Hells Angels MC ANZAC Day Poker Run

...it became apparent that the bikers really didn’t give a shit about the police harassment. Most of us were used to it; it was just part of the lifestyle

THIS poker run pulls thousands of bikers making it the biggest in Australia. This year it also drew a lot of interest from the police…

The sky was overcast, the threat of rain real as I walked to the garage to unbolt my bike from the concrete floor. I’d arranged for a couple of girls to come along for the day, knowing they’d catch a ride without too much trouble once they were at the Hells Angels MC clubhouse in Guildford. We all met up at my place and they drove their little Hyundai Excel while I rode the bike. They arrived drier than myself and my girlfriend; the sky had fulfilled its promise of rain as I entered Woodville Road—damn! Only a few more miles and I would have made it okay.

Luckily, the rain only lasted an hour or so; although the clouds hung around all day and sent down a slight drizzle from time to time.

The street outside the clubhouse was filled with bikes from end to end. I expected the numbers to be down because of the bad weather but—looking at the hoard of bikers who gathered to listen to Derek’s Anzac Day, soul-searching speech—nothing was going to stop the biggest poker run in Australia from steamrolling ahead.

There was a film crew wandering around. Somebody said they were making a doco and I guess they had the club’s blessing.

In previous years the police had kept a low profile; this time they were out in huge numbers. It was kind of expected. The police were having a blitz on bike clubs Australia-wide and this was to be no exception.

Soon the motors came to life signalling the start of the ride. I scrambled to my bike; the girls already having organised their own pillion seats with a couple of generous tattooed bikers. I worked my way to the middle of the pack; the last place I wanted to be was at the end with that many police hanging about.

Slowly the thousands of bikes started to move; the noise was awesome.

Back out on Woodville Road and the police made their first move as they cut off the last bikers for licence checks. The rest of the pack moved on glad they had made it through.

Several miles later the police made an even bolder move by pulling over the leading Hells Angels. The pack came to a complete halt for 15 minutes as the police flexed their muscles. The film crew, meanwhile, was getting great footage.

Someone said to me the police had to act ‘because’ of the film crew; that they couldn’t be filmed standing back doing nothing as the bikes rode through red lights, etc. A good theory, maybe, but the police had already indicated their intention to harass the bike clubs in the media weeks before.

As we milled about, waiting for the police to finish with the Hells Angles, it became apparent that the bikers really didn’t give a shit about the police harassment. Most of us were used to it; it was just part of the lifestyle. In retrospect, I think the police were more stressed out by the whole incident than the bikers.

Eventually we were allowed to move on and we made our way to our first pub stop—the George IV Hotel in Picton—where we openly laughed at the police who were still trying to intimidate the bikers. There’s nothing like a ‘common enemy’ to create a strong bond between people. Winston Churchill used the same ‘common enemy’ principle to successfully bond his people during The Battle of Britain.

By the time we left for our second destination in Wollongong, the police had mostly dispersed having tired of their cat and mouse tactics. The last of them, a couple of motorcycle cops, followed at a discreet distance.

The sky had started to clear by the time we reached the next hotel and it was tremendous sitting in the sun, a bourbon in one hand, a steak sandwich in the other, surrounded by a carpark full of Harleys, talking shit with my mates. This is what being a biker is all about, I thought to myself. Could life get any better?

The ride back to the clubhouse was without incident and we arrived en masse ready to party. By this time, however, the girls had had enough. It’d been a long day of drinking, riding, police harassment, sore arses (the pillion seats on choppers aren’t very kind to young girl’s arses) and they were ready to go home. I waved them goodbye and headed back to the clubhouse. It was time to chill out and wait for the poker hand results and other awards to be announced—time for another bourbon too.

This was a another successful Anzac Day Poker Run for the Hells Angels MC who should be congratulated for their brilliant handling of the potentially drama-filled situation with the police. We had a ball catching up with our mates for the ride and a few drinks…

Hells Angels Poker Ride_11

pics by Tony; words by Guy

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