Once every two years, BMW opens applications around the world for BMW owners to prove their motorcycle skills in an exclusive competition called the GS Trophy.
This year, it’ll include Marion resident Matt Kelley, who won the two-day BMW GS Trophy Western Regional Qualifier event held Oct. 6-7, 2017 at RawHyde Adventures in Arcadia, California. He’ll join teammates Tom Thompson and David Vaughan in Mongolia in 2018 to represent the United States GS Trophy Team.
The GS refers to the German words gelände/straße, meaning off-road/road. GS Trophy isn’t a race, but rather a competition of finesse, maneuverability and technique in riding a BMW motorcycle off-road. The multi-day event will consist of intense daily challenges which require high-level skill and teamwork. Yet very little is told beforehand about the course or challenges that await the various teams.
“While most people think BMW motorcycles are just for cruising, these bikes also excel off-road,” Kelley said. “They offer a phenomenal motor along with a great suspension. They are most definitely made for off-road, too.”
Kelley rode his first motorcycle when he was five years old and since has ridden almost every size and brand of motorcycle. He has done motocross, super moto road races and competed in the Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Championship five times. But nothing has taken him as far as Mongolia.
The GS Trophy competition will be held June 3-10, 2018. Until then, Kelley is looking to improve his strength and stamina, as well as riding as much as the Ohio winter weather will allow.
Kelley attributes his success to several key factors.
“I’ve been riding bikes forever and have been building, fixing and learning things as a Maintenance Mechanic for Luvata Ohio for nearly 20 years,” he said. “But, I couldn’t do this without the support of my wife, family and friends. All of these things combined have given me this opportunity to represent Team USA at the BMW GS Trophy 2018.”