Oxford (17 August 2012) - H.O.G.® rallies come in all shapes and sizes, but all regardless of location or theme, all have two things in common – stunning Harley-Davidson® motorcycles and plenty of that camaraderie members of H.O.G. are infamous for! The ninth annual South of England Rally (SofER) took place at the start of the month, and was complete with plenty of both!
Organised by five H.O.G.® Chapters: 1066; Hogsback; Invicta; Oxford and Thames Valley, SofER regularly attracts H.O.G.® members from all over Europe – and 2012 was no exception. Despite the unpredictability and severity of weather conditions prior to the event, thousands of Harley-Davidson® owners rode steadily through the gates of the Bisley grounds on the Friday and pitched up their tents at the rally site.
Like the previous eight events, this year’s rally featured all the usual attractions such as the Trader Village and live entertainment including music from the Texas Tornadoes, Scandal, the Chillbillies and tribute band State Of Quo. In addition, the Katy Shotter band rocked the whole joint with R&B classics and Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure.
One of the highlights of the weekend’s events was the Ladies of Harley (LOH) fancy dress ride-out to Guildford Harley-Davidson. This year’s theme was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so the ladies taking part dressed in pearls, tiaras, crowns and lots of Union Jack flags! More than 50 motorcycles took part in the ‘Diamond Ride’, navigating the 50-mile route through the Surrey countryside in a stream of red, white and blue. The LOH ride is a fantastic way for Harley-Davidson’s female enthusiasts to meet up and ride together, and always attracts admiring glances as the riders pass through Bisley’s neighbouring villages!
Meanwhile, Saturday’s ride-outs also proved to be popular – despite a short rain shower – attracting hundreds of bikes. While some riders were led by the Oxford Chapter to Henley on Thames, others were led by Hogsback Chapter, who explored the scenic back roads of Surrey and Hampshire. In addition, a trike-only ride-out took place for the first time this year, while the traditional Poker Run raised money for the Surrey Air Ambulance.
As usual, the Ride in Bike Show attracted a strong crowd. Voted for by the public, the Best in Show trophy went to Jamie Shepherd’s Old School Sportster, which was a tribute to the 1920s Board Track racers.
Chris Cooper of the 1066 Chapter also provided guests with a piece of history in the form of a full size replica of the original 10x15" timber hut in which William Harley and the three Davidson brothers developed the first Harley-Davidson® motorcycle in 1903. The replica factory hut proved to be a huge attraction to guests all weekend, with many even posing for photos!
No sooner has this year’s SOFER rally closed, but preparations have already started for next year’s event. And as it approaches its tenth anniversary, all eyes will be on the five Chapters for an indication of what we can expect to see in 2013…
Please visit the H.O.G. European Gallery for photos of this year’s SOFER rally and keep an eye on www.sofer.uk.com for information on purchasing tickets for next year’s anniversary event.