Tag Archives: Motorcycle rally

Vigil for returned servicemen and women

The announcement this week of an Australia Royal Commission into veteran and serving defence member suicides has prompted organisers of a motorcycle rally to amend their plans.

The planned rally on Saturday, 24 April at 11am on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne will now become a vigil to “show respect to those veterans who have taken their lives and the family and friends affected”.

Motorcycle riders have had a long association with the defence forces in many countries. In fact, it was returned servicemen fromWorld War II who sought adrenalin and started many motorcycle clubs which are still going strong today.

Many returned servicemen find the camaraderie, adrenalin and mindfulness of riding to be helpful in handling post traumatic stress disorder.

Hundreds of riders are expected to attend the Melbourne vigil organised by the Veterans MC Victoria Chapter.

Organisers say riders need to show the Federal Government that now that the Royal Commission is called they will be making sure “every stage is done properly including the follow-up of the terms of reference, recommendations followed up”.

It will begin with a free ride from the BP at the Southbound Service Centre in Scoresby from 9am on Saturday. All riders and supporters are invited to attend

Rider will head to the Shrine of Remembrance before leaving at 10.30am for Parliament House.

Veterans MC Victoria Chapter
(All images from Veterans MC Victoria Chapter Facebook page)

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Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Tamworth Thunder Rally rescheduled

Australia’s country music capital, Tamworth, will host the inaugural National Thunder Motorcycle Rally in October 2021 based on the successful 2015 National HOG Rally, but open to all “breeds” of motorcycle.

The rally was planned for last year, but was postponed because of the pandemic lockdown.

Now, the rally is back on and registrations are open for the event held across the October long weekend from Friday 1 to Monday 4 October.

The rally will include bikes, music, food and entertainment and is open to individual riders, club members and organised groups representing all motorcycle manufacturer brands, says Barry Harley, National Thunder Event Manager.

“We’re really excited for Tamworth to provide the opportunity for riders to get back on their bikes and onto the road after a difficult year,” he says.

The event will feature live music on the Thunder Stage reliving the sights and sounds of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, a National Thunder Horse Spectacular, trade sites, food stalls and licensed bars.

National HOG rally to return in 2019
2015 Tamworth HOG rally horse spectacular

A motorbike parade through the streets and surrounds called the National Thunder Rally Run will close out the event.

“Regardless of what club or brand you’re aligned with, National Thunder is about getting back out there with mates, sharing the passion of the motorcycle community and putting on a great show,” Barry says.

“To add to the excitement of our inaugural event, we’re thrilled to announce that the New South Wales Harley Davidson Owners Group (HOG) have indicated that they intend to hold their State Rally in conjunction with the National Thunder Rally.”

HOG Regional Director (NSW/ACT) Ken McDonald says the merger had been considered for some time.

“Harley Davidson enthusiasts and HOG Chapters are set to flock to Tamworth from all corners of the State to take part in one of the most anticipated events of our riding calendar. Riders will enjoy a phenomenal line-up of entertainment, Chapter challenges and guided rides,” Ken says.

Riders will again take over the Australian Equestrian and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) which was the successful venue for the 2015 national HOG rally.

HOG members enjoying Tamworth's tourist facilities
2015 HOG Rally in Tamworth

“Its sheer size means it’s the perfect space to offer up unforgettable entertainment whilst ensuring there’s plenty of room for patrons on-site as they move between scheduled offerings,” Ken says.

“Our HOG members had a blast in 2015 and we can’t wait to come back to AELEC for another memorable rally.” 

There will also be guided rides throughout the Tamworth region including Nundle, Bendemeer, Barraba and Manilla.

Registration is now open at $149, and includes rally merchandise, access to all rides and entertainment across the weekend, and an entry into the Rally Raffle supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW. 

Glamping and BYO camping options are available on-site.

Event organisers are planning for a COVID Safe event, and will continue to monitor State and Federal Government recommendations and regulations.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

BSA rally comes to Crows Nest

The 16th BSA National Rally will be held in the officially declared Motorcycle Friendly Town of Crows Nest in South East Queensland this weekend (15-18 October 2020).

