Thunder Days Rally – Namibia 2016
- National Rally
Nobody had expected a cold front to descend on Windhoek so early in May and despite the chill in the air, it was the least of concerns – we were kicking off the first Thunder Days Rally in Windhoek, Namibia.
The H.O.G. ® Namibia Chapter had, from the outset, agreed that the Thunder Days Rally in Windhoek would merely be an alternative to the hugely popular Skeleton Coast Rally in costal town of Swakopmund which was scheduled to take place only every alternate year – but we needed to secure the month of May as an attraction for H.O.G. ® Rallies in Southern Africa.
Knowing that the Thunder Days Rally was a “low-key” rally, did not dampen the rally crew’s enthusiasm in the organizing thereof, which was also eventually corroborated by the rally participants.
Apart from beer, biltong, and dust – and according to Meatloaf, Two out of Three Ain’t Bad – Windhoek has little to offer, so the focus was on out-rides and team sport, which recipe proved to be a winner. The 66 bikes were divided into two groups and each headed off into their own direction, with a hole-in-one competition at the first destination. The “hole” was a net with a two-metre diameter, at a distance of 50 metre, but it still taxed the skill of many an experienced Harley rider. The second group had an excursion through Windhoek’s highlights and ended up at the Chapter’s watering hole, the old Wheelers Club. There they had to “chuck a HOG”, i.e. three darts aiming for 8 (H) 15 (O) and 7 (G). If you thought that the hole-in-one was a challenge, you would not believe the skills (or lack thereof) with darts. Nevertheless, good rides and fantastic fellowship throughout.
The evening was themed as the Namibian Beerfest, and courtesy of Namibia Breweries Limited, beer was on tap, for free. At this juncture the rally crew had established three facts – Harley riders cannot play golf, cannot throw darts, and beer is most certainly not a favourite drink. But we also discovered that Harley riders have a huge heart – during the charity auction that evening, a total of N$ 100 000-00 was raised and was ear-marked to be handed over to ISAP the next morning. ISAP is a private initiative, its acronym stands for Intelligence Support Against Poaching, and comprises a group of dedicated volunteers (mostly) who have taken on the battle against poaching of any of Namibia’s fauna and flora.
After a hugely publicized handover to ISAP, the 66 Harleys took to the streets of Windhoek in a mass thunder parade, causing a few traffic jams and much delight on the faces of the people on street. Destination thereafter was the well-known Joe’s Beerhouse where we were welcomed and had a traditional “Fruehschoppen”. The public had the opportunity to ogle and drool over the Harleys and a public vote for the Harley of the Rally was called for – yeah, it ended up being a Triglide.
Everyone was then to themselves and as the adage goes, what happens in Windhoek, stays in Windhoek. A ride-in was organized for later in the afternoon and a total of 16 bikes entered under the categories of “Radass Bike” (customization), Bling-Bling Bike (chrome and accessories), and Thunder Bike (exhaust and system). Some truly beautiful machines drawing a huge crowd of spectators.
The rally ended off with a rally dinner with the accompaniment of a local Blues band, which had the feet a-tapping throughout. An early night for most as a long ride home was awaiting them on the Sunday, but without fail, the overwhelming feedback was, “We’ll be back in 2018”.