The next Daytona or Sturgis-style world-class motorcycle rally could be held in New Zealand. Harley-Davidson Australia and New Zealand is sponsoring the “Iron Run” in Queenstown about March next year and HD marketing manager Adam Wright says it could be the new Sturgis or Daytona.
“It year will be a big one for us,” he says. “We are going to launch it as a global event to be honest; a bit like a Sturgis or Daytona. We would like to eventually grow it and we’re hoping it will become a regular event. Queenstown is a great location with some great riding experiences in the area.”
Even though it will be a Harley-sponsored motorcycle rally, it will be open to all riders and brands, says Adam. “I expect a lot of Aussies to go over for it. There will be be a lot of activity and it will be an all-encompassing motorcycle event. Stay tuned.”
Meanwhile, Harley is ramping up for the 23rd annual HOG National Rally at the Cairns showgrounds on May 2-4. Adam confirms they have 1300 pre-registrations and expect more to arrive over the weekend. While the figures are down on previous years, Adam says it can’t be compared with the HOG Rally in Melbourne last year as that was the 110th anniversary and it was in a location close to most of their owners.
“Cairns is a long-distance ride, but having said that a lot of our HOG members are long-distance riders and they like to do big distances on the road. However, by the time you factor in taking time off work and organising families, it’s a fair commitment.
“We have a contingent of about 30 riders coming from West Australia which is a long haul for those guys and about 51% of the total numbers are from Queensland which is great considering all the recent dramas (anti-bikie laws and police crackdown). People are out riding their motorcycles which is great thing.”
Adam says Cairns is a “great location with some great riding” and believes the event will attract several hundred “walk-ins” over the weekend. Headlining act is Lisa Hunt who has performed with Jimmy Barnes and Diesel. Other highlights will be stunt displays by Australia’s top stunter, Matt Mingay, a dyno drag simulator, custom shop and the popular jump start where non-riders can experience letting out the clutch on a real motorcycle in the safety of a static mount.
All the 2014 models will be display and most will be available for demo rides. Adam says they now have 38 models in their fleet which is the biggest product line-up in the company’s history. “We’ve had a bit on the go in the past 12 months and sales are quite strong for us,” he says. “The mining states are still going very strong for us. The new 14.5 models (bikes released mid-year) have been well received by the dealers and we’re just starting to get supplies out now.”
The new bikes are the SuperLow Sportster XL1200T, the Dyna Street Bob Special and Low Rider. “The Low Rider, in particular, has been a big hit for us. People are quite excited about the reintroduction of the legendary Low Rider,” Adam says.