The Lions TT Motorcycle Festival is back for 2015 “bigger and better”, although the closed-road ride over the fabled Lions Rd on the Queensland-NSW border has been scratched from the schedule.
Instead, the festival will add a side-by-side drag event on the Casino air strip, a hillclimb competition in the nearby Border Ranges, guided and self-guided tours of the region, and an array of events and attractions in and around Kyogle and Casino in northern NSW over the September 18-20 weekend.
The inaugural Lions TT was held in the first weekend of October 2014 over a closed section of the road from the NSW Border to Ripples on the Creek cafe. Neither Queensland nor NSW police agreed to road closures, but the NSW side of the road was closed by Kyogle Council. Police shut down the event early on the Sunday after one of several crashes over the weekend.
Police on both sides of the border attended a council debrief meeting last year and said they would not agree to any future applications for closures on the Lions Rd. So the organisers were forced to rethink the event.
While the full schedule of events has not yet been finalised, it has been confirmed that the closed-road ride has been abandoned this year.
However, Lions TT director Mark Luxford says they hope to bring the Lions Rd event back in coming years. “One day we hope we’ll have a TT pro event,” he says.
Fellow director John Biggs describes this year’s planned schedule of Lions TT Motorcycle Festival events as “the ultimate boys weekend”.
While the festival events are still in the planning stage and not yet finalised, Mark and John provided this rundown on the proposed agenda.
The weekend’s festivities will begin with an informal group ride from Rathdowney, over the Lions Rd and into Kyogle on the Friday afternoon with the main street of the town closed to traffic from noon until Sunday at noon.
Riders will be able to camp at the Kyogle showgrounds for $20 a night where there will be entertainment and a bar.
Saturday’s festival will be centred on Kyogle and is expected to feature live entertainment, a show and shine, a street market, motorcycle and ATV demo rides, motorcycle trade stalls, and riding displays and evening entertainment at the showgrounds.
There will also be guided and self-guided tours of the region, some with VIP guest riders. The rides will be divided into road and adventure routes.
Nearby Casino air-strip will again host the untimed drag event on the Saturday, but this year organisers hope to allow side-by-side, mate-against-mate drags for the “ultimate bragging rights”.
Sunday’s events will be dirt-oriented with trails for children, beginners and advanced riders in the foothills of the Border Ranges, north of Kyogle. The event is also planned to include a competitive hillclimb.
Kyogle Council executive manager Graham Kennett says the local community is keen for the festival to return in a grander style this year after council conservatively estimated last year’s economic benefit at around $180,000.
To kick-start the 2015 festival, organisers plan to hold three lead-up events.
The first is a Lions Rd ride on Sunday, May 31, from the Rathdowney Hotel at 11am to Kyogle. Organised rides to Rathdowney will leave Oliver’s Motorcycles in Brisbane from 8.15am and Action Motorcycles on the Gold Coast from 8.30am.
A barbecue lunch will be hosted by the Kyogle Lions Club at a set price and, for catering purposes, you will need to register.
The other two lead-up events are a Lions TT track day on Saturday, June 27, at Morgan Park, Warwick, and a launch party on Saturday, August 1, at the Kyogle Bowls Club.
Expressions of interest in the track day can be made via this link, although you better be quick as there are only about 50 spots available and 23 have already confirmed. Cost is $285 for the full day, which includes the licence fee, plus all food and refreshments.
More festival details will be released in coming weeks on the official Lions TT website.
Some of the funds raised over the weekend will go towards maintaining the glorious Lions Rd.