Bike Rider Magazine

World Record Globetrotters

Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT carries couple to Guinness World Record

Ollie Gamblin and Lavi Scholl have set a new Guinness world record, becoming the youngest pair to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle, two-up. On a V-Strom 1050XT, they visited 39 countries on five continents and covered 46,705 miles in 589 days. Now 33 and 35, the duo were 32 and 34 upon completion of their adventure, with the record their average age of 33 years and 247 days.

Setting off from the Ace Cafe in London on a V-Strom 1050XT donated by their local dealership, Motorcycle World, Ollie, from Northampton, took the ‘bars with Lavi, from Hanover, Germany, riding pillion. The pair first headed into France, before pointing south and crossing into Spain. 

From there they left the continent of Europe behind and arrived in Morocco, Africa. Sticking to the west coast they travelled down through Mauritania to Senegal, where the V-Strom was loaded into a container and shipped to Brazil to begin the South American leg of the journey. 

After landing in Brazil they travelled further south still, to the very bottom of Argentina to reach the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, on the island of Tierra del Fuego, before returning north and up through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. With eight countries ticked off in South America, Lavi and Ollie flew their V-Strom 1050XT over the Darien Gap and into Panama, and entered North America. They’d continue north, all the way to Canada, before airfreighting the bike to Seoul, South Korea, though not before tying the knot in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the US.

Now married, the couple took boat ride to Vladivostok, Russia, and the duo continued west through Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kygyzstan, eventually crossing the Caspian Sea into Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and across the Bosphorus, back into Europe. Nine more countries were chalked off, with Belgium being 39th and last unique nation crossed, before Lavi and Ollie returned to France and finally the UK, completing their journey, 20 months after their departure on the trip of a lifetime. 

Lavi said of the planning for the trip, “The idea for a Guinness World Record came after a friend of ours attempted to become the Youngest Male to Circumnavigate the Globe by Motorcycle, an already established record. We sent an email asking if we could create a team record under the same criteria. They accepted it under the title Youngest Pair to Circumnavigate the Globe by Motorcycle (Riding Pillion).

“We had the freedom to plan our own route, as long as Guinness’ circumnavigation boxes were ticked. So the route was mostly planned using non-carnet countries and countries with easier visas.

“But, honestly, we didn’t really think we would make it all the way around the world when we started. The aim was just to get as far as possible but we always imagined there would be something to stop us, a visa or shipping issue, something like that. Our mindset was just, as long as we can continue we will, and that just so happened to be all the way until the end.”

Of the miles covered and countries visited, Ollie commented, “We saw a lot of places, a lot of people, and had a lot of experiences. If I had to pick one country that stood out, Mongolia really surprised us. The landscapes are vast and incredible and there are herds of animals just running around everywhere and locals living in gers. It was absolutely beautiful. Another highlight was seeing wild orca hunt for penguins on the remote Argentinian coast. It was like a scene out of a documentary right in front of our eyes.”

While the trip was a success and the record was achieved, it was not without its challenges and low points. 

Ollie reflected, “We had to wait in Rio de Janeiro for eight weeks because the bike was lost for a while whilst being shipped from Senegal. And we certainly toppled off many times! I didn’t have a great deal of riding experience before we set off, especially on big bikes, so it was a real learning curve and a pretty steep one. Especially two-up with all of our luggage. We also had a few hairy weather situations in places like the high altitude mountains of the Andes where the passes took us up to nearly 5000m. 

“But, throughout all of it, the V-Strom was absolutely solid. Its reliability was its main virtue. Considering the terrain it tackled, how long it went between services, it was pretty much unbreakable. Over nearly 47,000 miles we only had minor issues with some bearings finally giving up in hostile conditions and the rear shock took a bit of abuse and needed replacing. But I think that’s absolutely incredible given everything it went through.”

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