Hells Angels MC: Ponde Sand Drag Meeting

The Adelaide Hells Angels, who host this event and run a few bikes as well, sure had their work cut out with more than 1000 spectators through the gate and with a Hell of a lot of bikes and vehicles racing in as many classes.

I KEPT hearing stories of men possessed, riding bikes with car motors, racing each other on the dirt! I asked around, got a tip here and there, but mostly I received strange stares in return to my questions. Finally, someone gave me a web address. At last, I found enough info to tempt me to take the one-hour drive from Adelaide.

Halfway between Mannum and Murray Bridge there’s a dirt road that takes you to the home of the legendary music festival—Ponde. Smack bang next to the great river Murray, the 50 acres has been home to some of the best three-day parties this country has ever seen. But, just like the great river itself, the flow of party-goers has slowed—not by lack of rain or irrigators further north, but by the police road blocks. Anti-bike task forces, draconian legislation and influxes of lesser events caused the once famous three-day weekend in February to end.

Or did it?

Now revved up as a one-day sand-drag meeting held twice a year, Ponde brings back memories of times past. The roar of V8 bikes, rotaries, road-registered Harleys, Jappas, and kids on chook chasers, all having a go.

As the testing and tuning takes place on Friday, the track gets graded and watered, then graded and watered again. As the day progresses, after chains, nuts, bolts, fuel, oil, and a zillion other things are checked, the motors roar to life one at a time. Finally, the competitors find old and new camp sites then settle in for a night of some serious drinking and catching up with some old mates.

They say the early bird gets the worm. Well if there any worms at Ponde, they were woken up early Saturday morning just like yours truly. Not by the sound of squawking crows or screeching cockatoos, but by rooster tails 70 feet long from a bellowing LS2 Chev-powered motorbike. As I found out later, this bike came all the way from Perth and was on its maiden run. Kaffir, from the Club Deroes MC and the JKB Racing Team, had spent 18 months building what can only be described as a ‘wicked state-of-the-art sand-drag monster’. Roughly based on similar bikes that several of the Hells Angels have been racing for years, this bike has all the latest high tech gear.

After some more test runs Saturday morning, it was soon race-time!

One of the highlights of the day was watching the only Harley top fuel bike in the country do an amazing pass just on dusk. Apparently they had completely blown up the front cylinder after their second pass on Friday arvo. After two trips to Adelaide, a new piston was sourced from K&M Motorcycles, and after a hone and rebuild under a tarp in the pits, it was back out just before the final for the whole crowd to see. No wonder they call them Team Mental. 118 cu inch Harley motor running 98 percent nitro methane; no gears, just a slipper clutch straight to a 12-inch agricultural tyre—that sure is mental.

Now that’s just the top end of the racing. We can’t forget all the other bikes and riders—and the kids, both girls and boys, out there on their Peewee 50s—giving it ago in the spirit of Ponde.

So with all the adrenaline gone and the fuel tanks empty, it was time for the trophy presentations. From the Unlimited Class through to the kids, everyone got trophies and prizes.

Then it was time for what Ponde is legendary for—partying!

For all the results and info for the next Ponde Sand Drag Meet, check out: http://www.ponde.com

story & photos by Darcy

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