Rev up for a busy weekend

SUE FRANCIS
Last updated 08:12 06/03/2014
march hare
SUE FRANCIS/ Fairfax NZ

READY TO RALLY: Waimate March Hare Motorcycle Club members with their machines beside the King EDward VII Memorial Band Rotunda at Seddon square, Waimate. From left, Mark Thomas with his 1972 Suzuki GT750, club president Stu Oughton with his Kawasaki 900 Vulcan Cruiser, and vice president Peter Gibbons with his Triumph Thunderbird.

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Waimate punched well above its weight in terms of hosting events and attracting visitors to the town, mayor Craig Rowley said this week.

This weekend the district will host the 28th March Hare motorcycle rally, the New Zealand club sport championship, and the annual Edwardian celebrations.

Organisers are expecting upwards of 2000 visitors - if the weather plays its part.

"A lot of people here have a can-do attitude. Waimate people roll up their sleeves to get events under way, and continue to support them," Mr Rowley said.

The club sport event is run by the Waimate 50 organisation, and the mayor said the group had invested in infrastructure and attracted sponsorship.

He will be at the motorcycle rally on his Kawasaki Concourse 1400 Sports Tourer, and will judge the competition for best motorcycle.

March Hare Motorcycle club president Stu Oughton said organisers concentrated on facilities and entertainment suited to the audience of 40- to 60-year-olds.

He expected between 1500 and 2000 people to attend, including four people who have been at every rally.

"Our first registration this year was from Tasmania, and the second was from Auckland. A couple of first-time rally visitors are coming from Dunedin, two women who've just bought a bike each.

"It's known amongst the biking fraternity as one of the friendliest rallies. We have more husbands and wives attending, more women bikers, and more people from every walk of life," Mr Oughton said.

More than $1000 was expected to be raised for Waimate Bushtown through the sale of raffle tickets for a painting donated by Waimate artist Billy Scott.

Waimate Edwardian Heritage Group president Sandra Coles said the group was well known for dressing up, but the core of its activities was advocating for building protection and fundraising for restoration projects.

She expected up to 150 people to attend the weekend celebrations.

"The last time our event and the rally was on the same weekend was three years ago. We were at Seddon Square that weekend, and a lot of the motorcyclists came and had a look around and wanted their photos taken with us."

That was less likely this weekend, she said, as the Edwardian group's Saturday picnic is at Knottingley Park. Activities will include antiques appraisals, and competitions for best-dressed, and best picnic hamper.

An "Out of Africa" themed dinner will be held on Saturday night, and a church service on Sunday.

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- The Timaru Herald

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