For the first time in its history, the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy will take place in the northern hemisphere and rumours are swirling that the event will land in Nelson and the surrounding area.
While that has yet to be confirmed, it is known that the 2014 motorcycle challenge will begin in Calgary and circle into the Kootenay, before ending back in Calgary.
The rest of the route is secret.
The GS Trophy is an endurance competition where riders are not asked to race, as much as perform challenges with their bikes, It combines riding skills with endurance, mechanical knowledge and more.
This year, in September, 16 teams composed of participants from at least 18 nations are set to rendezvous in Canada to compete in this friendly competition dedicated to the famous GS spirit.
So far, teams from Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Austria/Switzerland, CEEU (Central Eastern Europe), USA, Mexico, Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Korea will join host nation Canada.
Nelson’s Patrick Horan represented Canada in the GS Trophy in 2010 in South Africa. At the conclusion of that event, Horan thought Canada was the perfect location to hold the competition and began a campaign to bring it to BC.
“I said we as Canadians can do this event and I thought we could do it very well,” explained Horan.
BC has the natural terrain for some of the skills competitions and Horan told organizers to check it out for themselves.
But he didn’t do it alone.
“I’m just the point man. There are three of us that were involved in trying to get this together.”
Organizers of the event came out for a scouting mission and Horan took them on a tour of Southern BC. He knew Canada was in the running, but so was the US and Mongolia.
The natural landscape seems to have impressed organizers as Canada was selected as the site, specifically BC and Alberta.
Horan said he was confident the trails and beauty of the area would entice organizers, after all he’s ridden here his whole life.
When Horan was young, he used to dirt bike up the hills at Six Mile. He has had a life long love affair with motorcycles having competed internationally. He even owned a motorcycle shop, Four Seasons Equipment, in Nelson.
“When I first started riding up in these hills, that was a huge event in my life. I started to discover new valleys and things. I remember thinking, everybody should do this. It is so surreal to be out and seeing these mountaintops,” he explained.
Now he has helped bring the world to “share my playground.”
“If it does stop in Nelson, it would be great,” he said.
Whether Nelson ends up being part of the route remains to be seen. However, last month, two representatives from Germany were in Nelson to both scout locations and to meet with representatives from the local tourism industry.
Tom Thomson of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, along with Dianne Ducs of Nelson/Kootenay Lake Tourism were part of the meeting. One of the topics was whether Nelson could host a public event as part of the GS Trophy. Lakeside Park was also discussed as a good location.
“Let’s come up with a good idea for them and do an event that we could have participation from the public to watch. A lot of these events take place off road, so we need to come up with something a little more public,” explained Thomson.
While the route may not become public until the end of May, Thomson said having the event in the Kootenay is a huge deal.
“It’s an international event and when you have 16 or 17 different countries coming over to Canada, specifically the West Kootenay region, I think it’s great for international exposure.”