Strawdogs mark 30 years

Khanyi Ndabeni

A MUCH-LOVED Northern areas motorcycle club will celebrate its 30th anniversary with music and drag racing when members host a three-day rally in Graaff-Reinet at the weekend.

The Strawdogs rally, which should draw about 5000 bikers from around the country, will see the club’s 75 members celebrate to the sounds of DJs and live bands.

“We were invited by the mayor of Graaff-Reinet and as with all our rallies, we will raise money for charity in Graaff-Reinet,” Strawdogs marketing manager Bertram Fritz said. “We will also give away three motorcycles; one is a Yamaha R6, which is worth R80000.”

The Strawdogs have supported charities like the Ithemba Special Care Centre in Windvogel and Hankey Primary School.

The club was started informally in the ’70s by a group of friends who were in matric.

“We were about six then and had an incredible passion for motorcycles,” founding member Gregory Barry said.

“I remember a year when PE had the annual Buffalo rally. My friends and other fellow bikers gatecrashed the rally and had a party of note, drooling over the big machines.

“I think this is where each one of us dreamt of owning a motorbike and we all bought one when we started working,” Barry said.

After matric, the group made a point of meeting at weekends when they socialised and talked about their bikes.

But this became a bit difficult as Barry emigrated to Australia with his family, but he still kept in contact with his friends.

The Strawdogs were born but at the time with only three members – Barry, still in Australia, Mark Roberts and Fabian Hop Hing.

On Barry’s return, Strawdogs MC was officially formed in October 1982.

The club grew to 25 members within a year. Its first anniversary was celebrated at the Maitland River Resort as a mini rally with 120 other bikers. Every year after that, the Strawdogs have celebrated the anniversary by hosting a rally, with venues changing from Alexandria to Maitland and more recently Yellowwoods, Hankey.

“The club is based on strong camaraderie and synergy and is a family orientated club, where wives and children also get involved when it comes to charity work,” Barry said.

In 2005, the Strawdogs spread its wings and a branch was formed in Johannesburg. Two months ago, another branch opened in Cape Town.

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