However, it is a massive gathering of bikes, and bikers, and exposed (to me anyway) that there are a moer-of-a-lot of Hardleys out there! (Mostly kept locked up somewhere cause I ain't ever seen so many of them on the road before)!
The whole thing takes place in Margate, on the South coat of Kwa-Zulu Natal, which is a popular holiday destination in it's own right.
So, what was good and what was bad?
For a start, it's not a real rally. Will post info on these later. It's basically a well organized street party, to which a lot of bikers go. it's NOT a week long event, starting on 28th April (Thursday) with a VIP and Media welcome party (whats up with that shit? Who's spending the money here guys?) at 18h00 - 20h00. Followed by some onstage entertainment, and the usual "market place" style tents and marquis, with mainly HD stuff and bikes. And of course the booze tents and food stalls. A street market is what it is.
Friday is full day, as is Saturday, and Sunday there is the Mass Ride (from 10h10 till 12h00) and then it's all over. Not a week in my calender, but hey, maybe time flies when u having fun.
So, for the "on stage" entertainment they had the likes of Jon Delinger - this unknown moron knows fuck all about singing. Couldn't understand why no one was clapping for him, and had the audacity to say "Please buy my CD if you like my music!" What a complete poes! Black Era - very good rock band. Christian Heath Band - awesome rock. Flies - well, what can I say, for me probably the best of the bunch. Drummer from the top leagues, awesome numbers, real Rock!!! Could have listened to them for 3 days solid!
|"Flies" - real ROCK!|
Die Heuwels Fantasties - Disappointing to say the least! I have heard about them (probably have heard some of their stuff on air). Their music was good, their vocalist a complete fucking clown. Thinks he's God's gift to music, bouncing around on stage with his denims hanging close to his knees, screaming into the mike, couldn't understand two words he sang. Very disappointing, except to the young teen girls that surrounded the stage. And finally, Prime Circle. These guys are good. Very good. They as good on stage as they are on a recorded sound track (many bands are not), and they delivered the goods. Except, they finished their gig about 40 minutes earlier than advertised, but then, maybe they don't have enough songs.....
So that was the musical entertainment.
Then there was the organised stunt riding. Now this is where things start to go seriously un-rally like. One of the first things you see when you arrive at the "bikes only" lanes is the sign reading "No Burnouts, No doughnuts, No Revving - You will be prosecuted" WTF is up with that?
helmets to be worn at all times (whilst on the bike) even if you were moving your bike within the "bike zone" from one place to another.....
So, instead of the usual rally entertainment of your normal Joe-soap doing wheelies, stoppies, burnouts, dough nuts, and other mind boggling things with their bikes, you have to go and watch, at specific times, a "specialist" that HD is paying a lot of money, do Wheelies and Stoppies. Huh? Fuck that, he wasn't that good anyway. I could find 10 guys from the Soweto bike club who could teach him how to ride, and entertain a crowd with a bike!!!
There was a lot of "Stuff" available, magazines, brochures, pamphlets, etc. with information on the rally, and programs, etc. In the "pocket book" programme, there are some writings from various people, including the mayor, etc. One of the writers is some guy called Martin Engelbrecht. His closing statement reads:-
"Keep the rubber up, and the metal down".
Now, I'm not sure if it's a typo, or he just mixed up his words, but from my point of view, if you riding a motorbike, you want to keep the rubber DOWN and the metal UP! Or am I retarded????
Did you know that HD tried to trademark the sound of their bikes? Why the fuck would they? No one wants to copy the sound of a two stroke tractor misfiring anyway! (The motion was opposed by 9 of their 10 competitors)
So, apart from the above, what did we do?
Well, Lucky L and his best friend "Baron v Triumph" and I trailered the bikes down to Margate (AHA, trailored!! I hear you shout, bloody moffies I hear you say) Well reality is that if we had ridden down on eack individual bike, we would have spent 3 times the petrol money, as well as 3 x the toll fees (R220 per bike one way). So it made no sense to ride down. Anyway, the best ride areas are down there, not getting there.
Anyway, we had booked accommodation at Misty Creek, (web site still under construction), the only place that still had space for us. ZAR 150 per person per night, with bathroom en-suite, two separate rooms and a kitchenette. It was OK, and met our limited needs. It's located about 21 km north of Port Shepstone
Misty Creek was started about 20 years ago breeding wolves. They have some fantastic wolves on site, and have been very successful. They have since extended into accommodation (a few rooms like ours, and about 8 - 10 Wooden huts). It's not a fantastic classy place, but OK for what we wanted. A place to sleep dry, and safe, and to leave our stuff whilst we were out.
|Some of the Breed!|
The owner, Dominique, and her partner Derek, are nice down to earth people. Very hospitable and friendly. They have a nice pub on site, and there were quite a few bikers popping in over the weekend for drinks, or breakfast, or lunch. With a bit of effort, this place could become very popular, and with a small input, the accommodation could be upgraded to a more demanded level.