Despite the COVID border closures, the BSA Owners Club of Queensland still expects more than 60 members to show off their bikes.

There are four BSA branches Australia wide in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland with national rallies held in turn. The last rally was held in SA with about 100 attendees.

The Queensland branch has been going for 17 years.

They are inviting motorcyclists to ride up the scenic Hampton Range on Saturday to see the free display of rare and expensive machinery at the rally headquarters in Crows Nest Tourist Park Qld from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.

The oldest bike is likely from around 1915.

They are also hoping to see a 1953 Super flash BSA on display, likely to be one of the most valuable. The rarest BSA could well be the Speedway BSA.

Various rides are also planned, such as trips to The Oakey Army Museum, McCoys Café, Crows Nest Museum  and the Crows Nest Soft Drink Factory.

A big rally dinner is being held on the Saturday night.

Crows Nest was named Queensland’s second Motorcycle Friendly Town in 2017 and has become a motorcyclist Mecca with several motorbike events to be held in the town over the next two weeks and into next year.

The town has since a good social media presence, substantial motorcycle parking in the centre of town and handy brochures, videos and online resources to encourage more riders to the area.

Riders also have a helpful online tour guide resource for the region north of Toowoomba.

The town is only 90 minutes’ ride from Brisbane and about 2-3 hours from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Highlights are fabulous roads, great scenery, bike friendly cafes, pubs, and accommodation.

For example, Crows Nest Tourist Park has 28 cabins and more than 150 powered and un-powered sites along with an onsite restaurant and café, The Curly Carrot.

The park is popular with motorcycle clubs as it has a club house catering for more than 150 people and a mini club house for 40.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Fallout from world’s biggest motorcycle rally

So what is the fallout from the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last week, the biggest mass gathering in the world since the pandemic was declared?

Organisers had predicted attendance would be about 250,000, down from an annual average of almost half a million.

However, official figures are 365,979 which is only about 7% down on the previous year. Fewer people aged 60-70 attended as this is the age group statistically most vulnerable to COVID-19.

It seems many riders chose to thumb their noses at the pandemic.

This is despite 63% of the town’s citizens voting not to hold the rally. It went ahead anyway after a gift wholesaler in nearby Rapid City threatened to sue the council.

The world’s media was there to record the event, leaving some scratching their heads and others cheering for freedom.

Rally falloutSturgis world's biggest motorcycle rally fallout

The fallout in infection rates and deaths is yet to come as the incubation period ranges from two to 14 days.

However, the damage to motorcycling’s image may already have been done.

One of the results of the rally in the small town of Sturgis is that many of the 7000 residents, especially the elderly, will now go into a 14-day lockdown.

This will put a strain on the town’s Meals on Wheels program, so a fund was set up to collect donations for the charity.

Robert Pandya, a motorcycle industry veteran and founder of the GiveAShift motorcycling lobby group that initiated the fund drive, says they had hoped to raise $US8000.

Instead, they raised $15,750 online and collected an additional $1408 in cash along Lazelle St during the rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

That’s a total of $17,158 from motorcyclists and motorcycle brands both attending and electing to skip the rally.

”This was wild and completely unexpected,” says Jamie Helms, manager of the Sturgis Meals on Wheels program. “Due to COVID-19 some of our donations coming in have slowed down in the past few months, this fundraiser from the motorcycle community will help so many here in Sturgis! I am overwhelmed by the generosity!”
USA America Sturgis Rushmore South Dakota rally crowd fallout
Riders in the Black Hills of South Dakota

While the number of infections and deaths from the spread of coronavirus is not known, we do know that there were 50 crashes reported over the 10 days of the rally.

That’s up from 41 last year.

There were four fatal crashes with five people sadly losing their lives.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rally fundraiser to aid Sturgis senior citizens

Riders are being asked to help raise $US8000 for Meals on Wheels to service senior citizens who will be advised to home quarantine after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

The world’s biggest motorcycle rally from, this weekend until next weekend (8-16 August 2020) will also be the biggest mass gathering since the pandemic was declared six months ago.

Robert Pandya, a motorcycle industry veteran and founder of the GiveAShift initiative that initiated the fund drive, says “motorcyclists are incredibly generous”.

