MRW issue 24

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ISSUE <strong>24</strong><br />

2-YEAR<br />


ISSUE<br />


MOVERS&<br />


MOTOGP 2023: WHO’S<br />



APRILIA XTRENTA•Ducati Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini<br />







ON TASTY<br />



Hello <strong>MRW</strong> fans, and welcome to our<br />

2nd-year anniversary <strong>issue</strong>. It’s been<br />

two years now of me saying “Hello<br />

<strong>MRW</strong> fans”, and to be honest it’s felt<br />

a lot longer. It doesn’t feel like I have<br />

done anything else other than <strong>MRW</strong>.<br />

I have put my heart and soul into this<br />

project, and my only regret is I did not<br />

start it sooner.<br />

But I have not been alone in the<br />

success so far. My brother Shaun is a<br />

huge contributor who without <strong>MRW</strong><br />

would not be possible. Since I left for<br />

the UK Shaun has taken the reins and<br />

steered the company into a stronger<br />

position. He works tirelessly every day<br />

to ensure nothing but the best content<br />

and service for our subscribers and<br />

fans. Then there’s also the team from<br />

Beam Productions, Gerrit and Daniella,<br />

who have been with us from day one<br />

and sacrificed so much to help make<br />

<strong>MRW</strong> the best it can be. Then there’s<br />

you, our subscribers and fans. I’ve said<br />

from the start that <strong>MRW</strong> is for the<br />

fans, by the fans, and this is still very<br />

much true two years down the line.<br />

Without your support, we would be<br />

nothing. Every click, every like, every<br />

subscribe, it all counts and means the<br />

world to us - this is what makes us<br />

push so hard to deliver nothing but<br />

the best, so thank you!!!<br />

To our advertisers, thank you for your<br />

support. <strong>MRW</strong> is growing at a rapid<br />

rate and those who do take advantage<br />

of our services reap the rewards. We<br />

are very proud to be part of each of<br />

their growing success stories.<br />

We’ve got a very special <strong>issue</strong> ahead<br />

for you to enjoy to help celebrate<br />

our 2nd year anniversary, filled with<br />

all the latest news, new bikes, and<br />

great exclusive features such as the<br />

MotoGP riders for 2023. I delve into<br />

the “Movers and Shakers” ahead of<br />

the 2023 season and what makes<br />

them stand out. Some good, and<br />

some with big points to prove to<br />

keep themselves in the MotoGP<br />

championship for future seasons.<br />

I won’t spoil it here so suggest you<br />

start paging ahead and enjoy this<br />

great <strong>issue</strong> we have set out for you.<br />

Thanks again everyone, we really do<br />

appreciate all the support!!!<br />

Cheers, Rob<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />


Email rob@motoriderworld.<br />

com to subscribe - R500<br />

once-off for a 12-<strong>issue</strong><br />

subscription.<br />

Check out our YouTube<br />

channel and website for<br />

some exclusive video<br />

content.<br />




Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8<strong>24</strong>0<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />


Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

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Photos: F. Montero


2023 MOTOGP<br />

From 2023 Spain’s iconic motorcycle brand<br />

will join the rush of MotoGP for the first time<br />

in deal that sees the Tech3 Factory Team turn<br />

a full crimson red. The renowned race-winning<br />

crew will be equipped with GASGAS MotoGP<br />

technology and will place the machinery into<br />

the hands of Pol Espargaro for the globetrotting<br />

Grand Prix series with a second rider<br />

to be confirmed soon.<br />

Competition - and all the thrill and excitement<br />

that comes from racing - is part of GASGAS’<br />

soul. The company, formed in the 1980s,<br />

celebrated the joy and buzz that motorcycling<br />

brings: everything that is daring, capable,<br />

vibrant, inviting. Fame in Trials and Enduro<br />

quickly transformed into motocross,<br />

supercross and rally success in recent years<br />

with a comprehensive foundation of offroad<br />

production bikes and now - after tasting<br />

spoils in in both Moto3 and Moto2 classesthe<br />

brand is ready for the next frontier; the<br />

pinnacle of road racing.<br />

GASGAS want to bring their young, fresh<br />

and passionate vibe to the highest stage<br />

and that meant transforming the objectives<br />

of the Tech3 Factory Racing team for 2023.<br />

The decorated outfit and Pol Espargaro will<br />

become a new and welcome member of the<br />

GASGAS family. The popular 31-year-old will<br />

also tie-in some of GASGAS’ Iberian heritage<br />

for their maiden MotoGP tilt. Current Moto2<br />

title contender Augusto Fernandez is set to be<br />

the 2nd rider in the team for the 2023 season.<br />

The distinctive red and white livery will go<br />

faster than it ever has been thanks to the new<br />

GASGAS MotoGP trailblazer. The marque will<br />

be the sixth brand in MotoGP for 2023 but has<br />

already boosted its presence with Grand Prix<br />

victories and podium appearances in Moto3<br />

and Moto2 in the last two seasons thanks to<br />

the excellence of the GASGAS Aspar team.





About the collision with Alvaro, there are two<br />

sides to any story and now I have had time<br />

to process all the information let me express<br />

my feelings clearly. Number one – and most<br />

important – I did not plan or want to come<br />

into contact and even when we did touch, the<br />

last thing I expected or wanted was for him to<br />

fall and not be able to continue the race.<br />

That is something I want to say firmly before<br />

speaking of how it happened from my side.<br />

In terms of incident, I was on the limit to<br />

make the manoeuvre, I went for the pass, his<br />

line was closing towards me on his inside and<br />

at one point I had to adjust my trajectory as<br />

to not close the front myself. I made my apex<br />

and unfortunately, he went down.<br />

I am really sorry for that because it was really<br />

not my intention. After the race I went to see<br />

Alvaro and offered my apologies. As riders,<br />

we compete at the limit and we sometimes<br />

touch each other. This weekend Alvaro also<br />

came into contact with a rider in the SP Race,<br />

right in front of me, losing a wing off his bike<br />

and throwing it into my path. Also, other<br />

riders touched me this weekend; its racing<br />

and it happens. Unfortunately, Alvaro crashed<br />

this time, and I got the long lap as per Race<br />

Direction decision which I fully accepted.<br />

I wish Alvaro all the best in the remaining<br />

races of the season and as far as I am<br />

concerned it is an unfortunate incident that it<br />

is already behind us. Now we look forward to<br />

racing in Catalunya.<br />

See you on the track<br />

Jonathan Rea






The first 2023 motorcycle to break cover in<br />

Ducati’s World Première 2023 online series<br />

is a collectible variant of the Streetfighter<br />

V4, modeled after the similarly exclusive<br />

Lamborghini Huracán STO supercar.<br />

With a series of seven episodes spread<br />

over a period of nine weeks until the EICMA<br />

2022 motorcycle show opens in Milan, Italy,<br />

Ducati will reveal the main novelties for next<br />

year. The first installment of Ducati World<br />

Première 2023, dubbed The Unexpected,<br />

lifted the curtain on a very special<br />

Streetfighter V4, created in co-operation<br />

with Lamborghini’s design team.<br />

The unveiling ceremony took place at the<br />

Marco Simoncelli World Circuit in Misano, Italy,<br />

right after the practice sessions of the San<br />

Marino and Rimini Riviera Grand Prix were<br />

completed ahead of Sunday’s, September 4,<br />

MotoGP race, where both factory Ducati bikes<br />

will also bear the Lamborghini emblem.<br />

With both Italian brands under Volkswagen<br />

Group ownership, their first synergy in 2020<br />

created the Ducati Diavel 1260 Lamborghini,<br />

styled after the Siàn FKP 37 hybrid<br />

supercar. Its production was limited to 630<br />

motorcycles, with the number 63 acting as a<br />

tribute to 1963, Lamborghini’s founding year,<br />

and displayed with generously sized decals on<br />

the front air scoops.<br />

This trend doesn’t change with the 2023<br />

Streefighter V4 Lamborghini, which also<br />

flashes the number 63 on both sides of the<br />

fuel tank, and its limited production will


count 630+63 motorcycles. The first 630 will all<br />

be exactly as in Ducati’s official photography, with a<br />

striking combination of orange (arancio dac) over<br />

green (verde citrea) that pays direct homage<br />

to the similarly special and rare Lamborghini<br />

Huracán STO – as in Super Trofeo Omologato.<br />

The second batch of 63 bikes will be available<br />

only for Lamborghini customers, who<br />

can configure the Streetfighter V4<br />

to look like their supercar, with<br />

the same wheels and colors for<br />

the bodywork and the brake<br />

calipers. This even more<br />

exclusive variant is suitably<br />

named Speciale Clienti, to<br />

reflect the client-special<br />

bike it actually is.<br />

The Ducati Streetfighter<br />

V4 Lamborghini is built<br />

the technical base of the<br />

2023 Panigale V4 S, which<br />

distinguishes itself from the<br />

basic model mainly by the<br />

Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active<br />

suspensions.<br />

It uses the standard 1,103-cc Desmosedici Stradale V4<br />

desmo engine, producing a maximum of 208 hp in<br />

Euro-5 specs, equipped with the dry clutch that in the<br />

Streetfighter V4 family is exclusive to the racier variant,<br />

the SP.<br />

The main focus point in creating the Streetfighter V4<br />

Lamborghini is the livery, as emphasized by the flashy<br />

colors, while its exclusivity is enhanced with a few<br />

specially designed bodywork parts, like the tail unit,<br />

the tank cover, the air intakes and the front mudguard<br />

with integrated air vents that mimics the Huracán’s<br />

“cofango”; the unified hood and front fender is<br />

playfully named by merging the Italian words cofano<br />

(hood) and parafango (fender).


The aluminum forged wheels are also styled after the<br />

Huracán STO’s rims, but the Speciale Cliente bikes can<br />

opt for wheels that match their Lamborghini as well.<br />

The use of carbon fiber parts is abundant all over<br />

the special Streetfighter’s bodywork, finished with<br />

the same texture that Lamborghini applies to its<br />

automobiles. Ducati also employed some more special<br />

parts, such as adjustable foot pegs, lighter billet<br />

aluminum brake and clutch levers supplied by Italian<br />

specialists Rizoma, and an Akrapovič exhaust can<br />

made of titanium with a carbon end cap.<br />

Ducat makes no mention of pricing, which is probably<br />

not an <strong>issue</strong> for those that will be interested in<br />

securing a Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini from the<br />

limited supply. In fact, despite a price tag of over<br />

R515,000, the Diavel 1260 Lamborghini sold out in a<br />

matter of weeks.<br />

Deliveries are expected to start in April 2023, with<br />

each owner also receiving an aluminum certificate<br />

of authenticity, as well as the option to suit up with<br />

matching Arai RX-7V helmet and Dainese leather<br />

jacket and D-Air track suit; these can also be<br />

customized to the specific colors selected by the<br />

Speciale Clienti for their bikes.


Aprilia RSV4 XTrenta:<br />

230HP of Pure Italian SBK<br />

We’re more impressed, however, with<br />

the XTrenta’s aerodynamics and chassis<br />

hardware. This is the first production<br />

machine to feature an aerodynamic “lower<br />

wing,” a technology developed initially<br />

by arch-rival Ducati in MotoGP, one that<br />

attaches to the underside of the swingarm.<br />

This pairs with the same front wings as<br />

those found on Espargaró’s MotoGP race<br />

bike. Aprilia claims a combined increase<br />

of aerodynamic load by 25 percent, while<br />

reducing drag by four percent<br />

In addition, the XTrenta gets Brembo’s<br />

WorldSBK-spec GP4-MS billet monobloc<br />

calipers and 330 mm T-drive discs. The<br />

wheels are equally formidable, comprising<br />

forged magnesium Marchesini M7R Genesi<br />

wrapped in Pirelli Diablo SBK tyres. The<br />

wheels alone contribute to a savings of 4.4<br />

pounds in unsprung weight.<br />

As for the electronics, Italian component<br />

manufacturer Magneti Marelli provides a<br />

suite that includes traction control, wheelie<br />

control and slide control, among other<br />

assists, and you’ll get JetPrime switches<br />

with which to make your commands.<br />

It has been three years since Aprilia’s RSV4<br />

variant, the RSV4 X, as well as the Tuono<br />

V4 X made their debuts. Those exclusive<br />

models were limited to only 10 examples<br />

each. Now, the RSV4 XTrenta comes to the<br />

game limited to 100 examples, each priced<br />

at around R850,000. Again, in our opinion,<br />

this is the best possible move Aprilia could<br />

make in the Superbike category, and if<br />

you want one, you’ll want to get in quick,<br />

especially as the RSV4 XTrenta is available<br />

exclusively online as of September 6.<br />

When Alessandro Gramigni captured the<br />

first world championship title for Aprilia<br />

Racing in the 125 cc Grand Prix series in<br />

1992, even he probably didn’t expect the<br />

impact his victory would have on the Italian<br />

motorcycle manufacturer. Aprilia would<br />

go on to smash the competition in the<br />

125 cc and 250 cc categories in the 1990s,<br />

and would eventually do so in the World<br />

Superbike Championship in the hands of the<br />

man who did much of the damage in the<br />

250 cc class, renowned rider Max Biaggi.<br />

Fast forward to 2022 and Aprilia has<br />

finally taken its first MotoGP win with Aleix<br />

Espargaró in Argentina this year, and is now<br />

a genuine contender for motorcycling’s<br />

richest prize. With work comes belief. With<br />

belief, comes success. To celebrate this<br />

moment, and especially the 30 years since<br />

Gramigni’s initial triumph, Aprilia is releasing<br />

the RSV4 XTrenta, a limited-edition monster<br />

of a superbike cloaked in the original colors<br />

Alessandro made so very famous.<br />

It’s safe to say that this is Aprilia’s best<br />

possible foot forward in the production<br />

superbike world, as the V4 motor cranks out<br />

an arm-wrenching 230 hp. A new, and very<br />

loud, titanium/carbon-fiber exhaust system<br />

from SC-Project adorns the XTrenta, along<br />

with a new air filter from Sprint Filter, one<br />

of Aprilia’s suppliers for its MotoGP team.<br />

And its water and oil radiators are by Taleo<br />






Akrapovic muffler and link-pipe system.<br />

It also has additional horsepower (you<br />

can adjust the ECU), improved braking,<br />

better aerodynamics, and an ideal riding<br />

position. Oh, and it’s also fully keyless and<br />

features a rear stand.<br />

In case you’ve never heard of GYTR, it<br />

stands for Genuine Yamaha Technology<br />

Racing, a division that makes performance<br />

accessories using state-of-the-art materials<br />

like carbon fiber and aircraft-grade<br />

aluminum.<br />

Their latest project involves the 2023<br />

Yamaha R1, an already proven race bike<br />

on the track. The R1 has won in both<br />

WorldSBK (Superbike) and in various<br />

national series around the world. It now<br />

comes with a responsive CP4 engine with<br />

linear torque, while its distinctive chassis is<br />

said to offer unrivaled handling.<br />

Like its sibling the R6 GYTR, this new 2023<br />

R1 GYTR model was specifically made to be<br />

raced. In other words, it’s not homologated<br />

for the road, so you can only ride it on the<br />

race track.<br />

The goal was to create an efficient package<br />

for track-day riders and racers, which<br />

is why it comes with over 25 carefully<br />

selected GYTR parts, to go with an<br />

Other highlights include the AIS plug set,<br />

engine cover set, custom wiring harness,<br />

GYTR ABS Emulator, GYTR On/Off Switch,<br />

15/42T 520 sprockets, a GYTR R-Series<br />

520 racing chain, BS R11 tires, GYTR Racing<br />

Fuel Cap and Stainless Steel Brake Line set,<br />

custom calipers, Brembo brakes, racing<br />

handlebars, steering stoppers, shark fin<br />

rear sprocket guard, billet front brake lever<br />

guard, a race rear set with a reverse shifting<br />

option, a complete race cowling kit in<br />

Primer White, a racing screen and a GYTR<br />

race seat.<br />

Meanwhile, Yamaha’s GYTR PRO lineup is<br />

now said to be closer than ever to the R1<br />

WorldSBK racing bike, which means that<br />

customers will be able to configure their R1<br />

with pretty much the same parts as the R1<br />

WorldSBK model.<br />

Overall, you get some 400 parts developed<br />

for this GYTR PRO lineup, and you’ll be<br />

able to purchase them starting in April<br />

2023. As for pricing, we’ll know more by<br />

the end of this year.


Yamaha also worked on a new chassis,<br />

as well as new aerodynamic pieces, with<br />

different versions seen on the bikes of<br />

Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, who<br />

finished the test 12th-fastest overall. While<br />

Misano is very much about developing a<br />

bike for the following season, it might also<br />

give Quartararo a big boost to his hopes of<br />

back-to-back World Championship titles,<br />

given Team Manager Massimo Meregalli says<br />

that the new chassis could appear as soon<br />

as the upcoming Gran Premio Animoca<br />

Brands de Aragon.<br />

Intriguingly, Meregalli also reported that<br />

Yamaha may have found a way to achieve<br />

more power this year, which would require<br />

a development somewhere other than the<br />

engine. What have they got up their sleeve,<br />

and we will see the evidence of that in<br />

Aragon also?<br />




Crews are packing up after the completion of<br />

two days of action at the Official MotoGP<br />

Misano Test, and it is the Monster Energy<br />

Yamaha MotoGP Team on top of the<br />

timesheet. Fabio Quartararo finished Day 2<br />

with a 1:31.054, the fastest time of the test<br />

overall, while at the Repsol Honda Team,<br />

Marc Marquez continued to accumulate laps<br />

in his comeback from surgery.<br />

YAMAHA:<br />

Much of the pre-test talk centred around<br />

Yamaha’s new engine, and the top speed<br />

charts made for very encouraging reading<br />

indeed. Quartararo clocked 298.3km/h in<br />

the pre-lunchtime running on Wednesday,<br />

third on that metric at less than 2km/h<br />

slower than Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac<br />

Racing) recorded on one of the Bologna<br />

bullets otherwise known as a Ducati. ‘El<br />

Diablo’ admitted he used a slipstream<br />

to achieve that speed, but was still quite<br />

happy with what the Iwata manufacturer<br />

has rolled out. He was fastest in that<br />

morning session on a 1:31.116 before shaving<br />

off a little more time in the afternoon to<br />

consolidate his place at the top of the<br />



HONDA:<br />

Marc Marquez fans rejoice! The eight-time<br />

World Champion completed another 61 laps<br />

on Day 2 of the Misano test. It was certainly<br />

not the most mileage, but he notched up<br />

a solid haul in both of the Wednesday<br />

sessions – an extremely positive sign for the<br />

Honda rider’s fitness after his arm surgery<br />

in June, and therefore an extremely positive<br />

sign for Honda in general.<br />

As for the machinery, there was plenty<br />

going on at Honda as well. The Kalex<br />

swingarm which HRC Test Rider Stefan<br />

Bradl tried out on Day 1 was back again<br />

on Day 2 – and this time, it was seen on<br />

one of Marc Marquez’s bikes. The #93 had<br />

three different examples of the RC213V<br />

at his disposal, those being a pair of 2022<br />

versions and more of a 2023 model, and<br />

Honda tested three different air intakes<br />

across its fleet of motorcycles. Bradl also<br />

tried out a different exhaust, and even did<br />

some back-to-back running with the 2021<br />

bike.<br />

On the timesheet, Marc Marquez was<br />

Honda’s best in 13th for the test on<br />

combined times, having gone as fast as a<br />

1:31.642 in the morning session on Day 2.<br />

More importantly, however, there is plenty<br />

for the Japanese marque’s technical gurus<br />

to pore over in coming weeks and months<br />

as preparations for next season ramp up.<br />

DUCATI:<br />

San Marino Grand Prix winner Francesco<br />

Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) finished the<br />

test second-fastest thanks to the 1:31.172<br />

which he set before lunchtime on Day 2,<br />

while the man who was runner-up last<br />

Sunday, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing


MotoGP) claimed fourth in the test on a<br />

1:31.260. None of the Ducati riders ventured<br />

onto the track in the afternoon, while<br />

Mooney VR46 Racing Team had already<br />

wrapped up its testing on Day 1.<br />

In the main, the Bologna marque worked<br />

on chassis and new aerodynamics,<br />

although only with Bagnaia and Bastianini.<br />

Meanwhile, Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo<br />

Team) had a spill at Turn 4 – rider okay.<br />

APRILIA:<br />

Both of Aprilia Racing’s full-time Grand<br />

Prix riders, Maverick Viñales and Aleix<br />

Espargaro, finished in the top five, the<br />

former third on a 1:31.189 and the latter<br />

fifth on a 1:31.333 – both set in the morning<br />

session on Day 2. Of particular note,<br />

however, was that Espargaro’s crash in that<br />

session has left him with a broken little<br />

finger on his left hand. Thankfully, he will<br />

not need surgery, and while the Argentina<br />

Grand Prix winner admitted to being in<br />

pain, he expects to be okay to ride at<br />

Aragon.<br />

The Noale manufacturer tested different<br />

chassis and, like Yamaha, could roll out a<br />

new specification as soon as Aragon. There<br />

was also new aerodynamics to trial as well,<br />

with larger wings and an extended surface<br />

area on the side fairings in the search for<br />

more mid-corner grip.


