Costs could kill monkey

Popular po­lar mo­tor­cy­cle rally un­der threat

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JO McKEN­ZIE-McLEAN

One of the big­gest events on the mo­tor­cy­cle cal­en­dar – and most popular – is un­der threat due to ris­ing costs.

The 35th Brass Monkey Rally was held at Oture­hua in Cen­tral Otago at the week­end at­tract­ing about 1500 rid­ers.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber John Willems, one of the rally founders, said while the event was popular and or­gan­is­ers had had pos­i­tive feed­back from par­tic­i­pants the rally’s fu­ture was un­cer­tain be­cause of ris­ing costs to hold it.

‘‘There has been talk as to whether there is go­ing to be a Brass Monkey next year. It was men­tioned a few times over the week­end and even at night it was men­tioned over the loud speaker.

‘‘We got some pos­i­tive feed­back but it will be a de­ci­sion the Otago Mo­tor­cy­cle Club will have to make over the next few months. It’s some­thing we would ne­go­ti­ate with the landowner and Oture­hua com­mu­nity. It’s not a de­ci­sion that will be made lightly.’’

Ris­ing costs to hold the event had be­come an is­sue for or­gan­is­ers, he said.

‘‘I would be ly­ing if I said it wasn’t an is­sue. The liquor li­cence per­mit has gone up sig­nif­i­cantly and we hired se­cu­rity guards on the Satur­day night which cost sev­eral thou­sand. (The se­cu­rity guards) help get the li­cence . . . but we didn’t need them. There were ab­so­lutely no in­ci­dents. In fact, one guard said what a great event it was and said, ‘I might buy a mo­tor­bike and come along next year’.’’

The event typ­i­cally draws large num­bers of rid­ers keen for the chal­lenge of the cold­est rally in the coun­try dur­ing win­ter.

At the week­end, the overnight frost was -9 de­grees Cel­sius. The bik­ers, sleep­ing in tents, braved snow, frost and rain, but the sun also came out, he said.

A high­light was the fire­works dis­play which lo­cals drove up to watch too, he said.

Rub Blank of Ran­giora had rid­den to Cen­tral Otago with Christchurch mates Johnny Foot and Ian Liptrot. It was his 23rd Brass Monkey Rally.

‘‘We’re here for a good yarn, tell a few lies, have a few beers. I was here one year when it was -18. That was pretty sav­age. My con­tact lenses were freez­ing in­side the wa­ter in the tent. It’s things like that, that make it. It’s good to have a story to tell. It’s a lot of fun.’’

Christchurch friends Mal­colm Baird and Ge­off Dun­woodie said they had been do­ing the rally for so long (32 and 34 years re­spec­tively) it had be­come a chal­lenge to see how long they could keep do­ing it.

‘‘We might still be here as long it’s go­ing. We have to get to 40,’’ Dun­woodie said.

Win­ton’s Graeme Lowen, at his 33rd rally, said it was an ‘‘ad­dic­tion’’.

‘‘I have to go re­gard­less. It’s a habit and hobby, and way to de-stress from work.’’

Willems said peo­ple came from around the coun­try and over­seas for the event.

‘‘It is a chal­lenge. When I was rid­ing up here yes­ter­day my tem­per­a­ture gage was 5 de­grees. I thought – this is my last one but then you look around – it’s a nice place.

‘‘There is some­thing about this area. We work closely with the Oture­hua com­mu­nity. If we didn’t have their sup­port we couldn’t run some­thing like this.

‘‘The first rally at­tracted 300 rid­ers which had grown each year. One year 5000 bik­ers turned up, he said.

‘‘I think the mo­tor­bike is a great lev­eller. You don’t know what a per­son is – there are lawyers, doc­tors, plumbers, un­em­ployed peo­ple – any­one can ride a mo­tor­bike.

‘‘We even have fam­i­lies com­ing up here.’’ 2Min­uteMen Mo­mentsWeMake Change AboutMo­ments

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Hun­dreds of bik­ers braved the cold at Oture­hua, Cen­tral Otago, for the 35th Brass Monkey Rally.

NZ Moun­tain Film Fes­ti­val

Wanaka: July 3-7: Lake Wanaka Cen­tre, Wanaka. Cromwell: July 8: Golden Gate Lodge, Cromwell. 7.30pm start. In­cludes (USA) (NZ), Best NZ Made Film.

(NZ) (USA), Grand Prize Win­ning Film (NZ)


(NZ) Queen­stown: July 9-11: Speak­ers in­clude Hon­nold and Fa’avae, work­shops and films.

More info: moun­tain­

Brass Monkey Rally rider Gus Lind­say of Cromwell gets a badge go­ing through the gates to the 35th rally held on pri­vate farm­land at Oture­hua, Cen­tral Otago at Queen’s Birth­day Week­end.

Pho­tos: Jo McKen­zie-McLean

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