By Trevor Hedge
Harley-Davidson enthusiasts powered their way up Mt Buller earlier this month for the 20th annual National Harley Owners Group (H.O.G) Rally.
Mother Nature certainly provided some serious challenges for participants as they cruised their way to the venue from all corners of Australia. Riders had to forge floodway’s and locust plagues only for Mt Buller to greet them with sub zero temperatures for their arrival.
That chill in the air was helped to thaw by an almost endless array of bands playing in the main square while the crowd washed away their thirst with plenty of Jack Daniels.
More leather than you would find at Mardi Gras was accompanied by beanies, scarfs and whatever accoutrements rally attendees could find to help fend off the wind chill factor atop the mountain.
For many the highlight of each Rally is the infamous Thunder Run. Hundreds of Harley’s thundered their way down the mountain to meet at Mirimbah before departing in convoy for Mansfield along the Mount Buller Tourists Rd following the banks of the beautiful Delatite River which was very swollen from recent unseasonal rainfalls.
This part of the event always proves a major hit for the local hosts of each Hog Rally and residents en route set up camp at their front gates or in their gardens to enjoy the auditory and visual feast provided by the passing Harley throng.
I caught up with some of the Brisbane Chapter over lunch at Mansfield.
Glenn and Lee-Ann McNeill certainly make the event a family affair with 12 year old son Connor already a five year Hog Rally veteran proudly wearing his 60,000 mile badge on his personalised leather riding vest. His ex-Police Officer parents obviously approve and while mounted for the event on dad’s Ultra Classic he reckons mum’s 2006 Springer Classic is cooler than dad’s ride and declared his intention to get hold of an 883 Iron Sportster when of legal age.
The story is echoed by another family making the trip down from Brisbane. 12 year old Jake Capewell had to fly down with mum Joanna due to school commitments at Moreton Bay Boys College. Father Graham rode his 2009 Softail Heritage Classic down for the event via Tamworth and a lap of Mt Panorama. Also an ex-Police Officer, Graham was gifted the Softail as a leaving the force present from Joanna.
Pictured between the McNeill and Capewell families are partners Barry Lister and Vicki Harris behind Barry’s immaculate Dyna. Fastidious Barry cleaned the bike each day during the ride down from Brisbane to make the clean-up job more manageable at Buller and the big effort paid off for the 49 year old truckie after taking out best Dyna at Saturday’s Show & Shine event.
As riders threaded their way home to their respective corners of Australia they were already planning their route to the 2011 event which will be staged at Margaret River (WA) on the weekend of November 19.
HOG Rally Show & Shine Results
Best Sportster – Nicola Boyd – Liverpool Chapter
Best Dyna – Barry Lister – Brisbane Chapter
LOH – Sandra Thorn – Yarra Valley
Best Softail – Tony Porter – Blacktown Chapter
Best Touring – George Kotzageridis – OZ HOG Chapter
Best V-Rod – Pete Henshaw – Canberra Chapter
Best Trike/Side Car – Peter Webb
Best Antique – Peter Webb
Best CVO – Bill Williamson – Brisbane Chapter
Best Custom – Niki Kulak Kulakowski – Liverpool Chapter
Peoples Choice – Sharon Mills – Dandenong Chapter
Some of the Brisbane Chapter made it a family affair