KTM:<br />

Despite chatter in the paddock, Red<br />

Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager<br />

Francesco Guidotti said that the Austrian<br />

manufacturer did not have a 2023<br />

prototype at Misano, although it did test<br />

2023 parts. Miguel Oliveira was quickest<br />

of its riders on a 1:31.585 although much of<br />

the development work was done by Brad<br />

Binder and test rider Dani Pedrosa - with<br />

the forner putting in a big effort of 46 laps<br />

on the Wednesday afternoon.<br />

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Triumph Pretoria: 012 955 4444<br />

Triumph Cape Town: 021 300 5217<br />

www.triumphmotorcycles.co.za<br />

MATT<br />



B R A D B I N D E R C O M E S H O M E<br />


Brad Binder is a two-time MotoGP race winner and<br />

the first South African to ever win in the premier class.<br />

Now he has also become the first rider in 30 years to<br />

set a benchmark lap time around Kyalami Grand Prix<br />

Circuit, a track that lies north of Johannesburg and just<br />

an hour from Binder’s hometown of Krugersdorp.<br />

Words & pics by RedBull Content Pool

SA hero Brad binder returned home during the MotoGP<br />

summer break not only to enjoy a braai and some biltong<br />

but also to do something that has not been done in 30<br />

years - set a new lap record around the Kyalami racetrack.<br />

Brad did not rerun back to SA alone, he brought something<br />

very special back with him to help achieve this record. Ok,<br />

he actually brought back two very special items - firstly, an<br />

engagement ring to pop the question to long-time partner<br />

Courtney, who said yes, luckily, and secondly, and more<br />

importantly for the “Super Lap” attempt as RedBull called<br />

it, a 2019 spec KTM MotoGP race bike.<br />

Accompanied by 3 of his official team crew from the<br />

MotoGP paddock, Brad set off on his quest to set the<br />

fastest ever lap recorded around the new Kyalami track.<br />

But before he could do that, preparation was needed so<br />

in stepped SA funny man Jason Goliath and SA hard man,<br />

Springbok Rugby captain Siya Kolisi to help get our now<br />

Andorra-based MotoGP star accustomed to life back in SA.<br />

The video put out by RedBull was sensational showing off<br />

the good and bad of SA in an enjoyable way. A proudly<br />

South African moment for sure seeing our motorcycle<br />

racing hero back on home soil taking a modern-day<br />

MotoGP screamer around the Kyalami track - sights and<br />

sounds we might not get to see ever again.... sadly.<br />

For those lucky enough to be present on the day it was<br />

memorable, and for those not lucky enough, the video by<br />

RedBull makes all feel as close to the action as possible.<br />

It’s a must-watch if you haven’t already, so just click on the<br />

video here and enjoy, otherwise read on over the next few<br />

pages where we feature some great shots and valuable info<br />

from the event.

In the lead up to this year’s edition<br />

of the Austrian event, Binder had the<br />

chance to return to South Africa to set<br />

a ‘Superlap’ on the current 4.529km<br />

layout of Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.<br />

Using a 2019 KTM RC16 the 27-yearold<br />

had the chance to lap his home<br />

circuit at speed, an experience he<br />

described as “incredible”.<br />

“Today was incredible, it was so much<br />

fun to go out and get the chance to<br />

ride the MotoGP bike around such an<br />

amazing track. A track that I grew up<br />

riding on,” Binder said.<br />

“Just to go through Turn 1 at this track is<br />

quite special because it’s quite unique,<br />

there’s nothing else like it out there and<br />

it feels cool to be sixth gear flat out and<br />

lean over on a MotoGP bike. It’s special<br />

to know that we will hold the record for<br />

a while I would imagine.”

In addition to lapping Kyalami in a<br />

new fastest time, Binder was afforded<br />

the opportunity to ride the race-spec<br />

bike on South African roads as part<br />

of a light-hearted action edit that<br />

followed his preparation for the lap.<br />

“It’s been super fun, it’s something I<br />

never thought I would do in my life,<br />

riding a MotoGP bike around in some<br />

iconic spots all over Johannesburg,”<br />

Binder added.<br />

Also appearing in the action edit is<br />

South African rugby captain Siya<br />

Kolisi, 13-time F1 Grand Prix winner<br />

David Coulthard and local comedian<br />

Jason Goliath, the latter describing the<br />

project as more than a racing event.<br />

“What this does is, it shows our beauty,<br />

it shows our culture,” Goliath praised.

The last rider to set a record lap<br />

around Kyalami on a premier class<br />

bike was Australia’s Wayne Gardner<br />

at the 1992 South African Motorcycle<br />

Grand Prix. On a different track layout<br />

to that raced by Gardner, Binder<br />

set the standard for a modern-era<br />

MotoGP bike at 1m 42.260s.



Thierry Sarasyn has broken the world<br />

record ‘number of countries in one day’.<br />

On Saturday 18 June, he rode from the<br />

Czech Republic to Belgium and visited<br />

11 other countries along the way.<br />

The Belgian journalist rode through<br />

the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary,<br />

Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria,<br />

Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France,<br />

Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.<br />

It took him less than 20 hours to<br />

cover those 13 countries. This raises<br />

the question of why he didn’t visit 14<br />

countries. After all, you can ride to the<br />

Netherlands from any point in Belgium<br />

in less than 4 hours. “Because I rode<br />

into Belgium before midnight, I set this<br />

record on the same day,” he explains.<br />

“I still had four hours and fifteen<br />

minutes left to ride to Holland and<br />

make it 14. But my aim was to break<br />

the recognised record of Italian Valerio<br />

Boni, not to set a record that cannot<br />

be broken again. To do that, I think<br />

you have to do 15. That was no longer<br />

feasible. On the other hand, with the<br />

lessons I learned along the way, I am<br />

sure it is possible to do 15 countries in<br />

a day. I was also tired and I didn’t think<br />

it was necessary to take this risk to<br />

reach 14. The record was mine once I<br />

reached Luxembourg.”


To ride through more than a dozen<br />

countries in <strong>24</strong> hours, you need to<br />

be well prepared. Plotting the route<br />

was one of the essential parts. Still,<br />

Sarasyn smiles when talking about<br />

the preparation. “If it is true that good<br />

preparation is half the battle, I would<br />

have ended up somewhere between<br />

six and seven countries,” he laughs.<br />

“In the months before the record<br />

attempt, I was incredibly busy with<br />

work. Physical preparation was out<br />

of the question, as was setting up the<br />

bike properly.<br />

The MV Agusta is an excellent sporttouring<br />

bike, but in this test the<br />

touring part is more important than<br />

the sporting qualities. No doubt<br />

some bikes are more comfortable<br />

than this Italian beauty. So it was a<br />

matter of making the seat a bit more<br />

comfortable and add more wind<br />

protection. “Just one day before<br />

leaving, I found the time to go and<br />

get a raiser for the windshield at a<br />

shop nearby. With the opportunities<br />

I have as a motorcycle media editor, I<br />

could even have made a comparison<br />

test between twenty of these things.<br />

But time was lacking. At the eleventh<br />

hour, I also ordered a gel seat and<br />

even a pair of gel pants. The latter I<br />

simply forgot at home in the frenzy<br />

before my departure. Just to say: the<br />

preparation could have been slightly<br />

better.” (laughs)<br />

“If you want a record that is<br />

recognised, you have to do more<br />

than drive it and say you did it. You<br />

have to be able to prove it in black<br />

and white and remove any doubt.”


“And I could have done with some<br />

more rest. I was tired before I left. And<br />

then to drive the route in the opposite<br />

direction to the starting point requires<br />

quite some effort. You’re on the road<br />

three days in a row for about 10 hours.<br />

Normally there should have been a<br />

rest day between the arrival in the<br />

Czech Republic and the departure.<br />

I eventually dropped this option<br />

because heavy local thunderstorms<br />

were predicted in the Alps. So, I<br />

started the record attempt without<br />

resting in temperatures that rose to<br />

40°C.. Smart? Well, this is open to<br />

debate…”.<br />

The route, on the other hand, was<br />

well thought out. Earlier ideas to start<br />

from Greece and use the patchwork<br />

of countries in the Balkan, were<br />

eventually discarded. Sarasyn also<br />

decided not to follow the route taken<br />

by the Italian who set the record<br />

last year, but to take another route<br />

that runs roughly from east to west<br />

Europe. This is the direction taken by<br />

more motorcyclists who want to do<br />

many countries in one day. And there<br />

is another advantage: the sun rises<br />

earlier in the east and sets later in the<br />

West. Which made for an extra half<br />

hour of daylight.<br />


There is also the question whether<br />

in the past there haven’t been other<br />

bikers who visited more than thirteen<br />

countries. “I suppose so,” says Thierry<br />

Sarasyn, “but none of what I find<br />

on the internet or in the media is<br />

documented by today’s standards.<br />

I found 15 countries in “just over <strong>24</strong><br />

hours”. That is not within <strong>24</strong> hours.<br />

Or 14. Even 16. But all of these things<br />

are difficult to verify. I have no reason<br />

to doubt it, but if you want a record<br />

that is recognised, you have to do<br />

more than ride like hell, collect petrol<br />

receipts and say you did it. You just<br />

have to show beyond any doubt that<br />

you have been to those countries.<br />

After all, you don’t fill up in every<br />

country you visit, so those receipts<br />

don’t mean anything. That’s why I<br />

used a official tracking system by<br />

Legendstracking. This system is also<br />

used to record the performances<br />

of ultra runners and triathletes. The<br />

entire route and the time it took<br />

are recorded in detail. Everything is<br />

checked by a bailiff and on that basis<br />

the national motorcycle federation<br />

recognised the record. That is the<br />

best I could do and this was based on<br />

Valerio Boni’s recognised record from<br />

last year. And we took the officialising<br />

one step further. So the story made<br />

the press worldwide. I have focused<br />

on what is generally accepted as the<br />

record and broken it.<br />

“Sixteen is even possible – if<br />

they ever officially recognize<br />

Disneyland as a country.”


Safety was important in this world record<br />

attempt. Sarasyn clarifies: “I obeyed the<br />

traffic rules as much as possible. And<br />

I also rested at least every two hours.<br />

That was not always to refuel. As the<br />

journey progressed, I even started to<br />

rest more often. Just to keep it safe. I<br />

only averaged over 87 km per hour. If<br />

you ride like a madman and rest less<br />

often, that average could be a lot higher.<br />

1750 km in just under 20 hours… this is<br />

more an achievement in perseverance<br />

and endurance than in speed. And that<br />

is what this was all about. Setting up a<br />

21st century version of the Canonball run<br />

didn’t interest me. I don’t look anything<br />

like Burt Reynolds, anyway…”<br />


The big word is out. Perseverance. “I<br />

think that is one of the essentials to bring<br />

this type of challenge to a successful<br />

conclusion. On the other hand, you<br />

don’t have much choice. What is the<br />

alternative? Stopping on a Swiss Alp?<br />

And then what? But, yes, it is quite hard.<br />

First I felt some pain in the neck, halfway<br />

through I felt something everywhere<br />

and the last few hours there was not a<br />

spot on my body that didn’t hurt. Even<br />

changing my riding position was painful.<br />

And despite the use of good earplugs, my<br />

ears still buzzed for days as if I stood too<br />

close to the speakers at a Guns n’ Roses<br />

concert.”<br />

“Those last hours were tough. Also<br />

mentally, because you suddenly feel<br />

very alone. Not illogical, because you are<br />

indeed alone. I sang ‘Turn the page’ by<br />

Metallica in my helmet about a hundred<br />

times and when that also started to get<br />

to me, I switched to ‘Another 45 miles’<br />

by Golden Earring. But I didn’t know the<br />

lyrics to that one very well. If you can only<br />

repeat two sentences, you go completely<br />

crazy. So I went back to Metallica.”<br />


“This wasn’t exactly cheap. Although the<br />

speeding fines were lower than expected.<br />

“Before I left, some on social media<br />

wished me lots of traffic checks. I made<br />

it a point of honour not to get caught.<br />

And also because being stopped not only<br />

costs money, but also a lot of time. For<br />

the rest, I used about 130 litres of fuel for<br />

the trip and about the same amount to<br />

drive to the Czech Republic in three days.<br />

Add to that overnight stays, motorway<br />

tolls, food, drink, a gel saddle that didn’t<br />

help much, the gel trousers that were still<br />

at home, some accessories to make the<br />

MV more travel-friendly, two GPS holders,<br />

the tracking systems … it wasn’t cheap.<br />

Neither was it error-free.”<br />

“I spent way too much time in Austria. I<br />

think it took me about eight hours to get<br />

through. It’s a big country though, but I<br />

had chosen secondary roads in Austria,<br />

which didn’t work out very well. Heavy<br />

traffic and traffic jams made it even more<br />

difficult and, as the icing on the cake, the<br />

navigation also failed a couple of times<br />

and I missed an exit once. In Slovenia<br />

I had to queue for 20 minutes before I<br />

could fill up. And in Hungary, two pumps I<br />

stopped at simply ran out of fuel. When I<br />

finally did find one, as a foreigner I had to<br />

pay more than 50 per cent more for my<br />

fuel. All these things cost time. But it is<br />

part of the adventure.”<br />

“I’ve been driving in Austria<br />

far too long. I think it took<br />

me about eight hours to<br />

get through. Damned big<br />

country though.”


“The things I learned along the way and<br />

the experience I gained have convinced<br />

me that with better preparation I can do<br />

15 countries. And it will be less difficult<br />

than these 13. Starting in Poland and<br />

driving on to the Netherlands will be<br />

enough. Sixteen is even possible if they<br />

ever officially recognise Disneyland as a<br />

country… The question is whether I want<br />

to do this again at all. I suspect that the<br />

attention generated last year by Valerio<br />

Boni and now by me again, will ensure<br />

that other attempts will soon follow. And<br />

that’s a good thing. If anyone is feeling<br />

that Top Gun need for speed… I wish you<br />

a lot of success, Maverick!”<br />

The 13 Countries<br />

1. Czech Republic – Lanzhot<br />

2. Slovakia<br />

3. Hungary<br />

4. Croatia<br />

5. Slovenia<br />

6. Italy<br />

7. Austria<br />

8. Liechtenstein<br />

9. Switzerland<br />

10. France<br />

11. Germany<br />

12. Luxembourg<br />

13. Belgium – Arlon<br />


In terms of mileage with the Bridgestone<br />

T32, meanwhile, things are looking up.<br />

We drove to Gijon to do the Ruta De La<br />

Plata, did over 1000 km on the Ruta, then<br />

drove from the Netherlands to the Czech<br />

Republic and returned 2000 km. In total<br />

there are already more than 6000 km on<br />

the tyre and it is still in good condition. We<br />

still have to think whether we are going<br />

to do another day at the Estoril racetrack<br />

with it and that drag race in Glemseck or<br />

not. We’ll let our track guy, none other than<br />

Jeremy McWilliams, decide.”


M O T O G P 2 0 2 3<br />

MOVERS &<br />



The grid for the 2023 MotoGP season is<br />

almost complete. In this feature we look at<br />

the movers and shakers making the 2023<br />

season more exciting than ever.<br />

Words by Rob Portman<br />

The 2022 MotoGP season has so far been a real treat – great<br />

racing, some drama on and off track, and it looks as if the title<br />

might go down to the final race of the season at Valencia.<br />

For the 2023 season, things look like being even more exciting,<br />

with plenty moves happening which will shake things up<br />

quite a bit. We always knew there would be riders moving<br />

around, but what we did not expect was the Suzuki pulling out<br />

announcement, and RNF switching from Yamaha to Aprilia,<br />

leaving Yamaha with only 2 bikes on the grid for the 2023 season.<br />

Suzuki pulling out upset the apple cart meaning there were more<br />

riders than seats available. The two unlucky riders to miss out on<br />

seats in MotoGP for 2023 are Darryn Binder and Remy Gardner,<br />

but apart from that there have been some very tasty moves made<br />

for the new season, moves that might create some drama on and<br />

off track. Let’s go through them now shall we…

There are plenty of movers and shakers for<br />

the 2023 season but for me the biggest is<br />

that of Enea Bastianini to the factory team<br />

alongside Pecco Bagnaia.<br />

For the last 2 years in the factory squad,<br />

Pecco has had Jack Miller as a team mate,<br />

and before that in the Pramac team, so they<br />

have built up a great understanding over the<br />

years and a strong relationship. Jack played<br />

the role of team player to perfection. He<br />

didn’t bother Pecco much at all, if anything,<br />

was the perfect wing man. Pecco is very<br />

much Ducati’s blue-eyed boy and rightfully<br />

so as Jack, while managing some great<br />

results and wins for the team, just couldn’t<br />

seem to put it all together as well as Pecco<br />

has/does.<br />

This, plus the fact Enea and Jorge Martin<br />

were performing well on Ducati machines<br />

was ultimately the demise of Jack’s time<br />

with Ducati. From early on in the year<br />

Ducati labelled both Enea and Jorge as<br />

possible replacements for Jack. For me, they<br />

handled this situation very badly, as both<br />

riders form dipped dramatically after the<br />

announcement, they would be fighting each<br />

other for the 2nd factory seat. Enea started<br />

the season off with a bang picking up 3<br />

wins in the first 5 races on the old spec 2021<br />

machine. Having the older machine worked<br />

in his favor as there was no development<br />

needed, the bike worked, and the team had<br />

all the data they needed to make it work<br />

best. While the new GP22 factory backed<br />

riders were still getting to grips with the<br />

new machine and developing it, Enea just<br />

dominated. This development stage at the<br />

beginning of the year could ultimately cost<br />

Ducati and Pecco the title this season.<br />

2021 Rookie of the Year, Jorge Martin, proved<br />

what a talent he is by taking pole positions<br />

and winning races in his first season. This<br />

is what put him in the spotlight for the<br />

factory seat. But, as with Pecco, his season<br />

did not start well. Nerve damage in his arm,<br />

combined with the new machine still be<br />

perfected and the added pressure of going<br />

up against a strong Enea for the factory<br />

seat did not help matters. It was clear that<br />

both riders were riding with the contract<br />

negotiations in mind and it hit them mentally.<br />

In the end Ducati made the call ahead of<br />

the Misano race, their home GP, choosing<br />

the more stable, reliable Italian Enea “The<br />

Beast” Bastianini over the very fast, but<br />

still not stable enough Spanish star Jorge<br />

Martin. For me, this was the right call. Enea<br />

has deserved the spot proving that he is the<br />

better all-round package at the moment,<br />

just look at the championship table to<br />

confirm this. There is no doubt Jorge is<br />

fast and a top contender in the MotoGP<br />

class, but still lacks a bit of discipline and<br />

maturity. The problem Ducati has now with<br />

Jorge is have they pissed him off? He was<br />

pretty much promised the factory seat,<br />

according to his manager, at the beginning<br />

Enea has deserved the<br />

spot proving that he is the<br />

better all-round package<br />

at the moment, just look<br />

at the championship table<br />

to confirm this. There is no<br />

doubt Jorge is fast and a top<br />

contender in the MotoGP<br />

class, but still lacks a bit of<br />

discipline and maturity.

of the year, but when Enea started “Pushing<br />

like a bastard” it seemed all that changed<br />

and with Jorge’s cracks appearing more<br />

and more they quickly moved to the other<br />

corner. Jorge did say in an interview earlier<br />

this season that if he did not get the factory<br />

ride, he would look elsewhere. There were<br />

rumblings of a potential move to Repsol<br />

Honda, but Jorge would be silly to give up<br />

a Factory Ducati, albeit in the Pramac team,<br />

for a fragile Honda. Let’s see how Jorge<br />

reacts to this decision from Ducati, and how<br />

it will affect him mentally and results wise.<br />

We could see a faster, more relentless Jorge<br />

come out to play to prove that Ducati made<br />

the wrong choice… that would be fun.<br />

Enea has proven he has what it takes to be<br />

a title contender and with the full factory<br />

support behind him is going to be a big<br />

threat to all, especially the man alongside<br />

him in the garage, and this for me is the<br />

biggest adjustment both the team, and<br />

Pecco are going to have to make.<br />

No more mister nice guy sit in the corner,<br />

shut up and do your job Jack Miller. Now,<br />

you’ve got another very fast Italian rider<br />

wanting not only the number 1 spot in the<br />

team, but also the world title, something<br />

Pecco is also after. Pecco is top Ducati man<br />

for now, but Enea is going to be a much<br />

bigger threat to that compared to Jack. Yes,<br />

Jack is a top rider, but to me never really<br />

believed in himself enough to go for a title.<br />

I don’t think Ducati really belived either,<br />

but loved having him around as he helped<br />

sell merch and bikes. Enea is the opposite,<br />

he firmly believes he can and will stop at<br />

nothing to make it happen. He is not called<br />

“The Beast” for no reason. He is relentless,<br />

and proved at the Misano round that he<br />

is not going to sit by and be number 2.<br />

He wants to take it all, and I wouldn’t bet<br />

against him doing it.<br />

The Pecco Enea combination is in my mind<br />

the strongest combination Ducati have ever<br />

had. Yes, the Dovi and Lorenzo was also<br />

brilliant, but not like this. These two young<br />

Italians are relentless and have all the tools<br />

at their disposal to go and dominate the<br />

world. The Ducati package is better than<br />

it has ever been, their only problem now is<br />

keeping both riders happy, because when<br />

it comes down to their two riders battling<br />

it out for the title, which one do they back<br />

more, and how will they handle it? Ducati<br />

management have proved weak in the past,<br />

making silly calls decisions, which have<br />

cost them potential titles. This is their best<br />

chance, they can’t mess it up, or can they?

