Gypsy Jokers MC Joker Wild Poker Run

THE roads are good, and after a drought breaking downpour yesterday, the weather’s fine and nobody seems to be having any problems with their bikes—it really doesn’t get much better than this.

Here we go again, all the usual suspects plus a welcome batch of newcomers, all headed out past the northern fringes of Adelaide and into the open countryside of the Barossa Valley and surrounds.

Along with Gypsy Jokers from SA and further afield, the BLF Social Club’s out in force; there’s a BACA contingent here and a number of Longriders have turned up; there are riders from a Cruiser Club and from Ulysses, and plenty of unaffiliated people who just like going for a ride. As broad a cross section as you could ask for, all talking, laughing, and enjoying the day.

After the usual 12 o’clock start in Gawler, the first stop was Tanunda, a town that knows the value of the tourist dollar and always puts out the welcome mat. The miraculously good fortune of no cars being parked in front of the pub meant a really fine display of two wheeled machinery appeared within a couple of minutes, almost as fast as the locals appeared with their cameras to get a shot of The Day the Bikies Came to Town.

Time enough for a promptly served lunch, then on to Williamstown, a small town that’s never really made it to the tourist maps. Not quite in the Barossa, not in the Hills, not even in Eden Valley—it’s just there, pretty much on its own. But the pub’s well maintained and well run and the people are friendly and welcoming, so it’s another good place to visit when you’re out for a ride. Got a big carpark too so there’s plenty of space to set up a table and deal out the cards.

Gypsy Jokers Poker Run 2

With a generous $1500 first prize waiting for someone’s wallet, as well as eight or nine other prizes, people are paying attention to their cards and you can see who’s pleased with the draw and who’s not. Not a lot of poker faces here today!

As usually happens, the riders all seem to know telepathically when it’s time to go, and the bikes are all moving within a few minutes of each other. Dunno how this works, but the word seems to silently spread of its own accord and everyone’s ready to go in no time.

The next stop’s Kersbrook, another pleasant little town without any obvious reason for existence. Used to be something of a haven for alternative types a few years ago, along with retired farmers who didn’t want to be too close to the city but still wanted easy access to video rentals and the chiropractor. Again, a welcoming pub with a big carpark, just what we all need and appreciate.

It must be great to be a publican on a poker run. You get advance warning that X hundred happy thirsty people will be calling in at one1 o’clock, and you even get advance warning that a good number of them are going to want low alcohol alternatives and maybe a bite to eat. It’s a vote of confidence for any publican, an acknowledgement that he runs a welcoming place that a big club can confidently take people to.

So after a few orange juices, off again for the final stop at the Brahma Lodge Hotel on the six lane Main North Road. Ample space outside to mingle in the crowd, finish those conversations that got interrupted earlier in the day, and admire some of the bikes.

Oddly enough, there seems to be more people at the end than at the beginning. Most times you lose a few along the way or people head for home rather than make that final stop, but this time around the numbers seemed to swell somehow.

Once inside, Roo reads out the long list of winners. A surprised looking Buzzy picks up the Best Bike prize for his Evo Softail (as seen in Ozbike #275), Dave’s 1928 Ford is the Best Car of the day, and Rob’s Royal Flush is easily the best hand of cards. There’s raffle prizes all over the place, and a relaxed atmosphere.

You just can’t help thinking that there should be a way to extend days like this longer than the standard 24 hours.

Gypsy Jokers Poker Run 1

words & pics by Chris Randells

One Comment

  1. Get a haircut and buy some nice business-style clothes, possibly a white shirt and tie. Just kidding. I rode motorcycles for twenty years, loved the freedom of the open road. I still have my HD vest with a great many patches but no MC patches. I just rode for the fun of it and didn’t belong to any club. Besides, I don’t even smoke tobacco and hate street drugs. Coffee is my choice of stimulant, no cream or sugar, just black. Hey, I’m a retired school- teacher, what can I say?

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