2008 BMW GS Safari
More than 160 BMW GS customers took to the back roads of the NSW and Victorian High Country for the 2008 BMW Safari in the first week of the Australian autumn.
More than 160 BMW GS customers took to the back roads of the NSW and Victorian High Country for the 2008 BMW Safari in the first week of the Australian autumn, revelling in mid-summer like conditions. A huge variety of BMW Adventure bikes were in attendance, the majority of them current or recent models and all of them handled the tricky conditions with ease.
The most popular BMW motorcycle in Australia was also the most populous on the Safari, an event seemingly perfect for the now legendary R 1200 GS. Yet riders aboard the F 650 GS and Dakar models, as well as the hardier souls on the G 650 Xchallenge, also enjoyed the best of the tortuous and twisty sections. The roads ranged from flat smooth-as-bitumen hard-packed dirt, to gravel and some rocky sections that would have had mountain goats shying away. A particularly steep hilly section provided a few riders with pause for thought, though all made it successfully to the top ,the alternative of not riding back down being the lesser of two evils.
On day 3, the McDonalds Spur decent was an option for experienced riders only. A number of hearty souls attempted the treacherous trail. The BMW Safari traversed some of the worst affected bushfire ravaged areas of Victoria. The effects of the 2007 fires were still plain to see with acres of blackened stumps dominating the hillsides for miles around, while in other areas some clearing had been taking place rendering a barren and desolate moonscape quite unlike that seen anywhere else in Victoria.
The 2008 BMW Safari kicked off with an animated welcome dinner in Jindabyne, bathed in late summer sunshine. The first mornings warm up ride was a trek along the famed and feared Barry Way with its narrow mountainous route and precipitous drop-offs. There were no Euro-style protective Armco barriers on this road! Stopping off at the encampment and refuelling point at Seldom Seen, the locals regaled riders with stories of how the recent bushfires claimed the permanent structures on this scenic mountain top location.
Picturesque Buchan provided a welcome lunch break on the first day, before the engaging sweep down to Lake’s Entrance for the overnight stop. The following four days offered up similar levels of majestic mountain scenery, testing surfaces and narrow routes occasionally interrupted by unfriendly logging trucks. The welcome in the towns of Buchan, Licola, Jamison, Mansfield, Cheshunt, Myrtleford, Bright, Mitta Mitta and Falls Creek was warm and friendly, and the business appreciated, given the scarring imposed by the fires, and in some cases flood and mudslides in recent times, which had scared off tourists.
After an invigorating 2,000 km of high adventure riding, all attendees returned home with a giant swag of happy memories of the High Country, its amazing roads and its friendly inhabitants, and all keen to return in the future. As in previous years, BMW Safari organisers planned an excellent route, and provided fault-free advice on local accommodation and eateries. BMW Safari riders were assisted on route by a crack BMW Motorrad technical team and Ron Turton’s tyre tech experts.
The next BMW Safari is the TS Safari (on road) which will run from Sunday 17 August to Saturday 23 August 2008, and will be based in northern Queensland. It will cover 2,800 km in five riding days. “The 2008 BMW GS Safari was a tremendous success,” says BMW Motorrad Australia and New Zealand Marketing Manager, Miles Davis.
“We rode on some awesome roads, along some testing tracks and through some beautiful countryside. Riders across the world should be incredibly jealous of the fantastic opportunities we have in Australia. Of course the BMW GS range was perfectly suited to the tasks set each day and all riders enjoyed the experience and learned from the event, not only how competent their bikes are but also how much more they can get out of them than from everyday riding. With the BMW GS family set to increase with two more new models, the eagerly awaited F 650 GS and F 800 GS, the next BMW GS Safari will be even bigger and better.”
For further information, and to check out the pictures from the 2008 GS Safari, see the website www.BMWSafari.com