Ah Jack, I do feel for you. It was very much a<br />

case of “It’s not you, it’s me” with Jack Miller<br />

and Ducati. Jack did nothing wrong. Yes, he was<br />

maybe not as consistent as he could/should<br />

have been, but he did his job brilliantly in my<br />

view and Ducati is going to miss him for sure.<br />

Jack has become a fan favorite in the MotoGP<br />

class, but wins and championships are more<br />

important to Ducati, which I understand, but as<br />

I just mentioned in the Enea section they could<br />

be upsetting the apple cart big time. Jack was<br />

the perfect team player while being exciting<br />

on and off track. The media love him, the fans<br />

love him, the riders love him, except maybe<br />

Joan Mir. Jack’s biggest problem is his belief<br />

in himself, and that’s what cost him the ride in<br />

the end. Ducati loves everything about Jack<br />

but knows that he is not likely to bring them a<br />

world title, and in that regard, I think they are<br />

right. Having said that, they are still losing out<br />

on one of MotoGP’s biggest assets at present,<br />

and it could bite them in the ass.<br />

Ducati’s loss is KTM’s gain. They are recruiting a proven race winner,<br />

fan favorite, great team player, etc. They know they are not signing a<br />

championship contender, but that’s not what they want from him. They<br />

want information, as many good results as possible, and the fan base<br />

that comes with Jack.<br />

Ducati’s loss is KTM’s gain. They are recruiting<br />

a proven race winner, fan favorite, great team<br />

player, etc. They know they are not signing a<br />

championship contender, but that’s not what<br />

they want from him. They want information,<br />

as many good results as possible, and the fan<br />

base that comes with Jack. KTM have Brad<br />

Binder, that’s their title man, and with Jack’s<br />

help, they hope they can develop a package<br />

capable of challenging for titles.<br />

Now I know I’ve got Miller and Aussie fans<br />

screaming at me through their screens right<br />

now for saying that Jack is not there for the title<br />

and Brad is number one, but the fact is it’s true.<br />

Jack did not leave a factory Ducati to join KTM<br />

to go for a world title. He is not that naive, and<br />

neither is Jack. KTM wants to extract as many of<br />

those qualities out of him to help promote the<br />

brand and the MotoGP project and they are not<br />

only recruiting Jack to do that.<br />

The Aussie star has years’ worth of valuable<br />

data locked in his brain having raced a Ducati<br />

for many years now. KTM’s job is to extract that<br />

information and put it to good use. To help<br />

make this happen, they will be stealing a few<br />

more Ducati gems. Alberto Giribuola, current<br />

crew chief to Enea Bastianini and previously<br />

with Andrea Dovizioso through his good years,<br />

will join KTM in 2023 to be alongside Jack<br />

as his crew chief. This makes sense to me, a<br />

former Ducati rider translating Ducati info to<br />

someone that understands how a Ducati works,<br />

then relaying it to KTM engineers. It can only<br />

be a good thing…<br />

Apart from KTM scoring with this move, this<br />

was Jack’s best option as well. There were<br />

rumors that Jack could be welcomed back to<br />

the Pramac Ducati team, but the fact is there<br />

was never going to be room. There with Martin<br />

and Zarco staying, and if Martin did go to the<br />

factory team Enea would step in there. While<br />

Jack is losing out on the best machine on the

grid he is gaining another factory ride plus<br />

a big paycheck for 2-years, and that is what<br />

the big draw card for Jack was, not only the<br />

money but more so the 2-year deal. So the best<br />

possible move for both KTM and Jack for sure,<br />

but the big question is will it work?<br />

The last time KTM took a factory Ducati rider it<br />

didn’t work out so well. The Petrucci exercise was<br />

a failed one, but with no disrespect to Petrucci<br />

Jack is a better rider and in a better time in his<br />

career. Petrucci’s move was a retirement plan,<br />

while Jack’s could be a career-saving, or ending<br />

one. Whichever way you look at it, 2023 is<br />

going to be a big season for Jack and KTM, and<br />

probably more so for Brad. If Jack comes to KTM<br />

and outperforms Brad it will highlight that the<br />

package is not as bad as it looks and that Brad<br />

must pull his socks up, which no doubt he will<br />

do. If Jack fails to impress on the KTM and Brad<br />

still manages proper salvage jobs it highlights<br />

just what an amazing rider Brad is, which puts his<br />

stock up even more.<br />

Ultimately, I think KTM is going the right way with the<br />

Jack move and getting some top Ducati brains in.<br />

They need to speed up the process, they are getting<br />

left behind, even tiny Aprilia, who build bikes out of<br />

a shed somewhere in Italy are now destroying them,<br />

the Austrians hate this! The effort and money are<br />

being put in but it’s time now for results and progress<br />

because if they do not make big steps in 2023, they<br />

will be losing their biggest asset for the future, Brad<br />

Binder. If anything Miguel’s departure shows that even<br />

the most loyal subjects can lose faith and hope, and if<br />

we have learned anything from the past few seasons is<br />

that MotoGP waits for no man, and time is running out<br />

for Brad and KTM if they don’t get it right soon. Jack’s<br />

move could be the key factor in future success for KTM,<br />

but more importantly to help keep Brad in Orange. One<br />

thing is for sure, Brad and Jack will work well together<br />

as they are close friends, and this can only be beneficial<br />

to the project. It’s going to be a big 2023 for Jack, but<br />

more importantly, KTM, and I for one hope that they<br />

get it right, not only for Brad and Jack’s sake but for<br />

MotoGP, as a stronger, more competitive KTM will only<br />

add more flavor to the already fine dish that is MotoGP.

What a fall from grace it has been for Joan Mir.<br />

After winning the title back in 2020 it’s been<br />

tough going. He backed his title defense up with<br />

a tough 3rd overall in 2021, only a few podiums,<br />

and no wins. Two years later he still only has<br />

a single win to his name and sits miles off the<br />

overall title race in 13th.<br />

The tough times were made tougher a few<br />

months back when Suzuki announced that they<br />

would be leaving the paddock come the end<br />

of the 2022 season. This seems to have hit the<br />

team hard, and Mir even harder. He can’t seem<br />

to buy any luck at the moment. Seven, yes seven<br />

DNF’s now so far this season. Throw in the<br />

monster high side in Austria that ruled him out<br />

of Misano and potentially Aragon, it’s a season<br />

to forget for the former champion.<br />

But things are looking up for Mir. He has<br />

signed for another Factory team for the 2023<br />

and 20<strong>24</strong> seasons. Repsol Honda is the next<br />

destination for Mir. Now, I’m not actually 100%<br />

sure when I say things are looking up for him.<br />

Mir is going from solid, consistent, stable Suzuki<br />

(at least before they announced their exit) to<br />

an inconsistent, fragile project, that in Marc<br />

Marquez’s eyes is failing. And he is not wrong...<br />

It took a while for the Mir deal to be confirmed,<br />

and I think it was due to Mir trying to get himself<br />

another deal, potentially with an Italian brand<br />

as opposed to the Japs. There was talk Mir<br />

could find himself on a Ducati, or Aprilia, but the<br />

problem is they are well stocked with top riders<br />

doing great things, so a lackluster Mir was no<br />

real attraction.<br />

In the end, both Mir and Repsol Honda didn’t<br />

really have any other choice other than to team<br />

up. No other riders were waving their arms in<br />

excitement wanting to join the potential careerending<br />

Honda team, while there were not many<br />

wanting the beaten-up former champ, who<br />

comes with a big price tag.<br />

Mir has to now dust himself off and somehow<br />

get motivated to tackle this frail Honda project.<br />

He was looking for the easy way out, as the likes<br />

of Martin, Bezzechi, Marini, and Digi have taken,<br />

getting onto a Ducati, and not into another<br />

So, all is not lost for Mir. We<br />

just have to wait and see<br />

if we get a hard-working,<br />

Rocky Balboa-styled Joan<br />

Mir ready to tackle any and<br />

all challenges with hard<br />

work and dedication, or<br />

soft, weak Mir, still sulking<br />

over his Suzuki misery over<br />

the past few years.<br />

development role, as that’s what he’s been<br />

doing for the past few years with Suzuki. He<br />

now has to roll up his sleeves again and almost<br />

start at rock bottom, and I’m sure this sounds<br />

exhausting to him because it sure does to me.<br />

Mir will surely look at the likes of fellow Spanish<br />

riders such as Jorge Lorenzo and Pol Espargaró<br />

who suffered and failed with the Honda and<br />

know that he has a tough road ahead. He<br />

will however be excited at the return of Marc<br />

Marquez who’s back on the bike sooner than<br />

expected for the Aragon round. Seeing the<br />

8-time world champion back helping develop<br />

will give Mir some hope, especially knowing that<br />

Marc has already tested the 2023 bike and has<br />

some idea what that’s like.<br />

So, all is not lost for Mir. We just have to wait<br />

and see if we get a hard-working, Rocky Balboastyled<br />

Joan Mir ready to tackle any and all<br />

challenges with hard work and dedication, or<br />

soft, weak Mir, still sulking over his Suzuki misery<br />

over the past few years. I honestly hope we see<br />

the former, ready to come in and help make<br />

Honda great again and push not only MM93 to<br />

the limit, but the rest of the world’s best as well<br />

and prove that his 2020 title was no fluke.

Just as with his current team-mate at Suzuki, Alex Rins<br />

was shocked by the news of Suzuki pulling out of the<br />

championship at the end of this season, and just like Mir<br />

was not left with many options as the current crop of<br />

talent lining up on the grid is the best we have ever seen.<br />

Suzuki’s exit meant two fewer seats, which meant not<br />

enough seats to go around. Darryn Binder and Remy<br />

Gardner were sadly the two riders to miss out on a<br />

spot in MotoGP for 2023, but Alex Rins, and rightfully<br />

so, managed to also secure himself a Factory Honda<br />

contract, just like Mir. While Rins won’t be in the famous<br />

and infamous Repsol colors, he will be in the factorysupported<br />

LCR squad, filling the space vacated by<br />

another Spanish rider, Alex Marquez, who made the move<br />

to greener pastures. More on that later.<br />

Just like Mir, Rins was drafted into MotoGP by Suzuki and<br />

has not raced any other machine in the premier class, so<br />

it’s going to be just as tough trying to make the Honda<br />

thing work. Rins is a sublime talent, we know this, and is<br />

capable of battling with the best. Who could forget riding<br />

around the outside of MM93 at Silverstone? That Rins<br />

needs to come out and play more often and both Honda<br />

and Lucio Cecchinello will be hoping he does.<br />

Here’s my worry. Rins is known, well, to crash a bit, and<br />

the Suzuki package was nowhere near the ‘crash fest’<br />

machine that the Honda is. The LCR Honda has been<br />

blessed with some fast riders over the years, but I would<br />

not like to be Lucio or the person who handles the spares<br />

budget/account in that team. Think about the last couple<br />

of years - Crutchlow, Alex Marquez, Taka Nakagami (who<br />

will remain for 2023), all great riders, but man do they<br />

know how to crash motorcycles. Now, Alex Rins, a rider<br />

well known for being fast, and throwing it down the road.<br />

Rins needs to make this work, as time is<br />

running out for him. As I mentioned before,<br />

MotoGP waits for no man and Rins is on<br />

the hit list for 2025 as one of the riders<br />

who could find himself outed from the<br />

MotoGP paddock if he does not perform.<br />

Rins needs to make this work, as time is running out for him.<br />

As I mentioned before, MotoGP waits for no man and Rins<br />

is on the hit list for 2025 as one of the riders who could find<br />

himself outed from the MotoGP paddock if he does not<br />

perform. He has a two-year deal, but even contracts don’t<br />

mean that much in MotoGP anymore it seems.<br />

2023 is going to be a make-or-break season for Honda,<br />

Mir, MM93, and Rins. They all need success, and now. It’s<br />

going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, and<br />

I hope it goes in the right direction, as the more ‘other’<br />

machines there are challenging the likes of Ducati and<br />

Aprilia the better.

Both Miguel and Aprilia<br />

will hope and need to<br />

make sure RNF can<br />

deliver when it comes to<br />

supporting and getting all<br />

the info translated into<br />

performances. The Aprilia<br />

machine is now a proven<br />

weapon ready to challenge<br />

for podiums every race and<br />

even have a shot at the title.<br />

man looking out for himself first and foremost.<br />

At the end of the day, I think it was a mutual<br />

agreement to go their separate ways, with KTM<br />

having the option of Jack. In many ways, and<br />

in many people’s minds, Miguel was forced out<br />

of KTM, and to a degree, I agree with that, but<br />

only because Miguel started showing doubts<br />

about the project, and rightfully so.<br />

For a moment it looked like Miguel was heading<br />

towards Gresini Ducati. I saw it with my own<br />

eyes, Miguel, team owner Nadia Padovani, and<br />

top Ducati boys go into the truck to do a deal.<br />

Complications arose, apparently with regards<br />

to Miguel’s personal deal with Hyundai cars, but<br />

I think he simply got a better offer from Aprilia<br />

to join the RNF team. As far as I know, he has<br />

been promised the first shot at one of the two<br />

factory spots that might be available come to<br />

the end of the 20<strong>24</strong> season when Aleix and<br />

Maverick’s contracts are up. I have no doubt<br />

that the 20<strong>24</strong> season will be Aleix Espargaró’s<br />

last, which will pave the way for Miguel to join if<br />

he proves his worth in the RNF squad.<br />

Whichever way you look at it, Miguel has made<br />

a very bold decision leaving the might that<br />

is KTM with all their resources and budget at<br />

It was a big decision to make for Miguel who has<br />

been a KTM man for a very long time now, but one he<br />

needed to make. I said it from the start of the season.<br />

It looked like Miguel was exhausted from the KTM<br />

project, which has not progressed as well as he and all<br />

involved would have hoped.<br />

Miguel is going to be a<br />

huge threat on the Aprilia,<br />

if RNF can get it right.<br />

People will question his loyalty, and I get that, but at<br />

the end of the day, he gave his all to the project but<br />

needs to put his career and objectives first. Sadly,<br />

those would not be fulfilled with KTM in his mind and<br />

the decision to move was made early on in the season,<br />

I think. I saw a dejected Miguel, wanting success that<br />

was just not going to come with KTM. Both he and the<br />

KTM project hit a brick wall, so this move is the best<br />

for both parties. Miguel needs to further his career with<br />

a package that can do that for him and KTM needs a<br />

rider fully committed to the project, like Brad.<br />

Miguel gave a lot to the overall KTM project and he<br />

will always be admired by KTM and respected for that,<br />

but they or no one else can hold a grudge against a

their disposal, to join the much smaller Aprilia<br />

franchise, and especially the RNF squad, which<br />

I personally have doubts about. As I type this,<br />

the RNF team has just lost their title sponsor<br />

from this season, WithU, which is no shock<br />

to me as I heard things in the team about the<br />

company battling and struggling to pay their<br />

bills. Razlan did well to get himself the Aprilia<br />

satellite team but now has to go out and find<br />

a new title sponsor. He also needs the team<br />

to pull up their socks, as I feel they are behind<br />

when it comes to data and setup. Just like in<br />

the Premier Soccer League, there are strong<br />

teams, with the best players and staff that<br />

perform better week in and week out winning<br />

titles and accolades because of their strong<br />

unit. And then there are the weaker teams, with<br />

fewer budgets, less qualified staff, and players,<br />

that just cannot compete with the stronger<br />

teams. This is where I see RNF.<br />

Over the years the ‘satellite’ teams have<br />

bridged the gap with the factory teams,<br />

making them much more viable options and<br />

more supported by the factories, but RNF is<br />

the weakest of the bunch, and this shows in the<br />

pits and with results out on track.<br />

Both Miguel and Aprilia will hope and need to<br />

make sure RNF can deliver when it comes to<br />

supporting and getting all the info translated<br />

into performances. The Aprilia machine is<br />

now a proven weapon ready to challenge for<br />

podiums every race and even have a shot at<br />

the title. Miguel is the same and that’s why<br />

he made the move but they both need that<br />

backbone, something I fear the RNF team will<br />

struggle to give them. I honestly hope I am<br />

wrong, but what I saw firsthand this season<br />

with Dovi and more so Darryn does not fill me<br />

with much confidence.

I’m not a huge fan of his but for some reason, I<br />

can’t help but think he is going to be a surprise<br />

package in the 2023 season. Let’s be honest,<br />

the Alex Marquez in MotoGP exercise has been<br />

a failed one to date. Two years and 46 starts<br />

have seen only 2 podiums from a 2-times world<br />

champion (Moto3 and Moto2). That is not good<br />

reading no matter how you look at it, plus a<br />

full-factory Honda deal in his first season with<br />

Repsol Honda back in 2020, where he got his<br />

two podiums, and then full-factory support<br />

since then in the LCR team.<br />

Something needed to change and it seems<br />

the entire Marquez camp agreed. It seems as<br />

if the Marquez camp has had a new outlook<br />

on life and decided to change things, from<br />

personal management to machinery and team<br />

in the case of Alex. Gone is the long-time<br />

manager and mentor Emilio Alzamora, in is<br />

Jaime Martinez, formally of RedBull Spain, to<br />

personally manage the careers of both Marc<br />

and Alex.<br />

Now this decision was only made recently<br />

after the Alex deal to Gresini Ducati had been<br />

done, but certainly a big shake-up, and it was<br />

needed. I think this is a great move by Alex, one<br />

I think Marc also had a hand in. Why not send<br />

younger brother to the biggest opposition,<br />

Ducati, to get some inside info? The proof<br />

is in the pudding as they say and the Ducati<br />

pudding is oh-so-sweet at the moment. If Alex<br />

goes to Gresini and performs, which I think he<br />

will, just as Enea and Digi have done, then all<br />

is good. You cannot tell me Marc and Alex will<br />

not chat about how the Ducati works and rides<br />

etc.? Mark will be asking these questions more<br />

often than not. It’s like having an informant on<br />

the inside, and I think they are going to make<br />

full use of it.<br />

That’s just my theory, no doubt the move also<br />

needed to be made as Alex was going nowhere<br />

in life on the LCR Honda, so that’s a good thing<br />

and I honestly think we will see a much happier,<br />

faster Alex Marquez lineup on the grid for the<br />

2023 season.<br />

Talk about tough times and this man has<br />

probably had the toughest over the past two<br />

seasons. What was supposed to be a dream<br />

move to the Repsol Honda team has turned<br />

into a nightmare for Pol Espargaró, who<br />

I’m sure will be glad to see the back of the<br />

Honda experience but at the same time very<br />

disappointed. His dream move came at a time<br />

when the team and Honda were/are at their<br />

worst and Pol has not been able to help steer it<br />

in the right direction.<br />

I was surprised when Pol was announced as a<br />

rider in the new GasGas Tech 3 team, basically<br />

replacing RNF Aprilia-bound and luckiest rider<br />

in the paddock Raul Fernandez. For me, Pol<br />

has served his time in MotoGP and this move<br />

back to KTM pretty much is a bit of a wasted<br />

one. I’m a fan of Pol, but I would have liked to<br />

have seen some fresh blood come in instead.<br />

I don’t think Raul or Remy really deserved to<br />

stay in MotoGP after their performances and<br />

attitude, but someone like Jake Dixon or Aaron<br />

Canet rather, although I don’t think he or many<br />

others would hold their hands up for this ride.<br />

Even someone like Dominique Aegerter, who<br />

has ridden just about everything there is would<br />

bring some much-needed input in. Ducati’s<br />

strength lies in their test rider Michele Pirro<br />

who I think does not get enough credit for the<br />

job he has done. What makes him so good<br />

is that he is always riding - Italian SBK on a<br />

Ducati V4 with Pirelli’s and World SBK, plus he<br />

actually races on a Ducati in MotoGP, not just<br />

test on certain days. If you look at the amount<br />

of work and testing he does compared to say<br />

Crutchlow at Yamaha then you know why<br />

Ducati is where it is compared. The best form<br />

of testing is in race conditions, both Ducati and<br />

Aprilia recognize this and take advantage, and<br />

look where they are compared. Teams can’t<br />

expect their full-time riders to test and develop<br />

on race weekends, there is not enough time.<br />

Back to Pol and I can’t see him having much<br />

motivation to bring to the GasGas/KTM<br />

project. He’s clearly at the end of his MotoGP<br />

days and this is a big step backward. I hope I<br />

am wrong but I predict a very poor 2023 for<br />

Pol. Maybe the fact that he has a young, hardcharging<br />

team-mate in the form of Augusto<br />

Fernandez will spur him on. Let’s hope so.