The fund-raising project should go some of the way to dispelling the image of riders flouting social distancing and risking the spread of the coronavirus through the community and taking it back home when they return after the nine-day rally.

Organisers expect about 250,000 to attend the rally which is half the usual crowd.

Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen says they have increased cleaning schedules and cancelled many group activities. Following the rally, a mass Covid-19 testing program will be held.

Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the rally could cause a major virus spread.

“Come mid-August to late August, early September, Sturgis will have one hell of an imprint on this country,” he says.

Senior citizensUSA America Sturgis Rushmore South Dakota rally

Meanwhile, the Sturgis Meals on Wheels (SMoW) program has already been stretched thin by the pandemic increasing need and reducing resources, says manager Jamie Helms.

“With the uncertainty of the world right now, our seniors depend on us just so that they don’t have to worry about leaving their homes where they feel safe,” he says.

“With our ageing population taking the city advice to quarantine for a couple of weeks after the rally, we are a needed service now more than ever, but we will get it done as we always do.”

Cash donations will be accepted under the blue tent at 1230 Lazelle St between 2-5pm from today (8 August) until next Saturday.

Click here for the official GoFundMe page for those who chose not to attend the event.

“We respect any riders who choose not to come to the event due to Covid, but encourage them to ‘donate a tank’ to thank and help the local seniors who have seen the rally become the most famous of its kind in the world,” Robert says.

“Supporting the Sturgis Meals on Wheels program is a natural fit for any biker and will have a hugely positive impact for local senior citizens.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sturgis is biggest crowd since pandemic

Motorcycle riders are about to inherit a bad reputation around the world as hundreds of thousands crowd into the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this weekend.

As riders start to roll into the town, organisers predict attendance will be about 250,000, down from an annual average of almost half a million.

Yet it will still be the biggest crowd of people in the one place in the world since the pandemic was declared six months ago.

That will be a tremendous black mark against motorcyclists everywhere and already America and the world’s media is massing in the small town to record the spectacle.


The number of vendors is down from about 700-800 to 330 as some companies decide it is not worth risking the health of workers nor the associated bad image.

Harley-Davidson employees are forbidden to travel so they will not be there but will have a lot of signage at the event.

Meanwhile, Indian Motorcycle will be on hand offering demo rides.

The company vaguely claim they will do it “in a way that keeps them safe and makes sure we are keeping employees and the dealership employees safe when they are interacting”.

Crowd checks

USA America Sturgis Rushmore South Dakota rally crowd
Riders in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Town leaders say they will be handing out masks, advising social distancing and offering testing to the crowd but it is doubtful many of the freedom-loving riders will comply.

They say there is little likelihood of transmission in the outdoors event, although a lot of the activities do take place in close quarters and in clubs, hotels and inside venues.

Currently South Dakota is recording about 75 new cases a day and increasing.

In April, the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls became what was then the nation’s largest coronavirus hot spot when more than 600 staff contracted the virus.

So far, the state has recorded 9273 cases and 141 deaths with four in the past day.

Death projections for the state are 250 by December 1 as restrictions ease. That could be reduce to 180 if masks were made mandatory.

However, South Dakota is among several states that has not locked down nor made masks mandatory.

Those projections for deaths don’t take into account the Sturgis rally.

Nor do they show how the virus can be spread in other states and countries as rally goers head home, taking the infection with them.

As this becomes evident, the stigma that motorcyclists have spread the virus will taint riders everywhere.

Vote against rally

Of the 7000 Sturgis citizens, 63% voted not to hold the rally, but a gift wholesaler in nearby Rapid City threatened to sue the council.

Sturgis City Council member Terry Keszler says they should have postponed or cancelled the rally in March.

However, Doreen Allison Creed, Meade County commissioner who represents Sturgis, says the county lacked the authority to shut down the rally because much of it takes place on state-licensed campgrounds.

“We are either going to be a great success story or failure,” she says.

“I truly believe it could not have been stopped.”

The state’s Department of Tourism has estimated that the annual festival generates about $800 million in revenue.


Neighbouring Minnesota Department of Health commissioner Jan Malcolm called the decision to go ahead with the event “disappointing”.

