Cape Town – Bear Racing was founded by engineering genius John Britten and his friends in the early 1980s as a formula under which to go racing with their Britbikes, BMWs and big Italian V-twins, without having to compete against the all-conquering Japanese musclebikes of the era.
BEAR, of course, is an acronym, standing for British, European and American Racing; in the intervening three decades however, Britten’s bright idea has evolved far beyond the racetrack to encompass any motorcycling event that focuses on motorcycles built in the western hemisphere – including cruisers such as Harley-Davidson and Victory, as well as dual-purpose beetle-crushers such as KTM.
And for South African riders of such bikes that means the annual Bear Rally and Motorcycle Show, at the Swellendam showgrounds in the Southern Cape, from Friday 10 March to Sunday 12 March.
In addition to the usual food outlets, clothing and biker paraphernalia stalls, live rock and contemporary music by Slowbone, Tuxedo, Aeron Brown and more, custom bike concours, lucky draw for big prizes and a mass ride through the town, there will also be a bar specialising in craft beer and cider (so you can build yourself a designer hangover) advanced riding demos, outrides and even a pop-up movie theatre showing classic biker movies.
Viper Lounge will be on site with a bike wash and a limited breakdown and workshop service and City Guns, in what may well be a first for a motorcycle rally, will offer their ‘Shooting Experience’.
There is plenty of space for camping on site or, for those who insist on hot and cold running water, a wide selection of accommodation is available in Swellendam. Entry to the rally costs R350 per person; you can even pitch up on a Japanese bike, although you may be asked to park it out of sight.
More information from the rally website.