I’ve labeled him as the luckiest rider to be<br />

on the MotoGP grid for 2023. After his<br />

performances and the poor attitude shown in<br />

this his rookie season in MotoGP, I am shocked<br />

this kid will be lining up on the grid next year.<br />

Yes, I know he did not want to go to MotoGP<br />

and wanted to stay in Moto2 for another year<br />

to develop and win the title, so it’s kind of an “I<br />

told you so”, but that’s no excuse for the way<br />

he has acted this year.<br />

He has been so unprofessional, both on and off<br />

the bike this year. Has had nothing good to say<br />

about anything and has proved to be a liability<br />

rather than an asset to KTM. I don’t think KTM is<br />

innocent in the matter for sure, but the way Raul<br />

has gone about this year to me is shameful, yet<br />

he still manages to land his ass in butter.<br />

Raul has taken the place of Darryn Binder<br />

in the RNF team, which will be using Aprilia<br />

machines from next season. Now, I’m not<br />

saying Darryn is fully deserving of that spot<br />

either, with tough times as well this season, but<br />

if you compare apples with apples Darryn is the<br />

better choice all day long. On the track, Darryn<br />

has been the better rider, coming from Moto3<br />

and proving to the world he has the potential<br />

to be a great MotoGP rider. Off the track, he<br />

has been professional, despite his torrid start to<br />

the season where he got battered by the press<br />

and fans saying it was not deserved.<br />

Raul’s inclusion in this team is purely down to<br />

his 2021 Moto2 season, where he shocked the<br />

world with his speed. Off the track, there were<br />

a few problems, but his on-track performances<br />

overshadowed them. KTM took the decision to<br />

rush him into MotoGP, to get what they could<br />

out of him as they knew they wouldn’t be able<br />

to hold onto him after his contract ended at the<br />

end of the 2023 season. Yamaha wanted him, but<br />

couldn’t get him, but was prepared to wait.<br />

This is where Razlan and the RNF Aprilia team<br />

come in. Not only does Razlan tell Lin Jarvis he<br />

can take his customer support Yamaha package<br />

and shove it, but also takes the rider he wanted<br />

in Yamaha colors. Double bubble for Razlan. For<br />

sure there is talent in Raul, we know this, but we<br />

also know he is not much of a team player and<br />

can upset the apple cart so we will have to wait<br />

and see which Raul comes out to play in 2023<br />

- the fast, talented Raul or the throw toys out<br />

of the cot when I’m not happy and blame the<br />

world Raul - Razlan will hope for the former.<br />

The only graduate making the step up from<br />

the Moto2 championship to MotoGP, being the<br />

only Rookie for the 2023 season.<br />

Augusto Fernandez has had a great 2022<br />

season so far and could make the step up as<br />

Moto2 champion. He only sits a few points<br />

behind championship leader Ai Ogura but has<br />

shown great consistency and form of late.<br />

I’m a fan of Augusto, he’s not one of the<br />

“grained” riders we see coming through<br />

the system. He came through the European<br />

Superstock 600 championship where he made<br />

his name and has worked hard to get where<br />

he is today. Yes, for sure, the fact he is Spanish<br />

helps, and no doubt he has had good support<br />

but at the end of the day, he has made it work<br />

and could now find himself living the dream as<br />

a MotoGP rider.<br />

He’s been in the Moto2 championship for<br />

a while now and had some rough patches,<br />

namely with the Marc VDS team, but got<br />

scooped up by Aki Ajo who has helped rebuild<br />

his career and give him a shot at a world<br />

championship and potential MotoGP ride.<br />

How happy Augusto will be moving up onto a<br />

struggling KTM/GasGas bike is unknown, but<br />

just like with Darryn Binder one simply cannot<br />

say no to an opportunity to race in the MotoGP<br />

class. More people have been to space than have<br />

ridden a MotoGP bike, so how can he say no.<br />

I personally am excited to see him on the<br />

grid. I think he will bring some freshness to<br />

the GasGas/KTM project, some much-needed<br />

freshness at that, and as I said might just be the<br />

spark and kick in the butt Pol Espargaró needs<br />

to get going again.

ALONSO<br />

F R O M T H E S O F A T O M O T O 2 W I N N E R<br />

LOPEZ<br />

We take a look at the Spanish star’s journey after<br />

his historic debut Grand Prix victory in Misano.<br />

Alonso Lopez’s (+Ego Speed<br />

Up) Moto2 victory at the Gran<br />

Premio Gryfyn di San Marino<br />

e della Riviera di Rimini was<br />

a huge moment in the young Spaniard’s<br />

career. So much so, we thought we’d take<br />

a little look at his journey to becoming a<br />

Grand Prix race winner, months after not<br />

even being on the grid.<br />

Where it all began<br />

Perseverance, hard work and desire<br />

perfectly describe the young rider from<br />

Madrid, also nicknamed the ‘Magician’,<br />

who despite becoming Spanish Challenge<br />

80 Cup Champion in 2014, becoming FIM<br />

CEV PreMoto3 champion in 2015, reaching<br />

the Moto3 World Championship in 2018<br />

and taking on a new challenge in 2020 by<br />

landing at the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team,<br />

ended up enduring a difficult time at a<br />

professional level.

After qualifying 3rd in Moto2 Q2 in San<br />

Marino, Alonso gave an interesting interview to<br />

DAZN, where he recounted everything that has<br />

happened over the last few months and admitted<br />

to be living a dream.<br />

“It’s difficult to keep training when you have<br />

nothing on the table. That’s why I’m proud, we’re<br />

getting consistent results and that’s good, but I’m<br />

mostly proud of the fact that I kept going and my<br />

mental strength. I knew that there was a chance<br />

that everything I was doing would be for nothing.”<br />

A story of overcoming and perseverance<br />

By way of contextualisation, after competing in<br />

the 2020 season, Lopez was confirmed to be<br />

continuing in the lightweight class for 2021 with<br />

Max Biaggi’s team. However, Lopez was dropped<br />

from the team just before the start of the season.<br />

Faced with this situation, Lopez went on to<br />

compete in the FIM JuniorGP Moto2 European<br />

Championship with Team Ciatti, a Boscoscuro<br />

subsidiary, where he was runner-up behind<br />

Fermin Aldeguer (+Ego Speed Up), with whom<br />

he now shares a box again.<br />

“We have a very good relationship with Fermin<br />

and we have no problem helping each other and<br />

exchanging information. In fact, I have to thank<br />

Fermin because thanks to him I am the rider I am<br />

today, because if not, maybe last year in the CEV<br />

would have been more enjoyable and as he had<br />

much more experience I could learn a lot more<br />

from him. Thanks to him I am here today.”

The magic call<br />

I didn’t expect it myself. Neither Luca<br />

nor my family or anyone else. Even<br />

I’m freaking out because it was a very<br />

difficult time because I didn’t know<br />

what I was going to do this year.<br />

Looking ahead to 2022 it seemed<br />

history would repeat itself for the<br />

20-year-old, but one phone call changed<br />

everything. In his first eight races in the<br />

intermediate class on the world stage,<br />

the Spaniard has already achieved a<br />

victory and two podiums, making clear<br />

the immense talent he possesses and<br />

the projection he could have.<br />

“I didn’t expect it myself. Neither Luca<br />

nor my family or anyone else. Even<br />

I’m freaking out because it was a very<br />

difficult time because I didn’t know what<br />

I was going to do this year. Luca called<br />

me when Fenati still had two races to<br />

go and told me that he was not happy<br />

with his results and that the contract<br />

stipulated that if the expectations were<br />

not met he could change rider.<br />

“Right at that moment I was negotiating<br />

with another team that I couldn’t say<br />

yes to because Luca wanted me to be<br />

Romano Fenati’s replacement and in the<br />

end I had to make a decision. I had to<br />

make the decision before the Spanish<br />

GP, and if I said yes to Luca, I gave up<br />

on the other team, but I risked Fenati<br />

doing well and continuing to race at<br />

Le Mans, but in the end he gave me<br />

the opportunity and I think I’m taking<br />

advantage of it. I’m enjoying it like never<br />

before and I’m giving 100%,” said Lopez<br />

while talking to DAZN.

From the sofa to the top step<br />

Without imagining what was to come during<br />

Sunday’s San Marino GP, DAZN journalist<br />

Ernest Riveras and Lopez concluded the<br />

interview by making a promise to each other<br />

that they must now fulfil.<br />

“This sofa on the helmet is in your honour<br />

and because Luca always laughs at me saying<br />

that I started on the sofa, so I thought ‘for this<br />

year’s design I’ll put one’,” said Lopez. Riveras<br />

simply replied: “If you win a race between<br />

now and the end of the year, we will do<br />

another interview, but this time on a sofa.”<br />

And the rest, as they say, is history. Lopez<br />

went on to win the San Marino GP in<br />

impressive fashion: “In the end, I lacked a bit<br />

of experience because I made two mistakes<br />

and lost half a second on each lap, but I<br />

felt I had goosebumps inside my suit and<br />

I was freaking out. I said ‘I’m not believing<br />

it’, and the whole race I was leading... It’s<br />

unbelievable. If you had told me five months<br />

ago that this was going to happen, I would<br />

have said it was impossible.”


DREAM<br />

H A N G I N G O U T W I T H T H E<br />

TEAM<br />

There’s a new team in town taking the SA<br />

motorcycle scene by storm - Team World<br />

of Carbon Powered by BMW Motorrad.<br />

Words by Shaun Portman | Pics by Beam Productions<br />

In two-wheeled racing here in South Africa, it is very<br />

rare for motorcycle manufacturers to get involved as<br />

of late, be it sponsoring bikes, parts or funds. However,<br />

there are only a handful of manufacturers who are still<br />

involved and/or getting involved with South African<br />

road racing. I am sure that you would have seen this<br />

particular manufacturer and the team that they are associated<br />

with plastered all over social media over the last year.<br />

Yes, I am in fact talking about the World of Carbon powered<br />

by BMW Motorrad race team. A new team who have raced<br />

in the Motorcycle Racing Series South Africa in 2022. After a<br />

few teething problems at the beginning, the team have settled<br />

in nicely. The World of Carbon powered by BMW Motorrad<br />

team consists of one factory rider at the moment, Nicole<br />

van Aswegen. A second factory rider has been enlisted for<br />

2023 being the very well-known, fast and more importantly<br />

knowledgable AJ Venter. Over and above this they have also<br />

enlisted the technical assistance of Loodre Spangenberg<br />

from BMW Sandton Motorrad to assist with the mechanical<br />

and technical side, also bringing in Andre Venter full-time

from 2023. Loodre himself also does the odd<br />

race, competing at the front in the Unlimited<br />

Superbike category on his purple BMW<br />

S1000RR road bike.<br />

The team then has a number of supported<br />

riders in their line-up for 2022 being: Mornay<br />

Jonker, Siphiwes Tom, Shaun Portman, and the<br />

latest addition to the team Mo Mahope.<br />

Mornay Jonker, son of Bert and part owner of<br />

World of Carbon, also has his own S1000RR on<br />

which he is competing in the Open Superbikes<br />

Premier category. He is slowly getting to grips<br />

with the S1000RR after riding a 600cc last.<br />

Morney is also the team manager and brings a<br />

wealth of knowledge with him and keeps all the<br />

riders in check.<br />

Another member and rider in the team<br />

is Siphiwes Tom, who rides in the Open<br />

Superbikes Novice category on his very own<br />

beautiful BMW S1000RR machine. Siphiwes<br />

helps the team in every way he can while also<br />

setting to improve his own riding. He is slowly<br />

making headway with the team and with the<br />

guidance he has around him his riding is slowly<br />

improving as well. Always a friendly face in<br />

the paddock, his assistance and input to the<br />

team is greatly appreciated. He has missed a<br />

few races with other commitments but even if<br />

not riding is always on hand to offer assistance<br />

wherever possible.<br />

After Rob Portman emigrated, his ride on Bert<br />

Jonker’s very own and most probably the most<br />

popular BMW S1000RR in SA was taken by<br />

his very own brother, Shaun Portman. Shaun<br />

missed the first race meeting of the year as<br />

Rob was riding but since then hasn’t finished<br />

off the podium and lies second in the Unlimited<br />

Superbikes championship. Shaun has a wealth of<br />

knowledge and experience and as this year has<br />

proven he is also a consistent podium finisher.<br />

A new addition to the team is lady rider Mo<br />

Mahope who joined the team from the PE<br />

round. Mo’s management agency contacted<br />

That’s a lot of Bavarian power...

a BMW dealership to enquire about a possible<br />

ride for Mo and the dealership referred the agent<br />

to Siphiwe Tom who is racing in the World of<br />

Carbon powered by BMW Motorrad racing team<br />

who in turn referred Mo to the team owner Bert<br />

Jonker. Bert offered Mo an invitational ride for<br />

round 3 of the MRSSA in PE on 25 June 2022.<br />

The purpose of the invitational ride was to assess<br />

whether Mo would be able to manage and race<br />

the BMW S1000RR (coming from a smaller<br />

600cc bike) and most importantly whether she<br />

would fit into the team construct. Needless to<br />

say, Mo managed to pass both requirements<br />

with flying colours. Mo has competed in three<br />

race meetings in total thus far onboard the<br />

BMWS1000RR and managed to do very well<br />

considering the limited time she had on the bike.<br />

At Aldo Scribante in her first race, she managed<br />

to get P4 overall in her class. Next up was East<br />

London where she managed to get a P3 overall<br />

in her class and finally at Redstar Raceway where<br />

she managed to get P5 in her class. The most<br />

impressive part about Mo’s journey onboard the<br />

BMWS1000RR so far is that she has managed to<br />

improve her personal best times on all the tracks<br />

that she has visited. Mo is confident that with<br />

more time on the bike, the sky will be the limit<br />

and that she will make even more improvements<br />

as time goes on.<br />

Mo Mahope<br />

Shaun Portman<br />

Siphiwes Tom<br />

Nicole van Aswegen<br />

Loodre Spangenberg

Bert Jonker is the team owner of the World of<br />

carbon powered by BMW Motorrad team. He<br />

started riding in the Master’s class for the first<br />

time on track at the young old age of 56 where<br />

he battled for results. AJ Venter helped a friend<br />

of his in PE with setup on his bike and also<br />

started training him. A year and a half later, Bert<br />

would go on to win the masters as well as the<br />

overall superbike championship. He got the rider<br />

of the year award in PE and on top of that the<br />

Masters’ lap record which still stands today.<br />

In September of 2020, he sustained a heart<br />

attack while riding his racebike in PE at the Aldo<br />

Scribante track which resulted in him undergoing<br />

a 5 bypass operation. 6 months after that he<br />

raced Phakisa and ended in 6th place.<br />

After this, he made the tough decision to<br />

not race again. In September of 2021, Nicole<br />

contacted him and was looking for a BMW<br />

S1000RR to race. He then took the opportunity<br />

to have a more formal role and still be involved<br />

in the sport he loves so much. He made contact<br />

with BMW Motorrad and within days he secured<br />

a meeting with them, which was attended by<br />

their management, Nicole and Bert.<br />

Well, the rest is history as they say with the<br />

team obtaining many podiums in various classes<br />

so far in 2022. Coverage is an important factor<br />

nowadays and during the week leading up to<br />

the Scribante race, the team got over 19200<br />

views on different social media platforms. They<br />

now have a huge fan base and all the comments<br />

from people outside their team are positive and<br />

supportive.<br />

Bert lives in PE but frequents Gauteng more<br />

often as there is a lot to plan and even more he<br />

has to do behind the scenes to keep the team<br />

running smoothly and efficiently. There is a<br />

saying that home is where the heart is and his<br />

heart is in his race team. His riders are not just<br />

riders but part of his family, he says.<br />

“We got the best team and I don’t<br />

want that to change”.<br />

Mornay Jonker<br />

A big shout out must go out to all the<br />

supporting sponsors for backing the<br />

team: BMW Motorrad SA, Gedore tools,<br />

WH Brands, Blake IND, Moto Rider<br />

World, Sandton BMW Motorrad.

Bert also goes on to say that they are currently<br />

working on other projects, where they will start<br />

becoming more involved in social development,<br />

as the team will create a platform where they<br />

want to uplift disadvantaged kids to lay a<br />

foundation where they can also be introduced<br />

to motorsport. They are also currently busy<br />

putting methods and procedures in place<br />

to become a full-blown pro race team with<br />

opportunities to also ride outside SA in such<br />

places as the Isle of Man TT, Macau and<br />

Germany. He says that running a race team is a<br />

lot of hard work but they will get there.<br />

Nicole Van Aswegen<br />

#21 Ultimate Superbikes<br />

After the final races of last year, I really enjoyed<br />

riding Damion Purificati’s spare BMW S1000RR.<br />

I decided that this is the bike I would love to<br />

race and so gave Bert Jonker a call to ask<br />

him if he was able to assist me with a ride for<br />

2022. Bert a well-known BMW fanatic was<br />

already and had already been running his BMW<br />

privateer team up until then. He then said to me<br />

lets go to BMW SA and see if they will be willing<br />

to assist in some kind of sponsorship.<br />

Not too sure if we would come right, Bert and I<br />

decided to have a meeting with Penny, Adri and<br />

Chris. It all worked out and they were as excited<br />

as we were to start this journey together. This<br />

year has truly been one of my best years racing<br />

to date, with very little pressure and lots of<br />

laughs and fun times. I am currently lying 4th<br />

overall in the ultimate superbike class and am<br />

loving my Sponsored BMW S1000RR. We have<br />

just got the Alpha racing system with Motec<br />

dash which is our new challenge for the rest of<br />

the year to get set up correctly and me feeling<br />

comfortable using it, as it’s a huge change<br />

over the BMW’s stock electronics which I loved<br />

anyways. I am very excited to see how I go on<br />

my bike after some good testing and set-up.<br />

I would like to thank all my sponsors for making<br />

this year possible for me:<br />

World of Carbon, BMW Motorrad South Africa,<br />

Bikewise, Amalgum Welding Shop and Gem<br />

Auto Services.


E X P E R I E N C E F A C T O R Y<br />



A host of unique, classic 2-stroke machines, a tricky<br />

track in Scotland, and one “Dad bod” editor. In this<br />

feature, Rob highlights his recent “dream come true”<br />

trackday experience.<br />

Words by Rob Portman | Pics by Chris Berriman & Rob<br />

It’s funny how life works. Just over<br />

a year ago I watched a video on<br />

YouTube with a bunch of twostroke<br />

masterpieces being ridden<br />

around the Knockhill circuit in<br />

Scotland. It was Taylor McKenzie<br />

who posted the video on his channel<br />

and I got so excited wishing that I could<br />

be part of something that special. What<br />

made it very special was the bikes on<br />

show. It was not a typical track day event,<br />

but rather a 2-stroker day where some of<br />

the finest classic machines get dusted off<br />

and taken out on track.<br />

Classic icons such as Kenny Roberts<br />

Jnr’s Suzuki RGV 500 championshipwinning<br />

machine and Olivier Jacque’s<br />

Yamaha 250 bike both from 2000<br />

ridden by Taylor MacKenzie. I<br />

remember watching the video<br />

drooling and being very jealous.<br />

Fast forward a year and as fate<br />

would have it I got the same<br />

opportunity to attend the 2-stroke<br />

Knockhill track day. Through my<br />

MotoGP travels, I connected with<br />

Chris Berriman from the Experience<br />

Factory, the man behind the track<br />

day. One day, just casually he said to<br />

me “You must come to the Knockhill<br />

track day and you can ride some of my<br />

bikes, my Vinales KTM Moto3 and Olivier<br />

Jacque GP 250”. Like an overexcited kid<br />

at Christmas, I jumped and cried tears of<br />

joy shouting yes, yes, yes, please.