Malcolm and other state public health leaders have warned that the rally could be a potential petri dish for spreading the virus here and across the nation.

Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the rally could cause a major virus spread.

“Come mid-August to late August, early September, Sturgis will have one hell of an imprint on this country,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

French close fest, USA rally still on

While a motorcycle festival in France has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s biggest motorcycle rally in the USA will go ahead next week despite almost 1000 Americans dying every day.

Wheels and Waves

Even a week ago, the Wheels & Waves event at the Biarritz Lighthouse in France, was a goer and Hedon helmets even launched a limited-edition Wheels & Waves 2020 open-face Hedonist helmet worth $A711.

Hedonist helmet
Hedon Wheels and Waves helmet

However, the festival which had already been postponed from June to 3-6 September 2020 has now been further postponed to June 2021 for their 10th event.

“The intensification of the situation has made it impossible for us to continue to prepare the ‘Hors Serie’ (out of series) edition as we imagined it at the beginning of June,” officials say.

“And even if we were to bring the project to fruition, where would the pleasure be in coming together without the spontaneity, coolness, craziness and freedom?

“What is the point in holding an event based on exchange and sharing at a time when everywhere we go, we have to keep our distance?”

In France, only a handful of deaths from coronavirus are recorded daily, with 184k confirmed cases, 81,311 recovered and 30,223 deaths so far.

Sturgis Motorcycle RallySturgis rally motorcycle rally usa

Main Street at the 2014 Sturgis rally

In the USA, about 1000 Americans die every day from the virus. There have been more than 4.4m cases in the USA and a total of more than 152,000 deaths so far.

Yet in the land of freedom and litigation, the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will go ahead from 7-16 August 2020.

This is despite 62% of the 7000 people who live in Sturgis, South Dakota, voting last month against holding the famous rally, the biggest tourist event in the state.

It seems that vote was overturned by threats of litigation from a gift wholesaler based in nearby Rapid City.

The rally has attracted about half a million people in recent years with a record of 2015 of 739,000.

Authorities still expect several hundred thousand to attend the rally.

That’s hundreds of thousands of people from all over the USA and perhaps from many other countries coming to the small rural town.

There they could spread or pick up the virus, then take it back to their home state or country.

Rally organisers and city officials say they will have various “modifications” for health reasons which you can hear about in this video from Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen.

The Black Hills Motorcycle Film Festival which was to be part of the rally will now be held online from 14-16 August for free! Click here for details.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle film festival goes online

If you want to look on the bright side of the current coronavirus pandemic, some motorcycle events are now being held online including the now-free Black Hills Motorcycle Film Festival.

So even though you may not be able to travel to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota — home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which is surprisingly still going ahead next month — you can still attend this festival.

The film festival is being put together by the Rev Sisters, a newly created partnership of three women motorcyclists who plan and manage motorcycle events.

Earlier this year they announced a series of motorcycle film festivals to be held across the United States.

The first festival, Santa Cruz Moto Film Festival, was cancelled earlier this year due to a ban on public events.

Free film festival

Public enemy number one motorcycles sturgis bandana
The beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota

The second festival in the 2020 series, the Black Hills Motorcycle Film Festival, will be held online from 14-16 August and Rev Sisters Co-Founder Michelle Lamphere says it’s free!

“At a time when motorcyclists may need an escape and a channel to reconnect with their moto community, Rev Sisters is offering tickets to this online event at no charge,” she says.

Attendees can watch videos at their own pace from the comfort of their own homes.

The curated collection of more than nine hours of films includes a variety of riding styles from around the world — flat track racing, round-the-world adventure travel, bike building, moto culture and more.

Each film is inspired and creative and will leave viewers yearning to get back out on the road. Winners for each category – ultra short, short and feature – will be announced during the festival.

A third event, the South Jersey Moto Film Festival, is scheduled to air online later this year. Each of these festivals is intended to be a live annual event in future years.

Tickets for the Black Hills Motorcycle Film Festival are available by clicking here.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Tamworth Thunder Rally postponed by virus

Just before the pandemic was officially declared in March, Australia’s country music capital, Tamworth, announced it would host a National Thunder Motorcycle Rally in October 2020.

