.  This is to give riders a chance to discover that if you complete a Hero IV ride on a big GS the organizers would be most impressed.

How about the new Northeast Back Road Discovery Route?

The new route from the good folks at Back Road Discovery will be released in February.  Rumor has it the route will come pretty close to the rally site; we suggest riders plan on making Rock Lobster a mid point stop on this route.  There is also the Puppy Dog (Mass to Canada via dirt) and other regional routes.


Can I come early or stay late?

The rally site is a private facility that we have contracted for a specific time period.  We are working with MAX BMW Motorcycles to provide secure parking for your trucks and trailers should you want to come early or stay later.  There is so much to do in New England, your host suggests planning on taking a week to explore.

What is the camping like?

The camping is fantastic!  Directly adjacent to Rally Central, i.e. the dining hall are a few acres of flat, green grass; even some spots with shade from the afternoon sun!  It is also waking distance to the bathhouse.  This area will be 100% tents and bikes only.
There is also dispersed camping throughout the property including spots down by the swimming pond and another near the marsh.

What about campers, 5th wheels and RV?

If this site has any drawback is that it is not big rig friendly.  There will be a designated field for dry camping however it does have a slight slope.  If your tow vehicle is not 4wd you may have some issues.  Unfortunately, it will be very difficult to accommodate 5th wheel trailers.  This field is close to the action; if you look at an overhead photo of the site it is directly to the right as you enter.  Class A Coaches will not fit at this venue.
Quiet time for generators will be 8pm to 8am.

I need to run a CPAP machine, will there be power available?

Of course but it may be a challenge.  The bigger the footprint the further from electricity you’ll be.  If you’re coming with a big trailer, chances are you’ll be far from power and generators go off at 8pm.  If you’re in a tent it will be easy to get you power.  There also may be indoor accommodations for those with such needs, please contact the host for details.

Food?

So glad you asked!  It’s not called Rock Lobster for nothing and we are delighted to share the best of New England over the course of three days.

Thursday night is “Federal Hill” featuring what the locals call Sunday Gravy over pasta and meatballs and sausage with salad, rolls and a welcome to town sheet cake.
Friday breakfast will be pancakes, French toast with bacon and sausage; assorted muffins.  Fresh fruit and yogurt will also be available.  Real Vermont Maple Syrup.
Friday night we’re going to dine like the Pilgrims over roasted turkey breast or roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, salad, rolls with cookies and pies for dessert.  There will also be a salmon choice available.
Saturday breakfast will be egg casserole with meat and cheese, veggie egg casserole, assorted rolls, bagels and soft flour tortillas to make breakfast burritos.  There will also be fresh fruit and yogurt.
Saturday night It's (Rock) Lobster as part of a traditional New England Clambake.  This will feature whole lobster in the shell, clam chowder, potatoes, corn on the cob, bread and dessert.  For folks like your host who don’t eat lobster there will be filet mignon.
Sunday morning breakfast is grab n go; breakfast sandwiches, pastries, energy bars, fruit and yogurt.

With limited restaurants and markets in the surrounding area there will be food available for purchase on site during the day.


Registration?

Registration will be opening soon, just as soon as we resolve a few minor technical issues.  There is a good chance registration will open first to Giants who have renewed their membership (or simply joined) for 2020.  To do so is only ten bucks, takes but a minute and you get a nifty sticker.  Join the GS Giants!

Is there a cap on registration?

Yes. By contract with the site we are limited to 300.  Last year’s GO BIG rally did sell out and we expect this one will too.

Do you have an aerial photo of the camping area?

Yes we do!  North is up.  To the left of the driveway is tents and bikes only, to the right is vehicle camping.  There is some great tent camping by the pond as well which is down a slight hill.




Questions?  Contact the host.

The 2020 GS Giants sticker is here!

(by Dimitrios Tournas)


Are you ready to proudly present your GS Giants sticker? They are finally available! 

Following the new member initiative, which we announced last year, we have changed the way of ordering the stickers. From now on, only registered members will be able to have one. As previously discussed, this is the only way we can keep track of our numbers and provide accurate data to our sponsors. By doing so, we are allowing our family to grow and give back more!

