20 Years of BMW Safari Celebrated in Style
Not many events stand the test of time like the Australian BMW Safari has. Since 1994, thousands of riders have joined in the fun and celebrated riding their BMW motorcycles all over Australia. This year three major events were held to celebrate this impressive milestone.
The GS Safari Enduro kicked off proceedings in July. It was an ambitious adventure, taking 85 riders from Darwin to Palm Cove through croc country, under the Gulf, through rivers, sand and fast open country to the coast.
Then in November the TS Safari (road) and GS Safari (off road) ran back to back, with a huge party on the Saturday night in between so both groups could get together and celebrate 20 years of BMW Safari in style.
All up there were 435 participants in 2014, including a few dedicated souls who rode all three events! Riders came from Russia, New Caledonia, Dubai, Denmark and New Zealand. The mix of riders is quite astonishing with barristers, plumbers, pilots and truck drivers all taking part. Some riders are in their 80’s, others in their 20’s. There are fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives and all with a shared passion for riding and their BMWs.
July’s GS Safari Enduro route covered some of the iconic areas of the top end, like Adels Grove, Karumba and Cooktown. There were also some hidden gems, like Lorella Springs, a million acre wilderness retreat with 20km of gulf coast and Hells Gate Roadhouse, a remote refuge just on the Qld side of the NT border.
Butterfly Springs, an amazing swimming hole with cliffs and waterfalls, and the Lost City rock formations that seem like they are from outer space. Riders were provided with their own BMW Safari swags and mixed between camping and hotels.
The weather was kind and the many water crossings were not too deep, some of them were long and the local crocs were not too far away. The geography is very unique, not barren like some of the continent’s interior, including many incredible natural springs that seem to be plonked in the middle of the desert. Some of the sandy tracks took their toll on riders and bikes, but everyone helped each other out and had a ball.
Tasmania was the obvious choice for the combined TS and GS Safari event in November, with the best on and off road riding in Australia and a very motorcycle friendly culture made it the ultimate. Firstly, the TS group boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and headed to the east coast town of St Helens where the event kicked off.
Over the next five days they traversed the state twice, finding the best roads and stopping to check out the best sights. With only one day of bad weather and some perfect sunny days the group was more than satisfied when they rolled into Launceston.
At the same time, over 240 GS riders were making their way into town for the following week’s GS Safari.
But first there was a big celebration at Launceston’s Albert Hall with a total of 350 Safari faithful. Albert Hall was the perfect location, obviously steeped in tradition itself. The atmosphere was amazing, with classic and modern bikes on display, the food was great and much wine was consumed. Stephen Marshall, who worked on the first event and went on to run BMW Safari for 13 years told some stories, as did Steve Adcock, who was with BMW Motorrad for over 30 years. Ian Anderson, the most loyal Safari-ista, who has been on every TS Safari since 1994, shared some great memories also.
After the big event it was time for the TS Safari participants to head home, while the sizeable GS Safari group made final adjustments before embarking their five day Tasmanian odyssey. A group of 55 riders were signed up for the pre Safari Off-Road Training Course where six instructors were on hand to run the group through all of the necessary skills. First stop was the incredible Cradle Mountain National Park. Riders arrived in high winds and low temperatures and proceeded to set up their swags and gather in the camp kitchen for some large-scale gourmet catering (there were 265 mouths to feed!). Over the next four days the riders ventured to some of Tasmania’s classic destinations on some incredible tracks, trails and roads including Hobart, Gordon Dam, Freycinet National Park, St Helens, before returning to Launceston.
BMW Australia’s Motorrad Marketing Manager Miles Davis said, “It has been an amazing year, the three Safari events have been a total success and a fitting tribute to an impressive 20 year history of BMW Safari. The events are very special, many lifelong friendships have been created, people’s love of riding has been strengthened and many incredible rides have taken place. We are very proud of this history and look forward to the next 20 years.”
Information on 2015 BMW Safari Events will be released very soon; to be kept up to date you can register at bmwsafari.com to receive BMW Safari-only information.
Alternatively, sign up for the BMW Motorrad Newsletter to receive all BMW Motorrad news, including the Safari at rider.bmwmotorrad.com.au