Brass Monkey Rally planning swan song

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Brass Monkey Rally committee member John Willems.

The final Brass Monkey Rally will be held this year.

Rally committee member John Willems, of Dunedin, said The Otago Motorcycle Club’s 40th rally on Saturday, May 30 in Central Otago would be the last.

The rally had “run its course”.

“It’s time for a change.”

The club was investigating launching an alternative annual event, possibly to be held on the same site, in March from next year.

“A lot of people can’t believe it will be the last one but who knows, maybe the replacement might be as good or better.”

The 6ha rally site is on a farm in Oturehua.

“There has been no planning of [the alternative event] at this stage – it’s an idea, we’ll think about after this year’s Brass Monkey is out of the way.”

Feedback from rally participants included it being hard to stay overnight in the coldest place in New Zealand over Queen’s Birthday weekend.

When asked if riders were less able to handle the cold, he replied: “Who would know? We have an ageing population of people who come to the rally there are a lot of stalwarts who have been coming for years and years – who knows? But that is not the only reason.”

When asked if any incidents at past events, such as three unwarranted and unregistered riders being involved in separate accidents on the Dunstan Trail in 2017, was a reason, he replied: “It hasn’t helped but it’s not the main issue.”

Any incidents were isolated and the most of the participants were “great and behaved themselves”.

The rally this year would feature fireworks, a bonfire and three bands.

The Jordan Luck Band would headline the event on Saturday.

About 300 people attended the inaugural rally. Each year, the attendance grew, peaking at 5000 people at the 10th event.

About 1000 patrons attended the rally last year. He declined to speculate on how many people would attend the final rally.

“Who knows – it’s hard to tell these days .. we think we’ll get more than we had for the last year or two.”

Every rider who attended the rally would be given a “special lapel badge”.