Here's how you register and receive your sticker:
  • Visit our site www.gsgiants.com
  • If you are already a member, click on "Login" on the top right corner. Then, under your member information, select "Upgrade Membership," select your plan, and follow the steps.
  • If you are a new member, please click on "Join," then on "Become a GS Giant," then scroll at the bottom and select "Click here to register as a new member." Select your plan and then follow the steps.
  • Once you completed the above, we will send your new sticker to your home address!
This image is a screenshot of the process mentioned above. If you need any help with the above, please email me at webmaster@gsgiants.com

*** IMPORTANT *** If you have never completed the registration process as a new member, you will need to register as a new member. We sincerely apologize for asking you to go through this process. If you have bought the 2019 sticker from the store, instead of registering, there was no way we could combine the store and members' database.

We are currently working on ways of ordering more than one sticker. We are very close to a solution, and we will be announcing it as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Early Bird Registration For The GS Giants Go Big Rally (Rock Lobster)

(by Rob Nye)

Your board is always looking for ways to add value to your membership in the GS GIANTS.

In addition to the nifty sticker, events, fun and the best tracks in North America we are delighted to offer current members of the GS GIANTS early registration *and* a discount on our annual GO BIG Rally.

This year the theme of the rally is Rock Lobster and will be held in New England on August 6-9. We'll be serving up a New England Style lobster bake on Saturday night, a Pilgrim style dinner Friday along with the fun, games and the incredible challenge track folks have come to expect from the GS GIANTS.

Registration will open to current members of the GS GIANTS on March 1 at a cost of $160. Registration will open for all others on March 15 and will cost $175. No refunds will be given after May 15 but you can transfer your registration. Information on how to transfer will be provided upon registration.

The rally is capped at 300. Last year's GO BIG rally sold out and we expect this one will too.

If you are not currently a member we invite you to join or renew now. You can do so here.

The 2020 GS Trophy goes to New Zealand

(by Dimitrios Tournas)

What Is The GS Trophy?


The International GS Trophy is a Motorcycle Riding Challenge organized by BMW Motorrad. Participating countries select three riders after a series of qualifiers, and together with a journalist, they travel to an exotic riding destination for eight days.
The organizers put the teams under a set of challenges that demonstrate real trail situations. None of the obstacles require high speed; they are, however, incredibly technical and often demand thinking outside the box. They may also require navigation as well as survival skills, such as lighting a fire or making a shelter.
Although only the best GS riders in the world participate in the GS Trophy, the riding abilities of the individuals do not make the winning team.

How Did It Get Started?


The first GS Trophy took place in Tunisia in 2008. The same year that was supposed to be the 30th Dakar anniversary, which got canceled due to security concerns. Many still believe that BMW wanted to have a mini-Dakar only with BMW motorcycles.
Five teams participated in the pioneer of one of the most anticipated Adventure events of the year. Team USA claimed the first place, followed by Spain and Germany who tied in second place. Italy came 3rd while Team Japan finished in the 4th position.
Many perceive the GS Trophy as a marketing event, but it's so much more than that. Since only BMW owners can participate in the qualifiers, one can say it is a celebration of the Brand. But the GS Trophy represents what the Spirit of GS is, bringing the riding community together. Riders are training for months and even for years to compete at a qualifier and even the ones who don't make their country's team walk away with new lifelong lasting friendships. And this is what the GS Trophy represents.

Who Is Competing?


The 2020 GS Trophy Team USA: Harrison Kendrick (left), Kevin Jones (center), Chris Johns (right)

Twenty-three teams from all over the world have gathered for the 7th International GS Trophy. Riders from across the globe are selected to represent their country or region. Once again, BMW has selected six women to be part of the two International Female Teams, which will participate side by side with the men.

Several first-timers for the 2020 GS Trophy like Netherlands, North Africa, Middle East, and Thailand. Returning teams, including among others, the US, Japan, UK, France, and the 2018 winner, Team South Africa. Noticeable absences for this year are the countries of Germany and Canada after their National BMW Groups decided not to participate.

How Can I Participate?

The GS Trophy is open for every rider who owns a BMW GS motorcycle and is not a current professional racer or instructor. Every participating country or region organizes qualifiers from which three riders will make the region's team.


The qualifiers take place every other year, between the GS Trophy. In the past, the US qualifiers were in three separate locations across the country, with a 2-3 day event. On day one, a navigation type challenge will allow the competitors to get to know each other while earning points. The second day, a series of individual and team challenges will determine the 15 riders who qualify for the finals. The last day, the competitors use the same motorcycle, eliminating the advantage of weight, modifications, or personalization of the bike.
On every qualifier, women are also competing for a spot in the group, side by side with the men. While a coed team is not something we have seen yet, we got close to a female rider finishing in the top 3 numerous times. Until then, BMW will choose several female riders for a second qualifier from where one or two teams will travel and compete at the actual GS Trophy.
Finally, BMW offers the opportunity for those who want to relive the excitement of the riding, but without the competition, to visit the same places as the GS Trophy participants. The "Follow The Trails" program allows everyone to visit the country after the event is over and ride over the tracks of the Trophy, accompanied by certified BMW Tour Guides.