So, a few days after the Silverstone MotoGP<br />

race I was off to Scotland with Chris and the<br />

crew ready to make another one of my dreams<br />

come true. Since moving to the UK back in<br />

April I have dreamt of riding some of the<br />

circuits I had only seen on TV before. Knockhill<br />

was one of the tracks that really excited me so<br />

to be able to go and ride there on some very<br />

special machines just blew my mind.<br />

Sadly, the Olivier Jacque Yamaha GP 250 was<br />

in for some repairs so that was not available<br />

but I still had the 2014 Maverick Vinales KTM<br />

Moto3 championship-winning machine at my<br />

disposal, a 1994 Yamaha TZ250 (more on these<br />

later), and a 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale<br />

courtesy of my other mate Graham Rankin.<br />

To make the day and days leading up to the<br />

event even more special I got to spend time<br />

with 3-time world champion Freddie Spencer,<br />

which was a real treat. Some great stories were<br />

shared, something that will live with me forever.<br />

To make the day and days<br />

leading up to the event<br />

even more special I got to<br />

spend time with 3-time<br />

world champion Freddie<br />

Spencer, which was a<br />

real treat. Some great<br />

stories were shared,<br />

something that will live<br />

with me forever.<br />

Top: Freddie Spencer (Ducati)<br />

heading out on track with his son<br />

Connor (Yamaha R6)<br />

Left: Freddie and Connor having<br />

a chat about their first Knockhill<br />

experience.<br />

Top right: Freddie showing Chris<br />

Berriman (Experience Factory)<br />

how trick the Ducati Panigale V4<br />

Speciale is.

But wait, there’s more. John McGuinness, you<br />

know, that guy that has won more TT races<br />

than anyone else, yeah well he was also there<br />

and not only did I get some signed goods<br />

from him but he was also kind enough to<br />

have a few good chats with me about some<br />

racing experiences from back in SA. Another<br />

real treat, what a great guy!<br />

Two legends having a<br />

chat - Freddie Spencer and<br />

John McGuinness.<br />

Throughout the entire day at Knockhill, I<br />

could not wipe the fanboy smile off my<br />

face. I did everything I could to try and act<br />

professionally, but it was hard. I was living out<br />

yet another dream. That video I had watched<br />

the year before was now a reality. Seeing<br />

and hearing these machines in the flesh was<br />

mind-blowing. Smoke filled the Knockhill pits,<br />

oh, and that smell, that beautiful 2-stroke<br />

smell, intoxicating.<br />

Some other bikes that caught my attention<br />

were the 2001 Pulse GP 500cc 2-stroke<br />

machine raced by Jay Vincent back in the<br />

2001 championship. A gorgeous and unique<br />

piece of kit, the only one of its kind in the

world I was told. Scottish racing hero and<br />

current BSB star Rory Skinner popped in to<br />

join us for the day and managed to get some<br />

laps in on the Pulse GP bike. That was a great<br />

sight and sound to witness, something you<br />

can also do by watching the video I posted<br />

up on the <strong>MRW</strong> YouTube channel of my day’s<br />

experience. It was also great spending some<br />

time with Rory again, who I had connected<br />

with at the Silverstone GP and we have since<br />

become good mates. Rory also got to take<br />

another special machine out on track. A 1992<br />

Loris Reggiani Aprilia GP 125 race bike. An<br />

absolutely stunning piece of kit, “one of the<br />

best bikes I have ever ridden”, Rory went on<br />

to say afterward.<br />

An abundance of 2-stroke masterpieces<br />

mixed with some iconic 4-strokes, such as<br />

Honda’s CB1100, which Freddie loved, and<br />

some modern-day beasts thrown into the<br />

mix. What more could a nutter like myself<br />

ask for? It was a very special experience<br />

for me and a big thank you must go out to<br />

Chris from the Experience Factory, Graham<br />

for letting me ride his Ducati Speciale,<br />

which was another seriously cool treat, and<br />

everyone else for making this motorcycle<br />

fanboy from South Africa feel so special.


Talk about eye candy, and there<br />

was plenty of it at Knockhill, but<br />

these two did stand out of the<br />

crowd just a bit. Sadly, they did<br />

not get fired up and thrashed<br />

around so it was just drool<br />

material in the pits.<br />

What we have here is Jeremy<br />

McWilliams’ Honda NSR250<br />

machine (#9) raced in the 1998<br />

world championship. Next to it,<br />

is a machine many will recognize<br />

and idolize - Kevin Schwantz’s<br />

1994 Suzuki RGV 500cc 2-stroke<br />

weapon. This was the last 500cc<br />

Grand Prix machine ever raced by<br />

the American legend as he retired<br />

the year after. For sure it’s one of<br />

the iconic machines in the history<br />

of Grand Prix racing and I got to<br />

see it in the flesh. What a lucky<br />

man I am!

I just love Moto3 bikes. They are mini MotoGP bikes with<br />

all the bells and whistles on them. Proper built to go as<br />

fast as possible machines with plenty of tech involved.<br />

The build quality and overall finish of this KTM are<br />

immaculate.<br />

This particular bike is the machine Maverick Vinales<br />

raced to the 2014 Moto3 World Championship, still<br />

fitted with the #25 and Vinales decals. It is beautiful, and<br />

certainly a collector’s item so when owner Chris asked<br />

me if I would like to have a ride I was a bit shocked but<br />

very happy and excited.<br />

Having to borrow a set of leathers and boots from my<br />

mate Bjorn Estment here in the UK I was ready to ride.<br />

Squeezing into the suit was a challenge in itself, but I<br />

managed. Nothing was going to stop me from this riding<br />

experience.<br />

My next challenge was getting my slightly porky frame<br />

on the tiny Moto3 racer. This was tougher than getting<br />

the suit on, but again I managed. The riding position was<br />

uncomfortable for me. My ‘Dad bod’ was hindering my<br />

ability to ride the bike properly. Getting comfortable was a<br />

problem. Moving from left to right, adjusting myself proved<br />

very tricky so I was left to ride the bike more MX style just<br />

sitting in one spot and putting the bike where I wanted it.<br />

Nevertheless, I was seriously impressed with the bike’s<br />

power and handling abilities. I was the bike’s biggest<br />

obstacle, holding back its true potential. It loves corners<br />

and hitting the apex. It’s so direct and responsive, a pure<br />

joy to thrash through the corners.<br />

Power delivery was also direct and responsive. Very<br />

impressive for a 250cc 4-stroke - an MX bike on steroids.<br />

It did battle low down to pull my chubby bum but once<br />

in that mid-sweet spot, it pulled through nicely. Only after<br />

the test, after current Moto3 rider John McPhee had done<br />

some laps, we realized that the revs were not pulling all<br />

the way through. I was shifting at just over 12,000rpm<br />

when the blue lights flashed indicating me to do so. John<br />

said it should happily go to 14,000rpm, and if I look back<br />

now we had it set in map 4 which might have been a rain<br />

setting restricting the bike’s performance.<br />

Nevertheless, it was great fun and a great experience<br />

getting to ride a full-blown, championship-winning<br />

Moto3 bike. One that I will never forget. Check out the<br />

video footage on the full video feature I put together for<br />

our YouTube channel.

Cast your mind back 28 years to the 1994 250<br />

Grand Prix season and you should remember<br />

a gorgeous looking Yamaha France machine<br />

sporting the number 1 plate. The rider was<br />

Testsuya Harada, one of my all-time favorites.<br />

Interesting fact; He won the 1993 title racing for<br />

a South African-sponsored Telkor Yamaha team.<br />

Fast forward to 2022 and here I am riding a<br />

replica version of that 1994 machine. What a<br />

true blast from the past experience. Nothing<br />

better than climbing on an old-school 2-stroker<br />

with no electronics whatsoever. No traction<br />

control, no quick-shifter, nothing, just good old<br />

do-it-yourself throttle and clutch.<br />

It’s a raw riding experience that pleases every<br />

time. It’s very special hearing a 2-stroke in full<br />

flight and seeing those revs just climb. I felt a<br />

lot more at home on this bike compared to the<br />

Moto3. More space for my dad bod to move<br />

around. Just like the Moto3 everything about<br />

this bike was direct and responsive. Point it to<br />

where you want to go and it goes there. No<br />

lag or delay on the throttle, just pure 2-stroke<br />

screaming at its finest.<br />

It was an absolute pleasure riding this machine.<br />

I was so impressed with how right they got it<br />

so many years ago. And this is just a replica<br />

fitted with continental tyres, I can only imagine<br />

what the real deal with proper racing slicks<br />

must feel like.<br />

Riding around the Knockhill track was a real<br />

treat. The track has everything - fast, slow, left,<br />

right, up, and down. Short and very sweet. A<br />

lot more undulating compared to what you<br />

see on TV. That first section feels like you are<br />

plunging into another Universe. Then heading<br />

back up the hill, blindly over the rise. It just flows<br />

beautifully in a symphony of pure delight.<br />

bike. Another factory experience made real by<br />

the Experience Factory.<br />

Make sure you check out the full video feature<br />

posted up on our YouTube channel showing off<br />

my entire Knockhill experience and the Moto3,<br />

Yamaha GP 250, and Ducati Panigale on boards.<br />

What made this riding experience even better<br />

is that another GP legend, Niall MacKenzie, did<br />

some laps on the bike first before handing it<br />

over to me and even helping me push start the

MORE<br />


New Suzuki 1050DE adds<br />

more off-road capability<br />

to V-Strom range<br />

DARE TO<br />




TEAM SA<br />


South Africa win the BMW<br />

Motorrad International GS<br />

Trophy 2022 - Mens and<br />

Ladies classes<br />

Sweeping Swanepoel<br />



RACING<br />

NEWS<br />

Sweeping Swanepoel<br />

secures 8th National<br />

Enduro Championship title<br />

Brett Swanepoel made sure<br />

Husqvarna Racing had a special<br />

weekend as the National Enduro<br />

championship culminated in the<br />

sweltering hot and dusty lowveld<br />

town of White river. Swanepoel<br />

surged to an unprecedented<br />

8thNational Championship title on<br />

Saturday after what he described as<br />

a real testing weekend of racing.<br />

“It was a real tough track and<br />

the heat was brutal” he said. “We<br />

only had one goal this weekend<br />

and that was to bring home the<br />

championship title, it was a great<br />

team effort and I’m pleased to claim<br />

the E2 class title” he commented<br />

and went on to say that the team<br />

and his bike were faultless for the<br />

entire season.<br />

Kyle Flanagan who raced alongside<br />

Swanepoel for the last couple<br />

rounds after joining the team midseason<br />

said: “Saturday I made a<br />

mistake at the beginning of the<br />

race and went on the Junior loop<br />

for a bit so I played catch up for<br />

the majority of the 1st lap, I was<br />

feeling pretty good until about<br />

halfway through the 3rd lap when<br />

the heat caught up to me.” He<br />

added that the heat was really a<br />

killer and that by the end of the race<br />

he was dehydrated. “I am happy<br />

with the ride and result on Saturday<br />

considering but glad I made it to<br />

the finish line after another scorcher<br />

of a day and all in all happy with<br />

the weekend and pumped for<br />

Brett with winning a well-deserved<br />


NEW<br />

BIKES<br />

More off-road<br />

Capability<br />


The V-STROM has a rich heritage in the adventure tourer<br />

class. Launched in 2002, it has won the hearts of riders all<br />

around the world and has continued to improve year by<br />

year. Marking its 20th anniversary, a new version of the<br />

V-STROM has now been born.<br />

Suzuki has revealed a new V-Strom<br />

1050DE, which adds more off-road<br />

capability to the firm’s adventure bike<br />

range. The DE, which replaces the XT as<br />

Suzuki’s flagship adventure bike, gets<br />

a series of performance enhancements<br />

shared with an updated V-Strom 1050,<br />

plus additional features, modifications,<br />

and enhancements designed to improve<br />

its performance when the highway ends.<br />

The V-Strom 1050DE is designed for<br />

wherever your journey takes you – on any<br />

terrain, to any horizon, on any adventure<br />

– and builds on a proven, robust, and<br />

reliable platform that has made the<br />

V-Strom a cult motorcycle and the choice<br />

for many adventurers.

For 2023 both the new V-Strom 1050DE and the V-Strom 1050 feature a new,<br />

full-colour TFT dash and a bi-directional quickshifter, plus a suite of complex<br />

electronic features that includes:<br />

• Six-axis IMU • Lean angle-sensitive ABS with two sensitivity modes • Slope-dependent control<br />

Load-dependent control • Hill hold • Linked brakes • Cruise control • Three power modes<br />

• Three traction control settings<br />

With the V-Strom 1050DE’s more<br />

off-road focus, the most noticeable<br />

change is the switch from a 19-inch<br />

to a 21-inch front wheel. Providing<br />

more control and manoeuvrability<br />

on rougher terrain. The DE’s spoked<br />

wheels are also shod with Dunlop<br />

TRAILMAX MIXTOUR tyres, with<br />

a semi-block tread pattern. The<br />

V-Strom 1050 continues to roll on 19<br />

and 17-inch cast aluminium wheels<br />

with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure<br />

A41 tyres.<br />

The DE’s larger front wheel, allied<br />

to longer travel suspension – fullyadjustable<br />

front forks and rear<br />

shock from KYB – increases rake<br />

and trail, and also improves ground<br />

clearance, boosting it to 190mm,<br />

while contributing to improved<br />

ergonomics when riding on looser,<br />

rougher surfaces. Its wheelbase is<br />

also 40mm longer than the V-Strom<br />

1050, thanks to a new aluminium<br />

swingarm that retains the same<br />

level of vertical and lateral rigidity<br />

but improves torsional rigidity<br />

by 10%, while tapered aluminium<br />

handlebars are 40mm wider for an<br />

improved stance off-road.<br />

The twin-spar aluminium frame<br />

is updated for 2023, on both the<br />

V-Strom 1050DE and the V-Strom<br />

1050, with aluminium castings along

with extruded aluminium sections that lend the right<br />

amount of suppleness and strength to an overall rigid<br />

alloy frame structure. The incorporation of extruded<br />

aluminium sections allow for the use of thinner material<br />

while maintaining a high level of strength. The result is<br />

a lighter, stronger frame.<br />

There are also updated seat rails that better support<br />

the input load from unpaved surfaces, with the<br />

V-Strom 1050DE using a new seat with a fixed-height<br />

design and a new shape that not only reduces weight<br />

by 706g (37% lighter than V-Strom 1050’s seat),<br />

it also achieves greater rigidity. This durable new<br />

seat better stands up to input load when riding on<br />

unpaved surfaces, as well as to weight shifts as the<br />

rider changes position.<br />

A smaller screen aids visibility, there’s a new,<br />

more rugged front fender, engine bars are fitted<br />

as standard, along with a sturdy aluminium sump<br />

guard. There are also wider, steel footpegs designed<br />

to be better suited to off-road riding and better<br />

accommodate a rider’s off-road boots.<br />

The V-Strom 1050 retains the height-adjustable<br />

stepped seat design, plus the taller, height-adjustable<br />

screen, and uses rubber-covered aluminium footpegs<br />

that provide comfort when touring for long distances.<br />

It replaces the aluminium sump guard with a black<br />

lower cowling and sheds the weight of the additional<br />

engine bars found on the 1050DE.<br />

Electronics<br />

It’s not just differences and improvements to the chassis<br />

that make the V-Strom 1050DE better equipped to<br />

tackle the trails and tracks when the highway ends, but<br />

also an enhanced electronics package.<br />

The Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (SIRS) found on<br />

the 2023 V-Strom 1050 includes a six-axis IMU used<br />

to govern systems such as lean angle-sensitive ABS<br />

and linked brakes with slope and load-dependent<br />

control, plus hill hold control, while an updated rideby-wire<br />

throttle responds faithfully to the rider’s<br />

input and delivers a more natural feel, with a slightly<br />

stiffer grip action when opening. Suzuki Drive Mode<br />

Selector, with three modes, remains, as does a three-<br />

The V-Strom 1050DE also boasts a number of<br />

additional features, including:<br />

• 21-inch front wheel with Dunlop TRAILMAX MIXTOUR tyres<br />

front and rear • Increased suspension travel and ground<br />

clearance plus revised chassis geometry and ergonomics<br />

• Wider ‘bars and steel footpegs • Two ABS modes plus the<br />

ability to disengage rear ABS • Additional off-road ‘G mode’<br />

traction control setting

mode traction control system (plus<br />

off), cruise control, low RPM assist and<br />

Suzuki’s easy-start function.<br />

For 2023 the new V-Strom 1050DE<br />

adds an extra G (gravel) mode to its<br />

available traction control settings,<br />

specifically designed for use off-road.<br />

The additional mode retards ignition<br />

timing and allows more rear wheel<br />

slip. This continues to deliver power<br />

to the rear wheel without interruption,<br />

and suppressing it only enough to<br />

help prevent excessive wheel spin. As<br />

a result, the bike remains controllable<br />

and the rider still gets the consistent<br />

power output they want.<br />

While the V-Strom 1050’s SIRS<br />

package includes two ABS modes,<br />

allowing riders to choose from different<br />

sensitivity settings, the new V-Strom<br />

1050DE adds the ability to disengage<br />

the ABS from the rear wheel entirely,<br />

giving riders more freedom and control<br />

off-road.<br />

A new bi-directional quickshifter is<br />

found on both the V-Strom 1050DE and<br />

V-Strom 1050, and enables clutchless<br />

up and downshifts for smoother gear<br />

changes and enhanced performance<br />

both on and off road.<br />

On both models, each electronic<br />

system is controlled via a simple<br />

rocker switch on the left hand<br />

handlebar, excluding the cruise<br />

control activation button, with all of<br />

the information displayed on a new,<br />

full-colour TFT screen.<br />

Engine<br />

Both the V-Strom 1050DE and V-Strom<br />

1050 use the proven 90° V-twin engine,<br />

which remains a perfect fit, with a design<br />

that provides perfect primary balance, with<br />

each of the two cylinders cancelling out the<br />

vibration of the other. This eliminates the<br />

need for any balancer shafts, preventing<br />

the mechanical loss associated with them,<br />

and this connects to improving thermal<br />

efficiency for higher power output. The<br />

layout of the V-twin engine also allows for a<br />

slimmer chassis design with a lower centre<br />

of gravity, and this contributes to more agile<br />

handling and greater manoeuvrability.<br />

However, the engine benefits from<br />

improvements for 2023, including hollow,<br />

sodium-filled exhaust valves. The new valves<br />

help reduce temperature in the combustion<br />

chamber, not only resulting in better loading<br />

efficiency and a better feeling, but also<br />

contribute to improving durability.

There are also updates to the<br />

transmission. New, taller first and sixth<br />

gears make shifting into second, and from<br />

there through to fifth gear, smoother and<br />

deliver greater acceleration performance.<br />

The DE also features a new, stronger<br />

drive chain with sturdier links and larger<br />

diameter pins, as well as a dedicated new<br />

shift lever, better suited to off-road riding.<br />

No word on pricing yet but we can expect to see this<br />

new model arrive in SA 2nd quarter of 2023.<br />

For more info email mbalin@suzukiauto.co.za or visit<br />

your nearest Suzuki dealer.<br />

Practicality<br />

Despite the differing on and off-road<br />

focus of the two V-Strom models, they<br />

share many practical touches including a<br />

standard-fit centre stand and hand guards,<br />

to repel the worst of the weather and<br />

protect knuckles from stones and debris.<br />

A USB power socket, located next to the<br />

TFT screen, allows for the easy charging<br />

of smartphones, while other devices can<br />

be powered via a 12V socket located<br />

under the seat.<br />

LED lighting is found all round, including<br />

headlights, taillights, and indicators.<br />

Owners can further enhance the V-Strom<br />

1050DE and V-Strom 1050’s levels of<br />

practicality to suit their own needs, with a<br />

comprehensive collection of accessories<br />

including items such as full aluminium<br />

luggage, heated grips, lower seat options,<br />

and fog lamps.