Arriving on the Thursday just after lunch, we unpacked, unloaded the bikes, and hit the road to Margate. We know our way around there, so quickly worked out best route, and place to park and walk around. Going back to Misty Creek I led, and after we passed the rural settlements area, blitzed my way up the mountain. Awesome strip of tar, well kept, double lanes each direction. Massive sweeping bends. We clocked a good 140 - 160 km/h going through some of them, comfortably. Just had to keep an eye out for trucks, taxis, and livestock. As we stopped at the rooms, the boys showed big smiles, and bigger beating hearts!!! I just knew we would be doing that again! Then back to Margate in the car, for the evenings entertainment. Nothing fantastic, and we got back not too late, pumped for the next days bike ride.
Day 2 - Friday, and we pack and ride out for Leisure Bay. No specific reason other than we know some people who have a holiday home there, and they were resident. Great blitz down the mountain, into Shelly beach for breakfast, then onto the toll road for a blitz South. Arrived, parked, changed into suitable attire, and went down to the beach, where i found a place to sit and get sleg, and the boys proceeded to do as much sea holiday stuff as they could in a half day excursion!
That done, we rode back to Margate, walked around a bit, then back to swop transport. We couldn't go onto the toll road at Margate. Cops had it shut down in both directions between Margate and Shelly Beach. When I asked why, I was told there had been a horrific accident involving bikes and a car. (We learned the next day that a lady rider on a superbike had gone head on into a car. She was decapitated! They had also landed a helicopter, so there must have been other injured people!) Stayed till late that the rally as "Die Heuwels Fantasties" were on. Disappointing (to me anyway) And they started late as there had been some power failure which cut the lights to the main stage, and several of the tents.
|For my money, good sound, kak vocalist!|
Day 2 - Saturday - Slept in, and were only up and about by 9ish.... Back onto the bikes, but we took a drive down Oribi Gorge, up the other side, drove to the Oribi Hotel for brunch, then rode back via the gorge again.
|View down the gorge at the bottom|
|Out trusted steeds|
Then down to Port Shepstone and along the beach front to Margate. On the way I almost took out a vervet monkey that ran out in front of me. Not sure who got the bigger fright! And had to knock on some clowns window to ask him to move over into his own lane. Just cause the bikes can / are 'white lining" does not mean a doos in a chicken coup can do so too! he was a bit startled, but couldn't really argue, as I had a tail of about 10 other bikers following me. And the policeman in the car 3 in front gave me a big thumbs up when I rode past him!
Another long day, checking out bikes, birds, entertainment and stuff. As we were about to leave some youngster approached LuckyL with "Ekscoos me, my sissy asks if u cud take her for a spin?" No he says, I'm just leaving. Go on, I said, and gave her my helmet. Then he didn't really have a choice. Turns out she's never been on a bike before, so enjoyed it pretty mush. And she wasn't too bad to look at either. Needless to say LuckyL didn't get a cellphone number. Geeezzz - kids of today!?!?!?!
That evening we came back by car to watch the last of the stage entertainment, which included "Flies" and Prime Circle. There was a downpour which lasted about 3 minutes, followed by a dry period of 10 minutes, and another massive downpour for another 10mminutes. Then t was all gone, and the party started in earnest.
By the end of the Prime Circle stint, we had had our fill of noise, Harleys, people, food, drinks, and all other rally associated functions, and were good to go.
Originally we had decided to stay over at a friends place in Durban Sunday night, and drive home Monday, but by the time we got back to Misty Creek on Saturday night, we had decided to go straight home on Sunday.
So, overall, a good weekend. Maybe too many HD's there. I cannot believe what some people do with their bikes. Sound systems better then most Coolie cars. Flashing Red / Yellow / Blue / Green lights under the tank and frame, reflecting off the chrome... Chrome work from hell..... and then you get the "minimalistic" bikes, which for me are a real pleasure. Big engine, tank seat, 2 x wheels.... That's it!!! The guys really go over the top with these things, and maybe that's why they get the ridicule that they do. For them it's not about the bike, or biking, but the bling. Ans that sucks. In fact, I'm sure that most of the real, hardened American HD riders would throw up at the sight of some of these bikes.
Overall, a good space to be for a few days. Not too sure I would bother to go again next year, maybe rather go to a real rally over the same weekend.....
Story of our return home on the Sunday to follow.