From RR to GS.

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s charity tour of Australia’s bushfire-affected regions.

After the WorldSBK season-opener on Phillip Island, Tom Sykes, Eugene Laverty, Marc Bongers and Shaun Muir visited areas affected by the devastating Australian bushfires. After swapping their RR's to the mighty GS, they had a number of inspiring encounters with Australian firefighters and victims on their journey supporting the charity activities by BMW Australia in aid of relief and conservation organisations.

One day after the first race weekend of the season at Phillip Island (AUS), the members of the BMW Motorrad World SBK Team assembled again at the circuit. This time, however, they did not mount the BMW S 1000 RR, but instead BMW GS motorcycles - headed off through the areas affected by the recent bush fires for three days.
 
The tour was organised by BMW Group Australia as part of its extensive bushfire relief efforts. For months, Australia was afflicted by devastating bushfires, as a result of which countless people lost their homes, while the fauna and flora suffered massive damage. The initiatives by BMW Group Australia included the donation of 600,000 AUD to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery appeal – which supports evacuation centres and recovery hubs - and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the most influential independent conservation organisation in the world.
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Journey Recap

RR to GS - Phillip Island to Canberra.

RR to GS - Phillip Island to Canberra.

The tour started from Phillip Island and led the riders 1,200 kilometres through the southeast of Australia to the capital Canberra. Significantly, the route incorporated sections of the iconic GS Safari, in which BMW Group Australia has played a key role for several years with both a charity focus and provision of heightened experiences for BMW customers.

Sykes, Laverty, Bongers and Muir assembled at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, where they met up with fellow riders who would be joining them on the tour. They included BMW Group Australia instructors, like Glenn Allerton (AUS), who rides an RR in the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).
  

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Meeting the firefighters of Swifts Creek.

The visit to the firefighters in the small community of Swifts Creek, with a population of just 250, was particularly emotional. The firefighters demonstrated their equipment, including how a fire engine’s protective mechanism works when surrounded by an inferno.

Laverty and Sykes tried on the jackets and helmets, which the firefighters had worn whilst battling the bush fires in the previous months. The firefighters and residents discussed at length how they experienced the catastrophe – and why, despite the sheer adversity, they refuse to give up and always move forward.
 

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Never give up and always look forward.

The charity tour reached its destination in Canberra on Wednesday evening. After 1,200 kilometres of cross-country riding, everyone was rather exhausted but deeply moved by what they had seen and experienced.

“The people were genuinely pleased that we had visited them. And it was a pleasure for us to be able to give them that joy. The Australians’ spirit, which you could feel in all our meetings with the residents, was particularly inspirational: Never give up, fight to the last, and always look forward. That is something we have all taken from this experience" said Laverty.
 
BMW Group Australia has plans in place to continue raising funds for bushfire victims including the auctioning of the BMW GS helmets worn by Sykes and Laverty during the tour for charity.

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“The images of the bush fires were all over the media. However, you can only truly grasp the size and the impact when you are actually there.” ’

Marc Bongers

BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director

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