NEW<br />

BIKES<br />

THE RX 450F<br />

REPLICA!<br />


This is a special one! Since Sam Sunderland’s history-making<br />

2022 Dakar Rally win, GASGAS has wanted to give back to the<br />

rally community. That’s why we’ve created a GASGAS Factory<br />

Racing inspired rally bike, something we’re calling the RX 450F<br />

Replica! Each one is carefully assembled with many of the very<br />

same high-performance components that can be found on<br />

Sam’s Dakar-winning machine. This is way more than just an<br />

imitation model, the RX 450F Replica is as close as it gets to the<br />

real deal and it’s available now, worldwide!<br />

Whether you’re a full-on rally-raid privateer or part of a<br />

team, the all-new RX 450F Replica from GASGAS will<br />

make your rally career, or next desert adventure, so much<br />

easier and way more fun! Needing absolutely nothing to<br />

go racing, the replica bike is assembled by hand with a<br />

long list of essential rally-specific components, most of<br />

which the exact same as can be found on the race bikes of<br />

Sam Sunderland and Daniel Sanders.<br />

Based on the powerhouse motor from our MC 450F<br />

motocross bike, the GASGAS RX 450F Replica certainly<br />

isn’t short on performance! Electrical wizardry tames<br />

things just a little to deliver usable power tailored<br />

specifically for rally racing. Inside the motor it’s pretty<br />

special too. For added reliability there’s a strengthened

Just take a look at what’s included...<br />

• Super-light carbon fiber navigation tower • WP XPLOR PRO 7548 front fork<br />

• WP XPLOR PRO 7750 rear shock • Red anodized X-TRIG triple clamps<br />

• Red Supersprox Stealth rear sprocket • Neken ‘bars<br />

• Akrapovic exhaust • Oversize Brembo brakes<br />

• GASGAS branded Hinson clutch cover • Continental TKC 80 tyres<br />

• Black anodized EXCEL rims • Optional sticker kit<br />

clutch and gearbox, a reworked SOHC cylinder<br />

head, as well as a Pankl con-rod and piston.<br />

The best suspension that money can buy has been<br />

fitted to the new GASGAS RX 450F Replica – WP<br />

PRO COMPONENTS. To be completely accurate<br />

and for those who know what’s what, it’s the<br />

XPLOR PRO 7548 fork up front with the XPLOR<br />

PRO 7750 shock at the rear. This combo inspires<br />

confidence thanks to its consistent performance<br />

across the roughest and toughest of rally terrain.<br />

Completing the build and making sure that the<br />

GASGAS RX 450F is capable of racing at the<br />

highest level from new, a selection of the finest<br />

aftermarket components are installed during the<br />

assembly process. Performance-wise, we’re talking<br />

X-TRIG triple clamps, oversize Brembo brakes, an<br />

Akrapovic exhaust, and Continental TKC 80 tires.<br />

For durability, we’ve fitted a Supersprox Stealth<br />

sprocket, Neken ‘bars, and a GASGAS branded<br />

Hinson Clutch cover. We’ve also thrown in an<br />

optional sticker kit with each bike that’s super easy<br />

to apply if needed.<br />

For more information and to check out the full<br />

spec of the GASGAS RX 450F Replica, head to<br />

GASGAS.com.<br />

The GASGAS RX 450F is available through<br />

dealerships worldwide in very limited numbers!<br />

Availability may differ from country to country. For<br />

full pricing details and more information, please<br />

contact your national GASGAS dealer or importer.


DARE TO<br />


The God father, a new bigger,<br />

stronger British Tiger, and a twin<br />

born in Africa and made in Japan.<br />

Adventure bikes have been<br />

the “in” thing for a while<br />

now, especially in South<br />

Africa and the most<br />

popular adventure bike is without a<br />

doubt BMWs R1250GS. It’s the OG of<br />

adventure bikes, the Godfather if you<br />

will. You generally see at least one GS<br />

on the road every day, whether it passes<br />

you in traffic or whether it’s parked<br />

somewhere. The GS juggles the perfect<br />

blend of class, comfort, performance<br />

and practicality which until recent years<br />

other manufacturers have battled to<br />

match. I am glad to say though that one<br />

of these manufacturers has managed to<br />

close that gap significantly if not surpass<br />

the mighty GS in many people’s opinion.<br />

Many have labelled it the GS slayer<br />

overseas and since its launch earlier on<br />

this year it has definitely gained great<br />

traction and an even bigger following.<br />

I am of course talking about Triumph’s<br />

new Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer.<br />

We were lucky enough to be one of the<br />

first journos to sample Triumph’s new<br />

offering a couple of months back at the<br />

South African launch. Highly impressed<br />

with the bike we just knew that a head-

to-head test would be in order for the near<br />

future. So we organised a Triumph Tiger<br />

1200 Rally Explorer from Triumph SA in<br />

Sandton and also a BMW 1250GS from<br />

BMW SA. We opted to test the highest<br />

specs available from both manufactures<br />

being the Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer, which<br />

starts at R335 000.00 and the 1250GS<br />

Adventure Triple Black which starts from<br />

R358 300.00 for the base Adventure. This<br />

particular one we have on test is the Triple<br />

Black with added packages and in total<br />

would set you back around R380K.<br />

In addition, adding a twist to this test we<br />

thought why not introduce a wildcard? A<br />

bike so often overlooked by many, yet highly<br />

accomplished in its own right. Honda’s<br />

CRF1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports<br />

DCT kindly lent to us by Motus Honda<br />

East Rand. The Adventure Sports DCT is<br />

Honda’s top-of-the-range offering, pretty<br />

much fully specced with all the gadgets you<br />

could ever want as standard. A brand new<br />

2022 DCT model will set you back R320<br />

400.00 (Excluding crash bars which aren’t<br />

standard)with the manual version being<br />

much cheaper at R275 800.00. The Honda<br />

is the cheapest on test by quite a margin<br />

but once you delve deeper and evaluate the<br />

bang for buck, I would say that the Triumph<br />

takes the cake.<br />

So, we had the bikes and a route planned,<br />

which would be a ride from Boksburg to<br />

Harties and back. We would also ride a<br />

typical adventure route for most of the way<br />

back set out by Ryno Albrecht who would<br />

also be joining us on this test. Our third rider<br />

who would also be pulling double duties on<br />

the day is our very own photographer from<br />

BEAM Productions, Gerrit Erasmus.<br />

All the bikes were standard, except for the<br />

Africa Twin which had crash bars fitted as<br />

well as a top box which did come in handy<br />

for all the camera equipment. It was also<br />

the 2020 model and not the newer 2022<br />

model, although not that much different<br />

other than a colour change. The Triumph<br />

Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer is Triumph’s<br />

new range-topping all-out adventure<br />

bike. It boasts a 30-litre fuel tank which<br />

is the same capacity as the BMW 1250GS<br />

Adventure and 5.2 litres bigger than the<br />

Africa Twins which is only a measly <strong>24</strong>.8<br />

litres in comparison. All the bikes were<br />

filled at the same time so we could have an<br />

accurate measurement of fuel consumption<br />

and figures by the end of the day.<br />

It’s no secret that Triumph has aimed their<br />

new Tiger to compete directly against the<br />

GS. Even while developing the new Tiger<br />

1200, Triumph would compare things<br />

directly with the GS and even hold back its<br />

release to the public due to not being happy<br />

with how the Tiger was performing against<br />

its shaft-driven rival. Like not being happy<br />

with the way it accelerated against the GS,<br />

so they went back to the drawing board to<br />

change ratios until they were happy. The<br />

same went for the fuel consumption tests,<br />

so they played with the Tiger’s fueling and<br />

mapping until they were happy. In the end,<br />

Triumph released a well-sorted bike which<br />

they were pleased about to the public. The<br />

GS has always been the bike that other

manufacturers try to mimic in certain ways as<br />

BMW got their recipe pretty much bang on<br />

from the get-go. Both the GS and Tiger 1200<br />

are shaft driven with the Triumph having a<br />

radical new twin-sided “Tri-Link” aluminium<br />

swingarm with twin aluminium torque arms.<br />

This aids with rigidity and less flex which is<br />

not really noticeable on the road but does<br />

make quite a difference when riding off-road.<br />

The GS’s conventional single-sided shaft<br />

drive does seem to battle to keep up with<br />

the immense torque from the motor and can<br />

be quite snappy at times, especially while<br />

accelerating hard off-road out of turns with<br />

low grip. The Africa Twin on the other hand<br />

is still a good old-fashioned chain-driven<br />

machine which is tried, tested and proven.<br />

Yes, it does require more maintenance but<br />

is easier and bucket loads cheaper to repair<br />

should something go wrong. If a shaft drive<br />

goes wrong on the other hand then you are<br />

in big trouble, although this rarely happens<br />

with modern-day bikes. It’s still safer to have<br />

a chain drive if you are a hardcore adventure<br />

rider and do a lot of trips due to the fact if<br />

something does go wrong or you hit a rock it<br />

is easier to make a plan and repair.<br />

Quality-wise and there is not much in it but<br />

I would have to say that the BMW narrowly<br />

edges out its competition with less of a<br />

plasticky feel. The cockpit layout on both the<br />

GS and Tiger is clean, buttons are big and<br />

easy to use and navigate between. The Africa<br />

Twin on the other hand simply has too many<br />

buttons, too close together. The indicator<br />

switch is hard to access and somewhat buried<br />

in the switch. Should you wish to hoot at<br />

someone or something you will have to look<br />

down and find and press the hooter amongst<br />

a whole host of other buttons with pinpoint<br />

accuracy. The controls in comparison to the<br />

Tiger and GS are a huge mess and let the<br />

Africa Twin down big time although saying<br />

this the touch screen dash is a big plus. All the<br />

bikes come with an adjustable windshield as<br />

standard and the easiest to adjust especially<br />

on the fly is that of the Triumphs which you

simply pull up or down with your left hand<br />

while riding. The BMW has a knob which you<br />

have to turn left or right to get higher or lower<br />

and does offer a lot of resistance while trying<br />

to adjust, especially while riding. The Africa<br />

Twins screen cannot be adjusted on the fly<br />

unless you are brave enough to take both<br />

hands off the handlebar and press two levers<br />

on either side to pull it either up or down. The<br />

Screen is quite tall on the Africa Twin and<br />

does get in your line of eyesight quite often<br />

when adjusted to the tallest, especially when<br />

dirty and while riding off-road. A shorter,<br />

wider screen would have suited the Africa<br />

Twin more. The Triumph’s screen is adequate<br />

but not as efficient as the GS’s and does allow<br />

more wind through, not much though. I did<br />

prefer the Triumph’s screen out of the three<br />

while riding off-road though. It wasn’t in the<br />

way as much as the other two.<br />

The Triumph is more powerful, more vibrant,<br />

and packs a lot more tech than ever before.<br />

The advantage that BMW R1250 GS had up<br />

until now over its competition was the fact<br />

that it was 10 steps ahead of experience.<br />

But now, Triumph plans on closing and even<br />

surpassing that gap with tech wizardry and<br />

refined engineering. The Tiger boasts 148hp<br />

and 130Nm of torque while the GS has 136hp<br />

and 143Nm of torque. So the GS has less<br />

power and more torque than the Tiger which<br />

is mainly thanks to the Boxer motor vs Triple<br />

Motor characteristics. The Africa Twin has a<br />

measly 100hp and 105Nm in comparison from<br />

its Parallel-twin motor. So all three bikes have<br />

different motors with different characteristics<br />

and this can be felt while riding them,<br />

especially back to back. The Triumph despite<br />

being a triple feels more like a twin low down

in the rev range thanks to its new T-plane<br />

crank and 1-3-2 firing order. So it has more<br />

oomph low down but still likes to be revved<br />

all the way up to the redline as all triples do,<br />

and that is where it is at its best, to be honest.<br />

The GS has that typical Boxer sway from side<br />

to side that is off-putting and will put Mike<br />

Tyson’s movement to shame but it always<br />

has been there and gives the GS its character<br />

much like that of tose old American V8 cars.<br />

The GS has more torque and this can be felt<br />

while riding through the gears. It doesn’t<br />

enjoy the higher revs as much as the Triumph<br />

or Africa twin, instead preferring to live in its<br />

low to mid-range revs. The Africa Twin is both<br />

gutsy and lively and you will soon forget that<br />

it is over 35-48hp down on the other two<br />

and also has way less torque. It keeps up just<br />

enough with the other two to keep them on<br />

their toes. The Triumph and Honda feel the<br />

smoothest at law-breaking speeds, while I got<br />

a lot of noise and vibration from GS, especially<br />

on the high ways at higher speeds. The GS is<br />

the quickest on test though and will top out at<br />

close on 230kph while the Tiger has been told<br />

to never go quicker than around 204kph by<br />

its makers. The Africa Twin DCT tops out just<br />

under 220kph which is impressive considering<br />

its power and torque figures compared to the<br />

others. The GS always came out on top with<br />

rolling races or even racing from a standstill<br />

although the Tiger did match the Bavarian<br />

brute through the gears at a standstill on<br />

many occasions and sometimes even edged it<br />

out. The Honda was always behind the others,<br />

all be it not by as much as we thought.<br />

Clever suspension and handling-specific<br />

electronics make all three of these machines<br />

a breeze to blow dust with. The Tiger 1200<br />

comes with Showa semi-active, electronically<br />

adjustable suspension. A slew of other tech<br />

features like IMU-assisted cornering traction<br />

control, ABS, and a wide array of drive<br />

modes make sure that you and the machine<br />

are prepared for the unpredictable terrains<br />

ahead. All of this is controlled via a crisp<br />

7-inch TFT dashboard.<br />

The Beemer is in no way shy when it comes<br />

to electronics. Its impressive tech package<br />

is a double-edged knife here because,<br />

without the wizardry, it would be a pain to<br />

ride the behemoth around. It gets standard<br />

features like riding modes (2 of them),<br />

Stability Control, Cruise Control, and Hill<br />

Each bike features modern TFT dashes<br />

displaying all the information you<br />

could possibly want and more.<br />

It does get a bit tricky flicking through<br />

all the settings and understanding how<br />

it all works. It did take a bit of time to<br />

get used to, but just like a new phone<br />

or TV, once you get it, it becomes<br />

loads of fun and easy.

Hold to name a few. This and the adjustable<br />

suspension setup is controlled via a 6.5-inch<br />

TFT screen. BMW falls back here because<br />

most of the impressive tech features come<br />

at an additional price. Whereas, Triumph<br />

has made sure to bundle the best value with<br />

each of its 5 trim levels of the Tiger 1200.<br />

The GS Adventure we had on test here is the<br />

Triple Black and does have the Dynamic and<br />

Dynamic Pro riding modes, which did make<br />

a difference for me. I prefer any bike I ride to<br />

not interfere but there are many people out<br />

there who rely on the electronics and this<br />

is why I enjoyed the Triumph’s off-road pro<br />

riding mode in the dirty stuff. It acted as if<br />

everything was off but only interfered and<br />

ever so slightly when it really needed to.<br />

The Honda was precise and so light and<br />

nimble compared to the other two. The<br />

seat height of 850/870mm is also a treat<br />

for those of us that gravity sucks down. The<br />

Triumph has a much taller seat height of<br />

875/895mm and the GS Adventure is even<br />

taller at 890/910mm. All three bikes have<br />

that typical upright adventure riding position<br />

and I felt like I sat more over the front of the<br />

bike on the Honda and Triumph. With the GS<br />

I felt like I was pushed a little more back and<br />

therefore had less of my weight over the front<br />

when I needed it. The Africa Twin comes in<br />

the lightest of all three bikes at <strong>24</strong>8kg. The<br />

Triumph is slightly heavier at 261kg with the<br />

GS being the heaviest at 268.1kg depending<br />

on spec. Like for like Triumph claims that the<br />

Tiger is up to 16kg lighter than the GS.<br />

Out on the road, all three of these bikes’<br />

electronic suspensions worked like a treat.<br />

There really isn’t much in it, to be honest.<br />

However, I did feel as if the GS stuck to the<br />

road better and was easier to corner than the<br />

other two. Maybe it’s due to its extra weight,<br />

the centre of gravity or smaller 19” front and<br />

17” wheels. Both the Triumph and Honda

have 21” front wheels and 18” rear wheels.<br />

That could also be the reason why I preferred<br />

both the Honda and Triumph in the dirty stuff.<br />

They were easier to steer and more pinpoint<br />

accurate, which made navigating over<br />

obstacles and tricky terrain a little easier.<br />

At the end of the day, we did quite a mixture<br />

of fast roads/highways, back roads, dirt roads<br />

and slower technical trails. Around 370km<br />

was done in one day, all on one tank of fuel.<br />

The Triumph averaged 7.6L\100km, the BMW<br />

7,71L/100km and the Honda with its smaller<br />

tank 7.2L/100km. The Triumph has 16 000km<br />

service intervals which is an added bonus as<br />

well as a new 3-year unlimited km warranty<br />

which is a nice touch. The BMW has a nice<br />

unrivalled 5-year unlimited km warranty<br />

but service intervals every 10 000km. The<br />

Honda only has a mere 2-year unlimited km<br />

warranty in comparison with a service interval<br />

of every 12 000km. All three of these bikes<br />

are intended to do the same type of riding<br />

and all three do it in their own characterful<br />

way. I think the deciding factor will ultimately<br />

come down to the price and desire but no<br />

matter which way you go you will not be<br />

disappointed.<br />

Is BMW’s GS still the Godfather? I will let you<br />

decide.<br />

POWER: 148hp<br />

TORQUE: 130 Nm<br />

SEAT HEIGHT: 875/895mm<br />

WHEELBASE: 1560 mm<br />

Tank capacity: 30 l<br />

WET WEIGHT: 261 kg<br />

PRICE: R335,000<br />

POWER: 100hp<br />

TORQUE: 105 Nm<br />

SEAT HEIGHT: 850/870mm<br />

WHEELBASE: 1575 mm<br />

Tank capacity: 25 l<br />

DRY WEIGHT: <strong>24</strong>8 kg<br />

PRICE: R320,400<br />

POWER: 136hp<br />

TORQUE: 143 Nm<br />

SEAT HEIGHT: 890/910 mm<br />

WHEELBASE: 1504 mm<br />

Tank capacity: 30 l<br />

WET WEIGHT: 268 kg<br />

PRICE: R358,300

The Other Guy.<br />

Ryno says:<br />

After months and months of nagging, begging<br />

and pleading with Rob and Shaun to set up<br />

this test, it finally happened, and I got to ride<br />

not 1, not 2, but 3 fantastic adventure bikes.<br />

Having been a proud owner of a 1250GS but<br />

not having ridden much else in terms of the<br />

meerkat kind of bikes, this was going to be an<br />

adventure, and boy was it!<br />

We got to test all 3 bikes on different terrain,<br />

highways, back roads, and of course, some<br />

mild off-roading. Keeping in mind that I am<br />

EXTREMELY new to this entire meerkat scene,<br />

I thought I would share my “novice” views on<br />

these incredible machines.<br />

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure<br />

I figured I would start with the 1250 GS<br />

Adventure, which is the closest to what I<br />

already know. Coming from the standard GS,<br />

it was interesting to note that the adventure<br />

was quite a bit taller and slightly heavier than<br />

its “smaller” sibling… being a chubby 1.78m,<br />

the added height was not problematic but<br />

rather noticeable.<br />

As with the standard GS, the added weight<br />

is not noticeable once you are moving, and<br />

the GSA handles like a dream on any surface<br />

we could test it on. The unique telelever<br />

suspension was AMAZING, soaking up every<br />

bump but still giving superb control and<br />

feedback, even on the more road-orientated<br />

tires the bike was fitted with.<br />

As with all their models, the new “standard”<br />

BMW TFT dash is extremely clear, simple,<br />

and intuitive. Switching modes on the fly, so<br />

to say, is also fantastic; switching between<br />

road, dynamic or off-road is as easy as<br />

pressing a button, closing the throttle, and<br />

the bike does its thing.<br />

The computer brain of the GS then knows<br />

if you are playing in the dirt and allows you<br />

some freedom to slide the rear out, and the<br />

abs, even off-road, work like a treat! (I know<br />

some wise old grey men are shouting turn off<br />

that nonsense, but on my bike, it has helped<br />

me from planting myself in the scenery more<br />

than once.) This model also had the GPS<br />

cradle, allowing me to fit my BMW navigator<br />

GPS to help guide us on our dirty adventure.<br />

The interesting takeaway of the GSA is that<br />

it was the heaviest bike on fuel out of the 3<br />

machines tested for the day!

Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer<br />

A few months after the initial launch, I had<br />

serious FOMO, or fear of missing out, as<br />

everyone and their dog had had the chance to<br />

ride and test the new Triumph. After watching<br />

NUMEROUS rave reviews on youtube and<br />

reading countless 5-star reviews, I just wanted<br />

to ride the Tiger!<br />

Let me tell you, it was worth the wait.<br />

I started my day with the Triumph. She was<br />

SUCH a pleasure to ride on the highway and<br />

in sport mode. Smooth, fast, and comfortable.<br />

With the adjustable windscreen, all the way to<br />

the top wind was pretty much a non-event, as<br />

you would expect from a high-end ADV bike.<br />

The Triumph was the tallest bike out of<br />

the 3, and at my body build and height, it<br />

took some work to tippy toe it around, but<br />

apparently, there is a lowered seat/lowering<br />

kit available for the bike, so that should not<br />

be a factor in choosing.<br />

The now almost standard 3-cylinder Triumph<br />

motor has a gorgeous growl and ample<br />

power for an adventure bike; even though<br />

Shaun beat me on every pull we did, I blame<br />

inexperience for that.<br />

Once we got to the loose sandy stuff, I,<br />

unfortunately, had to stop the bike from<br />

switching riding modes and allowing the<br />

suspension to shift to off-road mode; again,<br />

this may have been a user error more than a<br />

shortcoming on the bike.<br />

The Triumph enjoyed the farm access roads.<br />

It was super fun to ride with ample power;<br />

however, with my unique physique, the<br />

suspension bottomed out a few times.<br />

All in all, it’s a great bike and a worthy<br />

competitor to the GSA.

