'Lizards' log first Brass Monkey

17:00, Jun 01 2014
noela irwin, john irwin
FIRST TIMERS: Noela and John Irwin, of Winton, find a warm spot on a pile of wood at the 34th Brass Monkey in Oturehua.

Taking part in the annual Brass Monkey has always been on the "bucket list" for a Winton couple who clad themselves in winter gear, climbed on their motorbike and headed to Oturehua for the annual event.

John and Noela Irwin claimed a pile of wood as soon as they got there, the two sunning themselves on the warm logs.

"We stick out like a sore toe," Noela Irwin said. "I'm in purple and John's in blue - we're sitting on our pile of wood like of couple of lizards at the moment."

The two joined about 1300 others on the farm property owned by Ken Gillespie at Oturehua beside the Idaburn dam for the 34th Brass Monkey.

Bikers arrived from all over the country, and some from Australia, to camp out Saturday night and party by a huge bonfire or huddle around one of the tin drum fires burning throughout the night.

The weather was kind, with a minus 1 degree Celcius frost early on Sunday morning compared to the -7C felt the night before by Otago Motorcycle Club organisers and a few early bird rally-goers.

Gillespie said the annual event was under no threat and would be held there for years to come. It was a "tremendous fundraiser for the whole community", he said.

Brass Monkey Rally chairman Brendan McMahon said the Otago Motorcycle Club committee had "nothing but praise" for Gillespie.

"He's amazing, he's full-on helping us," McMahon said.

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