2009 BMW GS Safari Tasmania
The 2009 BMW GS Safari was held in Tasmania.
“Motorcycle Heaven’ is a perfect description for Australia’s most southern state – Tasmania – and more than 180 GS riders were recently treated to fantastic conditions and ideal terrain for five days of riding on the 2009 BMW GS Safari.
BMW Motorrad Australia’s Safari programme is one of the longest established customer events, having played host to several thousand BMW riders and their partners since its inception in 1994.
In 2005 BMW Motorrad expanded the BMW Safari programme by introducing a special off-road event solely for GS riders. The 2009 venue for the GS Safari was the spectacular island of Tasmania, with routes, scenery and the choice of riding routes arguably among the best in the world.
Open to all those with a GS or a G Series BMW motorcycle, the safari ran from 29 March to 4 April and covered 1,700 km of Tasmanian terrain. With the F1 race raging only a short distance away, riders from all over Australia congregated at Port Melbourne for the ferry trip to Devonport.
Some had ridden from as far away as Perth (3,500 kilometres) and Northern Queensland (3,000 kilometres) and were well warmed up for the journey ahead. After a night on the water spent crossing the Bass Strait, it was only a short transport along the northwest coast before heading into the rugged Tasmanian wilderness and some of the best riding that can be experienced anywhere in the world.
An incredible variety of terrain entertained and challenged the eager group who were aged from just 18 to over 60 years young. Among the group, there were around 80 newcomers experiencing their first GS Safari, so after the first day there were some big smiles as well as plenty of tired bodies. Many of the newcomers were a new younger generation of GS owners, showing how the BMW Motorrad appeal is broadening as the model range becomes ever more comprehensive.
Overnight stops included the picturesque west coast village of Stahan as well as the cities of Hobart and Launceston. As usual, there were some interesting characters on the Safari.
Graham O’Connell had one of his close friends join him for the trip – quite literally. His good friend (also a GS owner) had sadly passed away recently, so Graham did the right thing and rode his friend’s bike, complete with his friend’s ashes in the handlebars. Another participant showed up with a pair of crutches strapped to the back of his GS Adventure, insisting that a mere broken foot wasn’t going to stop him joining in the fun! And then there was Sally, on her third GS Safari, and desperate to make it to the end without any Safari-ending incidents, as in the past. Fortunately for her, she made it home safely too!
The Safari concluded on Friday 3 April, allowing for the option of a ‘lazy’ day on the Saturday. However, true to GS owner characteristics, many riders made sure they made the most of their time and did some extra exploring on the ‘Island of Inspiration’ before riding back onto the famous Spirit of Tasmania ferry for the return trip to Melbourne. All in all, it was a ‘devil’ of a week for the GS Riders in Tasmania.