Fuelled by military camaraderie

"RSA on wheels" .. Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club Deep South Chapter president Phil "Boot" Herriott and his 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide.PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

In a series, motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue talks to members of Dunedin motoring clubs. This week he speaks to Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club Deep South Chapter president Phil “Boot” Herriott, of Brockville.

Q: How many members do you have?

Nearly 300 nationally. In the Deep South Chapter, we have 25 members and nine supporters.

Q: How do you become a member?

You have to have served, or be serving, in the army, navy or air force – you must have a service number. The club is a way to keep that camaraderie going. We are a bunch of people who like riding motorbikes, like socialising and have got a military background and talk about the good old days and tell lies and have a good time. Basically, we are an RSA on wheels.

Q: Where did you serve?

I did 21 years in the navy.

Q: When was your chapter launched?

Nearly five years ago, On average, our members attend nearly 20 events a year.

Q: What is the gender mix in your chapter?

We have one female member and eight female supporters.

Q:Who are the youngest and oldest members in your chapter?

We are a geriatric club. Our oldest member is Bill Hessell, who is about 70. Our youngest member, Jim Napier, is 35. Nationally, our oldest member is Frank, who’s 84 years old – he’s an original member of the New Zealand Special Air Service, and he’s still riding.

Q: What events does your chapter hold?

Every July, we run a social weekend run combined with our other South Island Chapters called the Ice Run.

We host the Ride of Respect – an Anzac Day-related fundraising for local RSAs and veterans-related charities. This year we’re riding to the Waihao Forks Hotel in South Canterbury for the unveiling of a commemorative statue of [fallen soldier] Ted D’Auvergne. All the funds raised are going to the residents of the Montecillo veterans retirement home. This ride has already been postponed twice by Covid-19. Last month, a group of us rode a 2200km round trip to a charity ride in Napier, in support of fallen comrades, which was hosted by the Patriots Manawatu Chapter.

Q: What is the newest motorbike in your chapter?

Kathy Turner, of Roxburgh, owns a 2020 Indian Scout.

Q: What is the oldest motorbike in your chapter?

Ross Carran, of Te Anau, owns a 1967 Triumph T100R.

Q: What is the rarest motorbike in your chapter?

Ben Boulton’s Moto Guzzi has got bits on it from most years of manufacture. It’s rare because it rarely goes.