I HAD SUFFERED through another ‘busy as all fuck week’, and by the time the weekend rolled around, a good ride was exactly what the doctor ordered. It just so happened that it was the weekend of the Good As Gold Poker Run.
Saturday morning found us at the Hells Angels MC clubhouse with an hour to spare before the departure time of 12.30. No sooner had we arrived and I was kindly offered the unique chance to get a few shots from the rooftop of the clubhouse. All this was done without the assistance of a net or alcohol fuelled bravery and executed by an Ozbike contributor with an overwhelming fear of heights (me!) “Anything for the sake of a good shot,” I kept telling myself as I neared the edge of the rooftop amidst the sound of laughter and cries of “Don’t do it mate!” and “Ya reckon the roof will hold ya?” from my so called friends who were safely planted down on terra firma. Bastards!
Once back on the ground, a cold Jack Daniels was a welcome nerve settler before the rider briefing was delivered to the crowd.
We shot down to the end of the road and grabbed a few pics of the 300-plus pack as it made its way down Tradelink Drive. Very impressive to say the least as the seemingly endless stream of bikes made its way out of the usually quiet industrial estate and onto the motorway followed by several back-up vehicles. Channel Nine even had a helicopter on high to catch the spectacle as well as a large contingent of the big blue club, but more on those clowns later.
We jumped on the bike and took the direct route to the Brothers St. Brendans Leagues Club at Rocklea in an attempt to beat the pack. No such luck as the bikes were already filing into the parking lot as we arrived.
This footy club had suffered some major damage during the Brisbane floods with the lower level of the establishment completely totalled by the rising waters. Insurance wouldn’t even think about covering them so the rebuilding process is to be a long and painful one, and the club’s representatives sang the praises for the Hells Angels MC and the run-goers for their help in the form of some much needed patronage to assist funding. When you bring along several hundred mates to a club such as this for a few drinks… well, you can imagine the bar had a very profitable afternoon. More than once I heard fellow bikers saying, “Nah, keep the change,” as the bar staff were handing back a handful of coins to some of the riders after drinks were purchased. Makes you proud to be a biker; well done to all.
Free platters of food were placed on the tables around the club room and some lovely young lasses slinked around the crowd, raffling off a couple of top quality leather jackets to further assist flood victims.
The second rider briefing had everyone listening intently as Mark advised all participants to stick together as the route had a few interesting twists and turns and promised to take us to some parts of Brisbane we may never have seen before.
There was bit of jostling as we all made our way out of the side streets and the bikes regrouped on a service road before heading down Kessels Road and onto the M1, Brisbane City bound.
Here’s where one of the twists came into the run. The entire pack was swung left off the motorway and we entered the Clem Seven tunnel. For all you interstaters and out-of-towners who aren’t familiar with the Clem Seven, this tunnel was named after one of Brisbane’s former Lord Mayors and makes its way under the Brisbane River, linking North to South Brisbane and vice versa. Due to some ridiculously high tolls that were placed on the use of the tunnel, it has quickly become one of Brissy’s biggest white elephants with motorists choosing to use the inadequate, heavily-congested roadways as opposed to suffering the insult of paying an exuberant toll.
All that bullshit aside, riding through the tunnel in the company of a few hundred roaring Harley-Davidsons was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I have ever had and a main talking point for many riders at the next pub we stopped at, The Fox Hotel.
Another talking point was the moronic behaviour of the cops who had been assigned to keep an eye on us for the day as we took part in the ‘heinous crime’ of enjoying a day out on the bikes. Now there is a distinct difference between just doing a job and going above and beyond… these idiots were obviously under orders to harass the participants on the poker run, but where do you draw the line between harassment and outright unsafe behaviour. Cutting in and out of the pack and nearly forcing bikes off the road is dead set fucken dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated. I’m just writing what everyone, including myself, was thinking. Luckily, no one came unstuck because of these dickheads and we laughed it off as we enjoyed a cold beer at The Fox.
More free platters of tucker were laid on, sausage rolls, party pies; pizza and potato wedges had the punters behaving like seagulls whenever a new platter was brought out. Fun to watch!
Another nice touch was the arrival of what looked like a half-assed Tactical Response Group wearing utility belts that would have made Batman jealous. A traffic cop decided to book any bike that was legally parked in the laneway next to the pub and a car that belonged to one of the bar staff. Luckily, we got all the vehicles moved before any tickets were written. Great PR work boys… what a joke!
We left The Fox, snaked our way through South Brisbane and made our way back onto the M1, south bound to the third stop of the day. The VVMC played host to the pack at The Bunker, their clubhouse in Kingston. Here, not only was free finger food and cold grog served up, but the organisers had arranged for the gorgeous raffle girls to take part in a bit of good old fashioned jelly wresting. How many poker runs supply this sort of entertainment! The crowd loved it and I stood there patiently with my scoop of ice cream, eagerly awaiting dessert. No such luck… but it looked good enough to eat!
The last leg of the poker run led us back to the Hells Angels MC clubhouse, and like the rain clouds, the cops fucked off and it was a truly great day. The sun was setting quickly as the punters grabbed their last cards, another well priced drink and settled in as Brisbane premier biker/pub band, the mighty Bootleggers, set the mood for one hell of an after-party.
At 7.30 pm the presentations were made and one lucky girl, Helen from Perth, who had flown from Western Australia to take part in the run, walked away with the grand prize, a Hunter 350 cc motorcycle.
The winners for the other consolation prizes, raffles were drawn and Griz accepted the award and cash for most members of one club to attend. The Social Club took out the converted prize for the sixth year running and promptly donated the prize money to assist in flood relief. Good on youse.
We have taken part in many runs over the years but I can safely say that this was, without a doubt, is the best poker run we have ever been on. Great roads, good food, some different stops to the usual, supporting a great cause, some mouth watering jelly wrestling—what more can I say? Even the threatening shitty looking weather played the game with only a couple of drops along the way.
I’d like to thank the members of Hells Angels MC for the hospitality and help with the story. The Hells Angels MC would like to thank all their generous sponsors, members from other clubs for their support, and the riders who took part on the day and made it a run to remember.
Pics by Jo; words by Chuck U Farley