Honda Africa Twin<br />

Now, this was something special for me. Shaunie<br />

organized the Honda Africa Twin as a third bike, and<br />

not any version, but the DCT or “Automatic” version.<br />

What an experience this was! From getting on the<br />

bike, it took me a good couple of minutes to stop<br />

looking for the clutch and gear shifter and let my<br />

body’s left side relax and accept it won’t be doing<br />

much work!<br />

This was my first time riding anything of this<br />

sort, and I was surprised by what an incredible<br />

experience it was!<br />

The seamless smooth, and fast gear changes<br />

without any effort from my side could make a<br />

guy lazy REALLY quickly, to the extent that when<br />

getting on another bike, you would drop it in gear<br />

and stall…because you forgot the clutch… OOPS.<br />

The Africa Twin has enough buttons to keep a<br />

modern-day teenager happy for days, and it has<br />

one feature I did not expect, A TOUCH SCREEN!<br />

The twin had more superbike-like handling than<br />

an adventure bike on the road, and in general, it<br />

REALLY impressed me. The motorcycle turned<br />

extremely quickly, handled superbly, and just went<br />

where I wanted it.<br />

Offroad, the Honda was unique; it felt light, smooth,<br />

handled well, and the electronics were excellent<br />

and non-intrusive for a rider of my skill level but<br />

confidence-inspiring.<br />

Though the honda does not entirely fall into<br />

the “big adventure bike” category, it is a serious<br />

contender, especially at its price point and for what<br />

you get with the bike. For me, it was the biggest<br />

surprise of the test.<br />

The only downside I could find was wishing there<br />

was a slightly more intuitive way to manage the<br />

gears on the offroad sections, rather than having to<br />

reach for the + or – buttons on the left handlebar. I<br />

don’t have the most enormous hands, so they were<br />

a little stretch to reach while concentrating on riding<br />

and maintaining control.



OF KINGS<br />


KTM ADVENTURE Ride Outs were revived in New Zealand<br />

with renowned rider Chris Birch at the helm. Here’s why the<br />

longest trip could be one of the very best…

Planet earth is a playground for the senses<br />

but perhaps none tickle the curiosity and<br />

the soul more than the diverse landscapes<br />

found in New Zealand. The spread of<br />

climate, terrain and experiences on the two<br />

islands are tailormade for the attributes of<br />

the KTM ADVENTURE range, especially the<br />

KTM 890 and 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE<br />

model line-up. A magical country begs<br />

to be explored on motorcycles that can<br />

be feathered or pushed hard, can cover<br />

vast kilometres but are also agile enough<br />

to wind up a technical trail and are<br />

dependable even in the remotest of spots.<br />

After two barren years forced by the<br />

limitations of the pandemic, KTM<br />

Adventure rider and Enduro legend<br />

Chris Birch was able to recently fire-up a<br />

KTM ADVENTURE Ride Out in his native<br />

land. It was a three-day blast of fresh air<br />

for the bikes, the riders and the feeling<br />

of possibility. “We had the whole route<br />

organised, but Covid rules meant we had<br />

to postpone it… but once the rules had<br />

changed again and we were able to cap<br />

it at a certain number then we were backon,”<br />

Birch says on the phone from Canada<br />

where he has been busy on another<br />

Adventure rally. “We allotted forty places<br />

for riders – plus staff – so we were below<br />

the official permitted figure. We were then<br />

good to go.”<br />

Birch has been a KTM Adventure rider for<br />

fifteen years and a hard Enduro specialist<br />

in orange for even longer. He is a key figure<br />

in the organization of KTM tours and rides<br />

in one of the most spectacular locations.<br />

“It was a proper ride,” he describes. “We<br />

started from Dunedin [on the southeast<br />

coast of the southern island] which meant<br />

that a lot of guys already had quite a trek<br />

to reach the launch point. It was 1,500 km<br />

and quite a lot of that offroad just to begin<br />

with! It is one of the really good things<br />

about these Adventure events; they end<br />

up being the excuse and the reason for an<br />

even greater adventure. A lot of the guys<br />

came down from the north island, so they<br />

had three-four days minimum on the bike<br />

just to arrive to the start of the Ride Out.<br />

We had three days of full-on riding and<br />

then they had to go home again! A threeday<br />

event was really a two-week trip for us,<br />

which was great!”<br />

The Ride Out photographs show the<br />

mixture of what the group encountered.<br />

“The best thing with these KTM<br />

ADVENTURE bikes is that you can travel<br />

and cover so much ground,” Birch says.<br />

“We had three quite different days of<br />

riding. New Zealand’s topography changes<br />

pretty quickly. So, we started in Dunedin<br />

which is more pine forests and rolling<br />

grass farm country and then headed<br />

more central which is higher, alpine stuff<br />

with a much drier and arid climate. We<br />

intentionally tried to give the riders a real<br />

change over the days, and it’s great to have<br />

that variety and the feeling that you are<br />

heading somewhere.”

Birch might be biased but he still believes<br />

the spell of New Zealand is one of the very<br />

strongest for those that like to see the<br />

unseen with the help of two wheels. “I’ve<br />

ridden motorcycles in 50 countries now and<br />

I still arrive to places in New Zealand, a ridge<br />

or something, where I’ll stop, look around<br />

and think ‘this is still a pretty damn good<br />

place to ride a motorbike’,” he says, evidently<br />

smiling down the call. “The cool thing with<br />

the range we have on these bikes is that you<br />

can get to some really remote places and on<br />

that last trip we went to many that I haven’t<br />

visited before, which is pretty cool after a<br />

lifetime of riding and exploring there.”<br />

A Kiwi Ride Out looks fun and unique but<br />

it also looks demanding. As much as it is a<br />

special experience, Birch insists that it is not<br />

only for hardened Adventurers or enduro<br />

riders. “I mean, you need to have enough<br />

know-how that you can ride a motorbike<br />

offroad for three days. It’s not for beginners…<br />

but it is not a big macho thing; everyone<br />

helps each other and if you stop on the trail<br />

and have a problem then everybody will be<br />

stopping to see if you are okay. It’s a real<br />

community sort of thing and nobody gets<br />

left behind. It’s about bringing like-minded<br />

people together, there is no racing and no<br />

rush. It’s just about getting to cool places<br />

together and enjoying the bikes.”<br />

Birch’s important and international role<br />

with KTM (he is based with his family in<br />

Europe for four months this summer while<br />

he embarks on a series of other events)<br />

means he gets the luxury of ‘exploring’ the<br />

ADVENTURE line-up; a selection of bikes he<br />

actually helped to develop. “I swap around<br />

between the KTM 890 ADVENTURE R and<br />

the 1290,” he says. “I really like the 1290<br />

for the South Island because the riding is<br />

generally more open and flowing; more 2nd<br />

and 3rd gear than 1st and 2nd like it is in the<br />

North. I kinda joke that I am super-spoilt<br />

because the 890 is my North Island bike and<br />

the 1290 is my south bike!”





On the shores of the Adriatic Sea, near the town of Kavaje<br />

in the western lowlands of Albania, 21 International teams<br />

met up and went on the ride of a lifetime ready for the the<br />

eighth BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy.

Meet the Team<br />

Team South Africa<br />

No: 191<br />

Rider: Gerrit du Toit<br />

Age: 19<br />

Hometown: Tzaneen, Limpopo<br />

Occupation: Diesel pump technician<br />

trainee<br />

Quote: “My father has been riding GSs for<br />

as long as I can remember, and when he<br />

took me out on his GS as a kid, that was<br />

when my love for the GS started. Later I<br />

started riding BMWs with a G 450 X and<br />

now I have an old air-cooled R 1200 GS<br />

Adventure – there’s just no other bike<br />

I enjoy as much. So, I couldn’t wait to<br />

finally participate in the GS Trophy.”<br />

No: 192<br />

Rider: Dalton de Bruin<br />

Age: 23<br />

Hometown: Bloemfontein<br />

Occupation: Full-time student<br />

Quote: “We qualified for this last year in<br />

September, since then it’s been a whole<br />

year in preparing. We have been up and<br />

down the country in training, we went<br />

to Lesotho one time, we’ve ridden in<br />

everything from snow to sand to be ready,<br />

and the training with Stefan Boshoff<br />

(who’s ridden and trained with many GS<br />

Trophy teams) has been fantastic. We are<br />

really looking forward to this.”<br />

No: 193<br />

Rider: Warren Venter<br />

Age: 45<br />

Hometown: Krugersdorp<br />

Occupation: Manufacturer of aluminium<br />

windows and doors<br />

Quote: “When I started riding my first GS<br />

in 2014 I was immediately exposed to the<br />

GS Trophy, and we – my wife and I, she<br />

also rides a GS – would go to the events<br />

to watch and marvel in the skill level of<br />

the participants with these amazing bikes.<br />

We kept going and going, until in 2019 we<br />

decided I should bite the bullet and enter<br />

the event. I put a lot of training in and did<br />

every course you can think of, but I wasn’t<br />

successful, I didn’t make it into the team<br />

for New Zealand. But I didn’t give up; all<br />

in the spirit of the GS I kept going and<br />

going and so last year I qualified! It’s been<br />

an amazing journey. At home I have an R<br />

1250 GSA, my wife also has a 1250. I use<br />

my bike every day for work, so I do 50-<br />

60,000km a year. I love it, in our house<br />

we absolutely live the brand!”<br />

Female Team South Africa<br />

No: 351<br />

Rider: Hanneli Zondagh<br />

Age: 50<br />

Hometown: Cape Town<br />

Occupation: Dentist<br />

Quote: “I got into bikes when my exboyfriend<br />

bought a 2010<br />

R 1200 GSA. That got me started and<br />

with the help of the Country TRAX offroad<br />

academy I’ve improved my riding, so<br />

I’m here at the International GS Trophy!”<br />

No: 352<br />

Rider: Christelle van der Meulen<br />

Age: 47<br />

Hometown: Pretoria<br />

Occupation: Upholsterer<br />

Quote: “At 42 my husband started riding<br />

motorcycles, perhaps a midlife crisis,<br />

and I realized he was having a lot of fun<br />

and so I decided to join him – and never<br />

looked back. A friend, Morag Campbell,<br />

suggested that I part take in the GS<br />

Trophy and my husband encouraged me<br />

to get onto his R 1200 GS and give it a<br />

try. It was a daunting idea, but he said:<br />

‘You can’. I tried and here I am today...<br />

loving my GS, loving the adventure, and<br />

making life a ride!”

The 2022 BMW Motorrad<br />

International GS Trophy started<br />

in spectacular fashion. The<br />

competitors set off from the base camp at<br />

Kavaje on the shores of the Adriatic and<br />

headed inland, across the coastal plain<br />

of the western lowlands, and onto some<br />

challenging riding in the mountains before<br />

finishing at the stunning UNESCO world<br />

heritage site that is Berat Castle.<br />

As usual for the event, the GS Trophy riders<br />

were up before dawn, striking camp ahead<br />

of a 6:00am breakfast call in preparation<br />

for the 7am start. The teams set off in pairs<br />

in five-minute intervals, and it wasn’t 15<br />

minutes on the trails before they came to<br />

their first special test, the ‘Welcome Trial’<br />

set on a jagged ridge above the coastline.<br />

Team Mexico’s Michael Littlewood was then<br />

the first GS Trophy rider to enter a scored<br />

stage and start the competition rolling,<br />

and it was evident that the Mexican team<br />

was well prepared, combining speed and<br />

precision to set a marker for the following<br />

20 teams to beat.<br />

After that, the teams followed a mix of<br />

road and trail as they headed east into<br />

Albania’s interior. And what a ride! The<br />

lowlands weren’t flat as you might expect,<br />

but hilly while the expected flat lands were<br />

restricted to the river plains. Here the GS<br />

riders marveled at Albania’s rural culture.<br />

This is agriculture as practiced before<br />

mechanization. Small fields given over to<br />

corn or fruit crops. The land worked with<br />

scythes, picks and shovels while produce is<br />

transported by wheelbarrow or cart. Where<br />

the land isn’t flat, shepherds tended sheep,<br />

goats and cows. Horses and donkeys are<br />

still common when it comes to personal<br />

transport. It was easy to assimilate to how<br />

41% of the Albanian population is employed<br />

in agriculture. Yet the people are friendly,<br />

and this being Sunday, a day of rest, they<br />

were ready to wave and cheer the passing<br />

GS riders – the children especially so. With<br />

every kilometre Albania was surprising<br />

and delighting in the landscapes and the<br />


Once into the hills the riding became<br />

more challenging as the trails scaled and<br />

descended the ever-steepening slopes.<br />

Rocky, with lose stones, sand and washouts,<br />

it called for absolute attention, especially<br />

where the trails skirted the cliff edges. One<br />

particular hill climb almost brought the<br />

GS Trophy to a halt as a combination of<br />

steepness, tall rocks steps and loose gravel<br />

called for an attack that was equal parts<br />

commitment and understanding of good<br />

line choice. When that failed it called for<br />

teamwork to get the stricken rider to the top.<br />

After this the GS riders came to their second<br />

special test, the ‘Holta Enduro Lap’. Here the<br />

riders, in turn, entered a section of riverbed,<br />

all rocks, stones, mud and of course water,<br />

where they followed a course that twice<br />

crossed the water course and ran into<br />

both mud and stone banks. Again, the best<br />

riders combined confidence, understanding<br />

and attack – but not too much attack as<br />

hitting the mud, stones or indeed the rocks<br />

themselves with too much aggression<br />

typically resulted in a crash.

For the last section of the day, the riders<br />

enjoyed a two-hour trail ride over what you<br />

may call ‘enduro trails’ – flowing tracks,<br />

that wend their way through valleys and of<br />

course up and down hills, but with a certain<br />

cadence that makes for an enjoyable, pacey<br />

ride. As ever, the riders needed to maintain<br />

concentration to the end as washout, gulleys<br />

and rock steps were there to trip the unwary.<br />

The finish came at the incredible Berat Castle,<br />

a walled hilltop fortress with a history that<br />

dates back to both the Roman and Byzantine<br />

Empires. The city of Berat that surrounds it is<br />

just as spectacular and there’s an alpine feeling<br />

to the environment given the mountains<br />

that tower immediately to the east, not least<br />

Mount Tomorr (<strong>24</strong>16m). In all, the riders had<br />

been on the trails for just short of 11 hours. ‘A<br />

gentle introduction’ as the GS Trophy sportive<br />

director Chris Zimmerman described it.<br />

And the competition? While so many<br />

expect Team South Africa, the defending<br />

champions, to dominate, it was Team UK<br />

who came out fighting – and how, with wins<br />

in both special tests to build a strong early<br />

lead. Clearly highly motivated and welltrained<br />

they’ve certainly thrown down the<br />

gauntlet. In the Female Teams competition<br />

Team Germany look equally confident,<br />

placing 1-2 in the two tests, while Team South<br />

Africa with a 3-1 result are just five points<br />

behind, in what looks set to become a close<br />

competition.<br />

Warren Venter, Team South Africa: “It’s<br />

been brilliant, more than we expected,<br />

and it’s our type of riding, with hard rock<br />

sections and challenges along the trails<br />

that have been awesome – a nice little<br />

warm up! There was a great hill climb in<br />

the middle of the day. When we got there<br />

it looked like a war scene, but we helped<br />

clean it up then got through ourselves. A<br />

great start.<br />

“The country is amazing, around every<br />

corner is a new view, stunning landscapes,<br />

and little gems of restaurants or hotels<br />

in the middle of nowhere – we wonder<br />

how they even exist. The farming is, how<br />

do we describe it, ‘manual’ perhaps: men<br />

with picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, horse<br />

carts. Wives herding cows. We’ve not seen<br />

farming like that, it’s a whole different pace<br />

of life here. Their culture is very different.”

Day Two<br />

A long day in the mountains.<br />

The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy<br />

2022 got down to serious business today<br />

as the riders found themselves on mountain<br />

trails for a long nine-hour riding day. Riding<br />

in the Central Mountain Range the trails<br />

headed east, all the way to Albania’s border<br />

with Macedonia, finishing on the shores of<br />

Lake Ohrid.<br />

The GS Trophy riders were again up at dawn,<br />

but today instead of heading straight out it<br />

was instead straight in – to the first special<br />

test of the day, the Metzeler Challenge, set<br />

in the grounds of Berat Castle. Here the<br />

teams were required to remove the front<br />

wheel from an R 1250 GS, run with it to a<br />

compressor pump, accurately inflate the<br />

tyre to 2.0bar, then reinstall the wheel and<br />

finally push the bike to the finishing line.<br />

Simple enough, but for a fast time you need<br />

to know your tool sizes, and there are things<br />

to remember like which side the ABS ring is<br />

fixed, and not least that you should pump<br />

the brakes for safe riding. Slip up on any of<br />

these and you incur penalties. And in the<br />

heat of the moment even the most practiced<br />

teams can make mistakes – and they did!<br />

Wheel changes complete, the GS riders<br />

headed onto the trails of the Tomorr National<br />

Park, known for, and now protected on<br />

account of its unique biodiversity. Here<br />

the trails wound through forests of beech<br />

and pine, while the trail, a mix of shattered<br />

limestone, rocks, sand and mud, was<br />

occasionally littered with the scat of the<br />

protected wildlife which include wolves<br />

and wild boar. While the impressive Mount<br />

Tomorr towered over the first half of the<br />

trail, later the trail descended to the broad<br />

valley floor of the Osum River creating an<br />

ever-changing, ever-surprising sequence of<br />

wilderness and rural vistas.

At the day’s halfway point, on a high pasture<br />

in Gramsh, the riders found their second<br />

special test, the Akrapovic Challenge – a<br />

technical trial test, against the clock with<br />

the usual penalties for dabs, out-of-course<br />

excursions, crashes etc. With a steep dropin<br />

and exit it was a test of skill and nerve<br />

and posed that eternal conundrum – go<br />

slower and minimize mistakes or ride faster<br />

and hopefully off-set the penalties with a<br />

quick time.<br />

The afternoon was given over to a long<br />

three-hour trail ride that again rose high<br />

into the mountains of the Central Mountain<br />

Range. After ascending a tough, sustained<br />

rocky climb the trail reached a maximum<br />

height for the day of 15<strong>24</strong>m. The trail then<br />

led through an area of high pastures where<br />

shepherds were tending their sheep. After<br />

riding through a forest with many mudholes<br />

and rock sections – found together for<br />

maximum technicality – the trail eventually<br />

started a long hour’s descent to the finish,<br />

and the GS Trophy’s second UNESCO world<br />

heritage experience, Lake Ohrid, Europe’s<br />

oldest lake.<br />

After the day’s test results were tallied, we<br />

have new leaders in the male competition.<br />

After Team UK incurred costly penalties in<br />

both of today’s tests it’s now Team Thailand<br />

who lead the competition, while reigning<br />

champions Team South Africa has closed<br />

in on the leaders. In the female competition<br />

the German team have continued their good<br />

form to extend their lead, while Team Mexico<br />

has displaced Team South Africa for the<br />

runner-up position.<br />

Kyle Robertson, Team UK: “We were as<br />

shocked as anyone to have won both tests<br />

yesterday as we’ve only been together as a<br />

team a couple of times, but it couldn’t have<br />

gone any better. Today, it’s gone the other<br />

way, we made a mistake in the wheel change<br />

– annoying because we knew what to do,<br />

but in the heat of the moment you make<br />

mistakes. Likewise, we made a couple of<br />

mistakes in the trial, it’s not easy to achieve<br />

that balance between speed and getting it<br />

right. The riding today was exceptional, the<br />

beauty of this country is amazing; I’m not<br />

going to want to go home after this is over –<br />

and do I really have to give the bike back?!”

