Graaff-Reinet set to buzz with motorcycle rally

READY TO ROLL: Rodney Jeftha, left, and Mark Redcliffe, of the Strawdogs Motorcycle Club, are ready for the club’s 35th anniversary rally this weekend
Picture: MARK WEST

Port Elizabeth’s Strawdogs Motorcycle Club will celebrate its 35th anniversary when its members and nearly 2 000 other bikers descend on Graaff-Reinet for their annual rally this weekend.

The club’s president, Larry Oliver, said while the club had 40 members in the country, its annual rally attracted hundreds of bikers and biking enthusiasts nationwide.

“We expect between 1 500 and 2 000 bikers this weekend, so it is a really big event,” Oliver said.

“This event is popular because biking is not just a hobby, it is a way of life.

“This is an excellent way of bringing bikers together from all over the country to discuss everything about biking.”

He said the rally had been held in Graaff-Reinet for the past few years because organisers had developed a good working relationship with the town and because of the good atmosphere and friendliness of the residents.

“Also it is very central because we have bikers coming in from all over, including Namibia.

“We are meant to move to a new venue every five years but I think we are going to go back to Graaff-Reinet for a number of years to come. It is definitely a biker-friendly town.”

He said a lot of planning and logistics went into the event.

“We discuss every aspect to make sure it is a success and we communicate regularly with the municipality,” he said.

Club member Mark “Redds” Redcliffe said the club would be celebrating its 35th anniversary this weekend.

“We have had rallies in other towns in the past, including Alexandria and Hankey, and at Maitlands Beach here in Port Elizabeth.

“The whole purpose is to promote biking and proceeds from our events go to charities.”

He said the weekend would consist of various competitions, lucky draws, stalls, DJs and other entertainment, and quarter-mile drag racing outside the town.

He said while most bikers stayed at the Urquhart Caravan Park for the weekend, some did stay in self-catering units and guesthouses in the town.

Municipal manager Jama Vumazonke said Graaff-Reinet was happy to host the rally, and confirmed that it did bring economic spin-offs for the town.

“Any major events attract visitors to a town and we are pleased with the numbers the rally brings in because this benefits our local businesses,” he said.

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