It has now been postponed until October 2021.

Only a few hundred tickets were sold and all will be valid for next year unless customers want a refund, organisers say.

The rally will be based on the successful 2015 National HOG Rally, but open to all “breeds” of motorcycle.

It will now be held from Friday to Monday 1-4 October 2021 at the state-of-the-art Australian Equine & Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) which also hosted the 2015 HOG Rally.

Organisers expected to attract thousands of riders descending for the long weekend of motorbikes, food and live music … and not just country music!

They are now aiming to carry over existing plans.

Tickets already purchased for the 2020 event will be valid for National Thunder 2021. Event organisers have made contact with all ticket-holders and other relevant stakeholders; those unable to attend in 2021 will be eligible for a refund.

The event was to include plenty of live rock music as well as a show especially produced for the rally featuring real horses and “iron horses” similar to the spectacular staged for the HOG Rally.

National HOG rally to return in 2019Tamworth HOG rally

Other highlights should include motorcycle and car displays, traders, guided rides around the district, more than 24 hours of entertainment and the giant Thunder Run through the streets of Tamworth.

Thunder Run HOIG Raly

The National Thunder Motorcycle Rally registration fee remains at $149 per person which includes all entertainment over the four days, a commemorative patch and t-shirt, rides and $50 raffle ticket.

Day passes may also be available closer to the event for those who can’t make the four days.

Tamworth hostsHarley HOG Rally Tamworth

The 2015 HOG Rally was a success mainly because of Tamworth, its welcoming people, great attractions, quality facilities and tourist orientation

It’s a great central location for riders all over NSW and eastern states.

There are also some terrific roads to get there and to explore while at the rally.

2015 HOG Rally - street 500Touring the Tamworth region

Because Tamworth hosts the annual Country Music Festival they have plenty of accommodation choices including camping at ALEC for as little as $21.94 a night

There are plenty of tourist attractions too. Apart from the iconic Big Golden Guitar and associated country music museum, there is also the popular Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum.

Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum in TamworthPowerhouse Motorcycle Museum

The HOG rally was held in February which was pretty hot, but October should be more accommodating with usually dry conditions and maximums in the mid-20s.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Coronavirus hits major motorcycle shows

The biennial Intermot and annual EICMA motorcycle shows in October and November appear to be in jeopardy with BMW Motorrad the first to declare they will not attend.

The shows in Cologne and Milan are the biggest in the world and are the showcase for manufacturers around the world to debut their new models.

Despite being more than seven months away, BMW Motorrad has issued a statement saying they won’t attend.

It follows their recent decision to halt manufacturing at its Spandau factory in Berlin and their G 310 production in India for two weeks. They are expected to return to production next week.

Berlin BMW Motorrad factoryBMW Motorrad factory in Spandau, Berlin

BMW’s decision not to attend the motorcycle shows several months from now is significant as BMW uses these major shows to launch all their next-year models.

Their withdrawal could be the first of many companies to do the same.

Here is the official statement:

Due to the hardly foreseeable development of the corona pandemic and its effects, BMW Motorrad will not be participating in the two leading motorcycle shows Intermot in Cologne in October and EICMA in Milan in November in 2020.

This decision was made in order to counteract current planning uncertainty at an early stage, also for all our partners involved in BMW Motorrad motorshow appearances, in the interests of the greatest possible security, predictability and transparency.

BMW Motorrad will present the world premieres and product highlights planned for these motorcycle shows on alternative platforms in autumn 2020. In doing so, the company will increasingly rely on its own formats and digital communication channels.

The move comes just a day before BMW Motorrad was expected to do a “virtual launch” for their much-vaunted R 18 cruiser and tourer tomorrow (3 April 2020).

However, they now tell us it has been postponed and to “stay tuned”.

We have published several photos of the various models configurations as shown below and will update you with the production model when it is released.

BMW to unveil R 18

Virtual shows

It follows recent motorcycle show closures in Japan, forcing companies such as Suzuki and Honda to stage “virtual” exhibits and launches.

Yet, the organisers of the world’s biggest motorcycle rally in the world at Sturgis are still confident it will go ahead as planned in August.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com