The annual Veterans MC, Federal Chapter, Icon Water Tour of Duty Poker Run was once again upon us. This year was a change of format seeing the start and finish at the Queanbeyan Showground with free onsite camping available for all those who wanted; many of us choosing that option with people arriving from early on the Friday before the event.
Friday night there was a feed, bar open and local band Counterfeit Cash on hand to provide the entertainment. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day and would have been close to perfect to run a Poker Run around the Capital region but the weather gods are funny/evil.
Saturday morning, the VMC members were up early and the first of the punters began arriving around 0730 for the 1000 stands up. Numbers began to swell, even with the forecast of thunderstorms and rain, and by the time the event rolled out of the Showgrounds there were more than 250 punters with around 40 VMC members; and a crew ready to party on the bus following the run for those who did not or could not ride this year.
The first stop was to be Captains Flat and I took up the rear to make sure everyone was trouble free. Unfortunately, I rolled out the gate and some poor bloke had a broken throttle cable about 50 yards from the exit. We moved through town with the outriders doing a great job to get us all safely through Queanbeyan and forming up as a large pack heading to the first stop. The first leg was event-free, and when I pulled up in Captains Flat, the whole town was chockers with bikes lining both sides of the main street and a huge line up getting their cards.
After a beer and a few raffles the pack pulled out of Captains Flat with the next stop being the Royal Hotel in Bungendore. This leg was where those damn weather gods came into play — about half-way to Bungendore the Heavens opened up with some pretty poor visibility in torrential rain and lightning striking off in the distance.
The rain eased for a while but I could see another front heading towards us. We managed to pull into Bungendore just before the next front hit with strong winds, bucketing rain and even some hail; however, we were safely ensconced in the pub by the time it hit.
In the photos you will see a pic of three bikes out the front of the pub with water up to their rear axles. I was speaking to a farmer at the pub and he was loving it. Due to the drought he had been hand-feeding his sheep for more than eight months and this rain was going to help.
The next stop was due to be at the Loaded Dog Hotel in Tarago but rumour was about that part of the road had been washed out so two outriders were sent to investigate while we all had lunch at the Royal. In the end, with the heavy rain continuing to fall, the decision was made to return to Queanbeyan and start the bike show and the after event which was in aid of drought relief.
The ride back was once again in pouring rain with low visibility; and with the exception of one minor bingle (not even the weather’s fault), everyone made it back in one piece.
Final cards were drawn with Andrea, who was actually on the bus this year instead of riding, taking out Best Hand and the $1000 prize.
The bike show was well down on numbers as a lot of people took the opportunity to head off home so the bikes that entered had limited competition but the full prizes were still awarded; thanks to the local motorcycle dealerships for being a part of the event.
Another thing that was impacted by the weather was the numbers at the after-party with Matt Dent, Juggernaut and the Jukes putting on a great show for the hardy party goers who stayed on. I think, however, that the rain that washed out the party was worth far more to the local farmers than the dollars that would have come from the event.
Even with the thunderstorms and heavy rain, the event was a success, and the Veterans MC Federal Chapter was able to provide funding to the Braidwood Education Foundation and The Veterans Lounge at Canberra Hospital as run recipients and will also see the regular donations to the MRA/Salvation Army Blanket Run and Toy Run along with money donated to the Veterans Support Centre at Page.
Once again Veteran and club supporter Shea Jost was on hand with his cameras to take some great shots. Thank you Shea for your ongoing support. I have also pinched a few pictures from Poker Run Winner Andrea; she took some great people shots; and you will see some of my dodgy snaps too.
You will see a picture of our sponsors board; if you can please support these wonderful people and companies; without them we could not put on an event like this.
There are a lot of people from the club involved but particular mention needs to go to Road Captain Spaz and President Bones; well done, gents.
The format for this year was well received and the Queanbeyan Pelarang Regional Council has stated they will continue to support our use of the showgrounds so it is already booked for the weekend of 19/20 October 2019. We thank them for their support. Keep an eye out for the advertising for a bigger and better event for next year, now if we could just get those weather gods on side.
article written by Mork