A “freak show” of motorcycling will combine with the return of the national Harley Owners Group (HOG) rally in Walcha from November 15-17, 2019.
UPDATE: Both events have been cancelled, but Walcha is still putting on show for those who arrive. Click here for full details.
The Freak Show Festival of Motorcycles is being organised by Inside Line Events International who was behind the proposed TT events for either the Oxley Highway or the Sunshine Coast.
Founder David Rollins says those events have not been completely shelved, but they have given birth to this new event.
“We developed a good relationship with the people of Walcha in that time, we’ve earned their trust and now we want to repay it,” he says.
“The town is providing us with first-class facilities so that we can stage an event to remember.”
Among the attractions for the weekend will be a “Hell Climb” hillclimb, custom show, flat-track exhibition racing, stalls, music, outdoor cinema, trade show, globe of death, donuts and burnouts in a closed-off arena.
HOG will have guided rides and HOG members will lead off the Thunder Rally.
Punters will be invited to have a go at the flat track like Brisbane’s Dust Hustle event on a purpose-built track on vacant land next to the town’s racecourse.
“The Freak Show of Motorcycles will be like the Summernats for motorcycles,” David says.
“We’re expecting about 5000 attendees a day for the three days of the event.”
HOGs and more
HOG members should be glad to see the return of their national rally.
It was last held in 2015 at Tamworth and followed by open Harley Days rallies at Wollongong in 2016 and 2017.
HOG members were unhappy with the open format so there was no 2018 national rally.
Now the national HOG rally will return at Walcha to run alongside the Freak Show which is described as a festival of motorcycles of all types.
Harley-Davidson Australia customer experience manager Gaz Luxmore says the partnership between the Freak Show Festival of Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson is “a perfect way of bringing together different riding communities and incorporating the national HOG Rally”.
“The lovely, motorcycle friendly town of Walcha and the fantastic roads of central NSW will create a magnificent backdrop for a truly unique and spectacular event,” he says.
Walcha was chosen for the event because it sits at the crossroads of some of the best motorcycling routes in NSW taking in the Oxley Highway, New England Highway, Waterfall Way and Thunderbolts Way.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson says Walcha is “known for being popular with motorcycle tourists”.
The rally will be held in the Walcha racecourse and sale yards with various levels of camping right up to five-star “glamping”.
“All accommodation has been booked out in Walcha already, but there is still heaps in Armidale and Tamworth. Plus we will have on-site camping options from standard tents to Lawrence of Arabia style,” David says.
Shuttle buses to and from events, accommodation and the town centre will be provided.
Harley Owners Group spokesman Andrew Kidd says Walcha is a “reasonable size town with good facilities”.
“Much like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the surrounding towns will be more than able to handle the volume of riders coming to the event,” he says.
“The local roads are renowned as some of the best riding roads in the country so come along and enjoy a great event and some fantastic roads.”
David says the one ticket will gain access to all areas and sites that Freak Show Festival of Motorcycles has to offer.
Tickets go on sale at the end of March and David says they will be “competitively priced”.
Event website, Facebook and Instagram are now online.
David says they have major sponsorship support from Harley-Davidson Australia and the NSW Government’s major events agency, Destination NSW.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall says the motorcycle event will deliver more than $1.7 million in visitor expenditure to the region.