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The United States BMW GS Trophy Western Qualifier Results

Once every two years, BMW opens applications around the world for BMW owners to prove their mettle and skills on these big bikes in an exclusive competition called the GS Trophy.

Take a dirt bike and make it larger, more powerful, and you get a particular class of bike called an “adventure motorcycle.” For BMW, the R1200 G/S is one of the best of the best in the class rivaled only by neighboring Austrian manufacturer KTM. 

Competing for the Top Spot

Competing for the Top Spot

, Tibero Esparza, one of 54 Riders competing at the BMW GS Trophy Western Regional Qualifier at RawHyde Adventures , Alfonse Palaima

Once every two years, BMW opens applications around the world for BMW owners to prove their mettle and skills on these big bikes in an exclusive competition called the GS Trophy. 

In previous years, the GS Trophy graced the landscapes of Southeast Asia, North America, South America, South Africa and North Africa. The multi-day event consists of intense daily stages which require a high-level of finesse to traverse and numerous special challenges which require teamwork to surmount. The upcoming 2018 GS Trophy will be held in Mongolia and very little is known about the course, daily stages, or challenges that await the various teams. 

A competitor in the GS Trophy Western Qualifiers fights to keep the 537 lb BMW R1200 GS upright in the sand while performing slow speed maneuvers.   , Alfonse Palaima

Western Qualifiers for the United States team concluded this past weekend at RawHyde Adventures and consisted of a number of scored events, on and off-road routines, and a team-oriented navigation test. The winner of the two-day event was Matt Kelley from Ohio, who will be joined by Tom Thompson from the central qualifier and David Vaughan from the eastern qualifier. When confirmed, these three individuals will make up the United States 2018 GS Trophy Team. 

Matt Kelley making waves after completing the teetertotter and water crossing portion of the GS Trophy Qualifier , Alfonse Palaima

“It’s a monumental honor to become one of three riders that gets to represent the United States in the GS Trophy. The New 2018 R 1200 GS is like a Swiss Army knife of motorcycles. Though it’s a big machine with a very powerful engine, it’s remarkable how it is able to leap and bound about the landscape,” says event winner Kelley. “The qualifiers were an emotional rollercoaster for me because I lost to Tom Thompson in the central qualifier in September by one point. I was able to compete in the Western qualifier but that too was a close competition, one which I thought I almost lost because when Jim Hyde announced the winner he said there was almost a tie for first place.“

Matt Kelly all smiles. He will join Tom Thompson and David Vaughan in Mongolia in 2018 to represent the United States GS Trophy Team. , Alfonse Palaima

In addition to the men’s team, the GS Trophy Female Team will return for 2018. The women’s qualifiers were held in conjunction with the men’s qualifiers in each of the three regions. Of the top three candidates who qualified in each region, Jocelin Snow, Bettina Nedel, and Galina Van’t Schip, only two will be sent to South Africa to compete for a chance to be a part of the International GS Trophy Female Team. 

Women’s finalist Jocelin Snow demolishing the competition during the GS Trophy Western Qualifiers , Alfonse Palaima