Where Is It Held?


This year, BMW is taking the winners of the National qualifiers to beautiful New Zealand for eight days of mythical adventures. And while it not definitive if the riders will follow the trails of the Middle Earth, they are up for some stunning views.
Located southeast of Australia, this Polynesian country's main islands, North and South, cover an area just shy over 100,000 square miles. In comparison to the US, it stretches from the northwest corner of Pennsylvania to Florida's panhandle. The country's highest point is Mount Cook (Aoraki) at 12,218 ft. One-third of the country's 60,000 miles of roads are unpaved, promising an unforgettable experience for the riders.

When Does It Occur?



Traditionally the GS Trophy happens every other year with the qualifying rounds taking place in between. This year, the 7th GS Trophy will begin on the 9th of February from Auckland and will continue until the 16th of the same month when the groups will reach Queenstown.
The competitors leave the bivouac in groups of 10-12 motorcycles. Each group consists of two teams (three riders and their journalist) accompanied by the Marshals, who are the guides of the group. On their way to the next bivouac, they will be facing two or three special stages, unknown to them until they reach the designated area. The following day, the groups will shuffle, allowing every country to ride with each other.

What Is New This Year?


The last time BMW used the F-series bike for the GS Trophy was back in 2012 when the competition traveled to South America. With the updated version of the twin-cylinder presented to the market in late 2016, and after three editions with the BMW R 1200 GS, for 2020, the chosen motorcycle was the latest BMW F 850 GS.
Also, for the first time, the route is not a loop on account that it will take in both New Zealand's North and South Island. The competitors will start in Auckland and ride to the Southwest part of the country, in Queenstown.

Why Should I Follow The Action?


For the 2020 GS Trophy, we expect the clash of the titans. The winner of the last two times, South Africa, is back together with a team more powerful than ever and determined to go for the triple. The United States is following an utterly different path in their training, and everyone is excited to see the results. Team France demonstrated an excellent technique in 2018, and we are eager to see what they have for us this time. And with the return of three veteran teams, Nordic, Brazil, and of course, Italy, you can expect a next-level competition.

How Do I Follow The Action?

New Zealand has an exceptional mobile network, with LTE rates, some of the fastest in the world, allowing the Teams' journalists to report back daily and quite often, by live coverage on Social Media.


The time difference, however, may add a challenge for some countries to follow along. New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of Central Time in the US. Therefore the Live Facebook coverage, when it is possible, will most likely take place between 1 and 10 pm Central. The day reports should appear in the US media no later than 4 am. In other words, when the east coast wakes up, the news will be waiting for everyone to read. Day 1 starts the 8th of February, around 1 pm CST.
BMW Motorrad released the following preliminary program (times and dates converted to Central Time)

  • Feb 4 - All Day: Arrival of Journalists

  • Feb 5 - 5:00 pm: Forenoon GS Trophy Briefing session, practical riding training starting after lunch

  • Feb 6 - 1:00 pm: Practical riding training

  • Feb 7 - 1:00 pm: Overall Briefing for all participants and welcome event

  • Feb 8 - 1:00 pm: First stage of the int. GS Trophy

  • Feb 9 - 14 - All Day: Stage 2 – Stage 7

  • Feb 15 - 1:00 pm: Final stage

  • Feb 16 - All Day: Day of departure

Team USA, like most teams, has a dedicated Facebook and Instagram account (@GSTrophyTeamUSA) with a group of volunteers coordinating the coverage from back home. Daily updates, the teams' reports, and the scoreboard will be available on the official BMW website, adventure forums, and, on ADV Pulse. Additional coverage will be provided by BMW Motorrad USA as well. Based on availability, Team USA will have a daily short video overview too.‚Äč

New Article


Registration for March Moto Madness is now OPEN!

Both locations in the US are now available for registration. Please visit our event calendar at:
http://mms.gsgiants.com/members/calendar5.php?org_id=GSGI

The 2020 Calendars are still available

(by Lu Rosa)

We still have 2020 GS Giants Calendars for sale!



The price is $25 and it includes shipping. You can order yours now, here:

https://mms.gsgiants.com/members/store_product.php?orgcode=GSGI&pid=22456373
On The Pegs - February 2020 GS Giants Newsletter