Day Three<br />

A game of two halves.<br />

The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy<br />

2022 set off south today, at a pace! With<br />

200km to cover and with 120 of those<br />

on forest and mountain trails, there was a<br />

definite sense of purpose to the day. The GS<br />

riders pushing on when riding the flowing<br />

mountain pistes and fighting for every inch<br />

in the rocky and muddy forest trails.<br />

The day started comfortably enough,<br />

following a ridge-line trail into the hills<br />

above Lake Ohrid. Wide, flowing trails over<br />

a base of well-compacted red earth lent<br />

well to the BMW R 1250 GSs forte of making<br />

smooth, efficient progress.<br />

Within half an hour the GS riders rode<br />

into their first special test of the day, the<br />

ADVANTEC challenge. Here the entire team<br />

had to ride into a 15 x 15m enclosure set on<br />

a pasture, collect a bottle of ADVANTEC oil<br />

from a marshal then pass it from one rider<br />

to the next, while moving, without putting<br />

a foot down – or crashing. Only when the<br />

third rider had the bottle in his safe keeping<br />

could the three leave the enclosure and<br />

stop the clock. An excellent test of machine<br />

control and rider awareness, planning too.<br />

at one point briefly stopping at an 18th<br />

century monastery set on one particular<br />

peak. The riders were then treated to a road<br />

ride they won’t forget. Riding a perfect<br />

ribbon of tarmac that wove its way through<br />

the mountains, up, down, left, right, never a<br />

straight longer than 100 metres – again, an<br />

active kind of riding in which the BMW R<br />

1250 GS excels.<br />

After stopping for a sandwich in a high<br />

meadow, the GS riders proceeded into the<br />

second half of the day – and an entirely<br />

different experience. Now they were riding<br />

in native forest with all manner of deciduous<br />

trees, which created a cool canopy but had<br />

also retained so much rainwater on the<br />

forest floor, and more particularly on the<br />

narrow tracks that fought their way through<br />

the undergrowth. After enjoying rally type<br />

pistes and very nearly a road race track in<br />

the morning, the riders were now faced with<br />

serious enduro conditions.<br />

After this the riders rejoined the highway<br />

for a liaison section, which like so much of<br />

the GS Trophy route brought the riders into<br />

contact with various aspects of Albanian<br />

life. As ever, there were so many variations<br />

in personal transport, from donkey, to a<br />

motorized fruit stall, through to executive<br />

cars. Always though, cheerful, polite and<br />

engaging people – even the policemen<br />

(don’t ask!).<br />

The second half of the morning saw the<br />

GS riders head into the mountains on more<br />

flowing trails. These were well maintained<br />

gravel tracks that climbed into the<br />

mountains and passed through pine forests,

Naturally this brought out their sportive<br />

nature and the riders relished the challenge of<br />

the sustained, steep rocky climbs and neverending<br />

deep mud holes that littered the track.<br />

There was even a deep-water river crossing. It<br />

was, in short, a fight to the end, one that put<br />

a sweat on the riders’ brows and brought a<br />

smile to their faces.<br />

So, after nearly nine hours of some of the<br />

best riding we’ve seen in the GS Trophy, from<br />

any editions, the riders arrived at the second<br />

test of the day, just minutes from the night’s<br />

camp at Farma Sotira, near the Greek border.<br />

The ‘LEATT Enduro Trophy’ properly met<br />

the mood, requiring all team riders to enter a<br />

short enduro-style course set around a rocky<br />

outcrop. Given their day’s experiences, and<br />

clearly feeling ‘on point’ the teams rode the test<br />

with some vigour, ‘full gas’ as the saying goes.<br />

Jim Duplease, Team USA: “Today has been<br />

beyond epic, beyond my expectations. This<br />

whole trip has been insane! I can’t believe<br />

the pace we’ve been carrying, I was kind of<br />

worried it would be more of a tour but today<br />

has been an all-out speed-mashing day, so I’m<br />

beyond stoked to be here. I don’t even care<br />

how we get on in the competition because<br />

this experience delivers. It’s not about the<br />

competition really, it’s about finding people<br />

from other countries and sharing with them,<br />

like the guys from South Korea, they ride<br />

really well so I’m glad we rode with them<br />

today – and our marshal was on fire! It was<br />

simply epic.”<br />

Tim Schlage, Team Germany: “What a day!<br />

Lots of water. Some clear water in the river<br />

crossing, but then so much dirty water – big<br />

holes, 50-60cm deep, then so much mud.<br />

And great hills, so rocky so technical – I love<br />

it! It was a very, very hard day. As well we<br />

were riding with Team UK and we had a great<br />

marshal, so we had a perfect level of riding<br />

today. And our camp tonight, we’re in a field<br />

with horses, sheep, ducks, chickens – it’s a<br />

unique, fun atmosphere!”

Day Four<br />

Trials but no tribulations in<br />

the mountains.<br />

With the second shortest daily distance of the<br />

event, you’d be forgiven for thinking day four<br />

of the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy<br />

2022 was something of a rest day. But a rest<br />

day it was not, as the day’s course, a loop into<br />

the Pindus Mountains, called for serious trials<br />

skills, as the riders took to virtual goat tracks<br />

as they climbed and descended the slopes.<br />

And then they needed their trials skills again<br />

as two of three special tests today called for<br />

superior feet-up technique.<br />

Short day or not, it was again a dawn rising<br />

for the GS riders. They’d had quite a night<br />

‘under canvas’ as the temperatures had<br />

plummeted once the sun had set last night.<br />

However, they soon warmed up once they<br />

got riding, as even the first Tarmac section<br />

was highly degraded, calling for maximum<br />

concentration. And once they hit the off-road<br />

trails they knew immediately they were in for<br />

a challenge. While the latter part of day three<br />

had felt like riding an enduro, these trails took<br />

hill climbing to a whole new level. Calling for<br />

trials type technique, today was about riding<br />

feet up in first or second gear searching for<br />

the perfect line and always for grip on the<br />

steep terrain. With every variation of surface,<br />

some pure rock, some clay and shattered<br />

limestone, some loose stone – and all at an<br />

incline that called for absolute commitment, it<br />

was an intense ride. And while the climbs on<br />

the track were intimidating enough, they were<br />

nothing as to the giant granite walls of the<br />

Pindus range that towered over the course,<br />

truly breathtaking as they rise thousands of<br />

metres from the valley floor.<br />

The ride was also something of an ecology<br />

lesson as the trails took the riders under<br />

the canopy of the broadleaf forests that are<br />

common to the area. And just when the riders<br />

thought they might be a hundred kilometres<br />

from the nearest human influence they rode<br />

into a large goat and sheep herd travelling the<br />

self-same track as theirs. With sheep, goats,<br />

dogs, horses and herders, and of course<br />

BMW R 1250 GSs all sharing the track it was<br />

a morning traffic jam of the sort few will ever<br />

experience, quite comical as animal and GS<br />

fought for the same piece of track!<br />

The descent from the mountain tops was no<br />

less exciting, and testing, as the GS riders<br />

found themselves fighting for control as they<br />

skittered over broken stone paths that date<br />

back to Roman times. In all it had been an<br />

intense test of their off-road riding skills, and<br />

proof as if it was needed of the R 1250 GS’s<br />

versatility – and the tenacity of the Metzeler<br />

Karoo 4 tyres.<br />

Once back at Farma Sotira the riders faced a<br />

triple header of special tests. Their first test<br />

was the Farma Sotira Trial Relay, which saw<br />

the three (or two, in the case of the female<br />

teams) riders of each team tackling a section<br />

of an extended trials course. The first tackled<br />

a stream crossing in a wood, twice riding the<br />

banks and splashing through the water; the<br />

second rider needed to deal with a series of<br />

full-lock tight turns, plus a log traverse; while<br />

the last rider dealt with a slalom course. At<br />

the end, the three reunited to load and secure<br />

the last GS onto a trailer ready to be towed<br />

away by an Ineos Grenadier.

After that, the teams tackled the Navigation<br />

Challenge, using a BMW GPS navigation unit<br />

to find a waypoint in the woods, transfer new<br />

coordinates into the GPS then race back to<br />

the start. On foot. The GS riders are almost<br />

uniformly well practiced in this art now,<br />

so it was a matter of speed to decide the<br />

winners, as accuracy was almost universal.<br />

And running in the woods, as they charged<br />

through the low branches and bushes, the<br />

riders collected probably more bruises than<br />

they have in the whole ride so far.<br />

The last test of the day was the Albania Slow<br />

Race, the slow race being something of a GS<br />

Trophy tradition. Here, all the riders in the<br />

team ride a 100m course as slowly as they<br />

possibly can, without leaving their 1m wide<br />

lane and without putting a foot down. The<br />

team with the longest combined time wins.<br />

The day’s challenges certainly played to<br />

Team South Africa’s strengths, taking the<br />

lion’s share of the points in the male teams<br />

competition, closing to just one point behind<br />

the leaders, who today is again Team UK.<br />

Equally, Team Germany also took a big points<br />

haul to dislodge Team Thailand from the top<br />

three. In the female teams competition, there<br />

was less change, Team Germany continue<br />

with their strong form, while Team Mexico had<br />

a good day and have retaken the runner-up<br />

spot from Team South Africa.<br />

this motorcycle in my life, it’s so easy and<br />

enjoyable to ride.”<br />

Adib Javanmardi, Team India: “Today was<br />

great, we expected it to have a crazy offroading<br />

section, but we got through it just<br />

fine, with a great team and marshal. And<br />

we got everywhere first: to the lunch spot,<br />

to the fuel station and back to the camp!<br />

We loved the technicality, there was some<br />

mud in the forest, we were ducking under<br />

branches, riding sandy cambers, it was all so<br />

technical, it was a great challenge. I think the<br />

toughest part of day for me personally was<br />

the navigation challenge, bashing through<br />

the trees and the thorn bushes I got plenty<br />

of scratches and bruises! In all, in Team India<br />

we’ve had a great time so far, we’ve come to<br />

know each other better but we love meeting<br />

all the other GS riders from around the world.<br />

Making friends for life, that’s what counts. A<br />

fantastic experience so far, we just hope the<br />

next three days don’t go too fast, we don’t<br />

want this to end.”<br />

Esther Pinzon, Female Team Latin America:<br />

“Today’s ride was beautiful. The route was<br />

very, very technical, but very beautiful too. I<br />

made all the climbs – and I have to as I can’t<br />

reach the ground! It was very entertaining,<br />

the views of the mountains were incredible,<br />

then we had the fun of meeting the goats and<br />

sheep on the trail. Today and yesterday have<br />

been my favourite so far. I have really come to<br />

like the R 1250 GS a lot – I really love the grip<br />

from the tyres, I really love the bike. I think<br />

the response from it when riding is huge, just<br />

perfect. So now I want one! I have a G 650 at<br />

home but having ridden this bike I now need

Day Six<br />

The long road home.<br />

The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy<br />

2022 has returned to its base camp here on the<br />

coast of the Adriatic at Kavaje. It was a long<br />

ride back, 250km in total with only 100km on<br />

the road, and in sweltering 35º heat and high<br />

humidity it was certainly a case of riding the<br />

hard yards.<br />

After a night on the beach at Himare, the GS<br />

riders were straight back onto the mountain<br />

trails this morning, riding the now familiar rocky<br />

mountain tracks, skittering around on the loose<br />

stone, avoiding the washouts, searching for the<br />

safe line up and down the slopes.<br />

Half an hour into the ride they came to a small<br />

plateau where their first special test awaited:<br />

the BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide Com U1<br />

Challenge. In this test, one rider is effectively<br />

blindfolded, by wearing blacked-out goggles,<br />

and is then guided by their teammate(s)<br />

around a course of cones by way of instructions<br />

through their BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide<br />

sets. The instructing teammates meanwhile have<br />

to keep riding, not putting their feet down, while<br />

they instruct. In all, a tricky test of teamwork and<br />

one that led to some crazy moments as well as<br />

some solid executions.<br />

From here, the riders took to a mix of roads<br />

and trails to the lunch stop – and setting for the<br />

second special test. And what a location, high<br />

up in the hills, Amantia’s Stadium dates back<br />

to the third century BC. Created from carved<br />

rock slabs, this is a stadium where the ancient<br />

Greeks, and later Romans, enjoyed various<br />

forms of athletics. For the GS Trophy this was<br />

appropriately enough the setting for a form<br />

of tug of war – where GS Trophy teams had to<br />

run the length of the stadium then pull, with a<br />

rope, an INEOS Grenadier back to the start line!<br />

Weighing 3.5 tonnes this was tough enough<br />

a challenge for the male teams, even tougher<br />

for the females, yet amazingly managed by all.<br />

Herculean efforts, for sure.

In the competition, things couldn’t be closer.<br />

Team South Africa are now in the lead of<br />

the male teams’ points standing – not joint<br />

lead, as yesterday – but only by a four-point<br />

advantage over Team UK. Teams Germany,<br />

China 2020 and USA are also still in with a<br />

chance of victory, and with double points<br />

on offer in the final special test tomorrow<br />

the win could go any way. Likewise in the<br />

female teams’ competition it’s very close<br />

between the top three. Team South Africa has<br />

for the first time taken the lead, but by just<br />

the solitary point over Team Germany, while<br />

Mexico are just 12 points adrift. So, a big day<br />

in the offing.<br />

Chi Fung Lai, Team China 2020: “Today was a<br />

long, long day. We really enjoyed the first test.<br />

We had practiced this before the event, just<br />

by closing our eyes, but up on the mountain<br />

doing it for real – I was the one wearing the<br />

blackout goggles – it was quite different, very<br />

confusing. But we enjoyed it, and we think we<br />

did well. In the second test we struggled to<br />

get the car moving as we are not that big, but<br />

once we got it moving it went well, so we’re<br />

hoping for a middle of the pack result there.<br />

The GS Trophy has been a great experience<br />

for us. We missed out on riding in New<br />

Zealand back in 2020, but this edition has<br />

been so enjoyable, and we’re told the riding<br />

has been much more technical, tougher. And<br />

we like that, it helps us improve as we like to<br />

challenge ourselves.”<br />

Sara Sanchez, Female Team Latin America:<br />

“Today was long, but it’s always great to be<br />

riding with friends, with the great people from<br />

other countries. We were riding today with<br />

Team France and our marshal was Aloisio<br />

from Brazil – it was awesome! We had a very<br />

good rhythm to the ride. The toughest part<br />

of the day was pulling the Grenadier, but we<br />

think it went well for us. And it was so good,<br />

we pulled a three-tonne car – something we<br />

never thought we could do! This is what the<br />

GS Trophy is about.”<br />

From here began the long ride back to<br />

base camp. While now out of the Pindus<br />

mountains, there was still no shortage of hill<br />

country and ancient routes to ride, some<br />

rocky, some sandy and grassed, and some<br />

rock paved, again dating back to the Roman<br />

Empire and probably earlier. All of it made<br />

tougher as the temperature soared and the<br />

humidity stifled.<br />

The GS riders had one last treat in store<br />

today. Shortly before reaching the base<br />

camp the route took them through the 42<br />

sq.km Karavasta Lagoon, one of the largest<br />

saltwater lagoons on the Mediterranean.<br />

Contained by a long strip of sand, the lagoon<br />

– part of a larger national park – is unique in<br />

its ecology. On this occasion, the riders got<br />

to see the magnificent pelicans that inhabit<br />

the shallow waters, although flamingoes are<br />

also said to be found here. However, maybe<br />

of equal interest to the riders were the sand<br />

tracks that ran through the park, between the<br />

various lagoons and then into the adjoining<br />

pine forest. These offered an almost smooth<br />

off-road ride, especially where the pine<br />

needles carpeted the track, and were much<br />

welcomed after six days riding rocks!<br />

So, finally, after 10 hours riding, and after<br />

6pm in the evening, with the sun setting over<br />

the Adriatic, the riders reached base camp.<br />

Weary for sure, but content after a full day<br />

of experiences – and surprisingly still with<br />

energy enough for a spirited dinner and<br />

celebration of the day’s competition.

Day Seven<br />

South Africa win the BMW Motorrad<br />

International GS Trophy 2022.<br />

The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy<br />

2022 Southeast Europe, the eighth edition,<br />

has concluded with a spectacular day’s riding<br />

in the hills and on the beach near Kavaje.<br />

After 1230km of hard adventure riding, and<br />

15 special tests we have our winners, and it’s<br />

Team South Africa who has done a double<br />

– winning both the male and female team<br />

competitions.<br />

Today’s course was the shortest of the event,<br />

but arguably the sweetest. Sportive Directors<br />

Chris Zimmermann and Tom Weinmayr put<br />

together a highly technical loop using some<br />

of the best trails in the locality. Designed to<br />

give the GS riders one last test of their trail<br />

skills, it included a succession of fantastic hill<br />

climbs and descents on tracks that challenged<br />

the riders with a labyrinth of super-deep rain<br />

channels, ruts, steps and cambers. Between<br />

the hills came a succession of river crossings.<br />

The water level might have been low, but<br />

the banks and rocky riverbeds were still a<br />

challenge. Highly technical and hard work,<br />

in all instances you had to select your line<br />

and commit, again and again. And if you<br />

made a mistake, then it was just as well the<br />

temperature was a good eight degrees lower<br />

than yesterday, and the humidity a little more<br />

bearable, for the recovery was never easy.<br />

It was terrific riding, great fun, and again<br />

revealing of just how strong an all-rounder the<br />

BMW R 1250 GS is – and how dependable,<br />

there’s nothing, it seems, that it can’t do!<br />

Once back at base camp it was time to<br />

prepare for the afternoon’s super test – the<br />

final throw of the dice in this year’s GS Trophy.<br />

Running along the length of the beach this<br />

was a fully taped course that was part enduro,<br />

part trial. The riders started from the bike<br />

compound and initially had to fight their way<br />

through a series of zig-zags between the<br />

trees on the shoreline – in deep sand. Then<br />

followed a blast up and down the beach itself,<br />

first on the sand, then over sea-weathered<br />

rocks where the waterline had narrowed the<br />

course to barely a bike width. Super-tricky,<br />

and as a few riders found, one mistake here<br />

and you were in the water – fortunately not<br />

more than knee deep! The test concluded<br />

with a super-tight ‘garage’ section under a<br />

pergola where the riders needed to execute<br />

repeated full lock turns on sand and over<br />

more rocks, before hopping down onto the<br />

beach again for another blast in the deep<br />

sand before returning to the bike compound.<br />

That’s a long description, but often so was<br />

the time taken by the teams as the sand and<br />

rocks conspired to trip the riders at every<br />

opportunity. The women teams rode the<br />

super test first and possibly had the harder<br />

time of it as they wore-in the lines. The<br />

heat and humidity on the beach were high,<br />

too – it was double-hard going, yet all the<br />

female teams completed the course. Here,<br />

the surprise of the day, for the onlookers,

was when Team South Africa’s diminutive<br />

Christelle Van Der Meulen having buried<br />

her R 1250 GS in a deep rut somehow<br />

singlehandedly lifted the rear wheel clean out<br />

unaided – that’s a good 200 kilos! Clearly, it’s<br />

not just the South African males that have<br />

superhuman strength!<br />

Christelle’s effort proved pivotal as the South<br />

African’s made the best run of the female<br />

teams, ahead of Germany and Latin America.<br />

In the male teams, front-runners Team South<br />

Africa put in a solid, conservative ride to place<br />

third, leaving the door open for Latin America<br />

to take the full haul of double points, ahead<br />

of Mexico. Significantly, South Africa’s nearest<br />

challengers, Teams UK and Germany placed<br />

fourth and fifth respectively.<br />

Today was also the day the results came in for<br />

the photo and video challenges. During the<br />

week, the teams were challenged to submit<br />

their most creative photo and one-minute<br />

video based on their week of adventure.<br />

These were voted on both by the public and<br />

the teams themselves. Team Japan revealed<br />

a creative streak exceeding all others in the<br />

male competition, while Team Germany had<br />

the run on the female competitors.<br />

When the scores were tallied up, for the<br />

fourth consecutive GS Trophy it was Team<br />

South Africa on top. In the male competition,<br />

they had made a steady start to the week’s<br />

competition but got stronger as the week<br />

went on. Physically and mentally strong,<br />

and so well-practiced both individually<br />

and as a team, it’s clear that if any other<br />

nation wants to get a taste of GS Trophy<br />

victory, then they’ll have to significantly up<br />

their preparation. Team UK came closest to<br />

unsettling the South Africans but readily and<br />

respectfully conceded they’d been beaten by<br />

the better team. Team Germany took a wellearned<br />

third place.<br />

The female teams competition couldn’t<br />

have finished any closer, just the one point<br />

separating Team South Africa from runnerup<br />

Germany. With teams receiving points<br />

deductions for bike damages such as broken<br />

indicators and lever replacements, both teams<br />

had been nervously adding up their gains<br />

and losses, but it fell to South Africa to win<br />

the first female GS Trophy competition and<br />

secure the double.<br />

Warren Venter, Team South Africa: “This<br />

is amazing, we didn’t expect this, last night<br />

we were doing the numbers and we knew it<br />

wasn’t a certain thing. It came down to the<br />

last challenge. So we are really stoked. And<br />

to take the fourth win is great, there was that<br />

pressure not to be ‘that’ team – the one’s who<br />

didn’t win – but we said to ourselves we’ll<br />

do the best we can and whatever comes up,<br />

comes up. Also, we want to thank everyone<br />

who’s supported us back at home, they really<br />

help make this happen.”<br />

Hanneli Zondagh, Female Team South<br />

Africa: “It’s unbelievable. We were only<br />

leading Germany by one point yesterday and<br />

we didn’t have the best last stage so until the<br />

result was announced we didn’t know which<br />

way it had gone, but somehow we still kept<br />

that one point advantage, I feel truly blessed.<br />

It just shows what teamwork can do if you just<br />

don’t give up. It’s been a great competition,<br />

we’ve really enjoyed our times with the other<br />

female teams, they’ve been incredible, and so<br />

much fun. And what a great thing to do; once<br />

women have been exposed to this great sport<br />

and pastime of adventure motorcycling they<br />

see how fantastic it is, how liberating, that you<br />

ride, you see the world, you meet new people,<br />

see different places, even in your own country.<br />

It’s a wonderful thing.”

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