Pic1 - slug Buff 1 or Buff 2 At the Buffalo Rally 2014 being held in Mossel Bay this weekend, Cape Town bikers Tim Clarke and Dora Ngan on a CJ750, a Chinese military bike built in the 1960's picture Tanya Waterworth

Mossel Bay - Thousands of bikers from across the country arrived here on Friday for the start of the 37th Buffalo Rally, amid concerns that it may be the “last Buff in the Bay”.

Hosted by the Nomads Motorcycle Club, this is the ninth year the rally has been held in Mossel Bay, and Nomads chairman Luderick Jacoby confirmed the club was in negotiations with the local municipality about extending its contract to keep the rally there.

Bikers arriving for the rally were, however, saying they’d heard this would be the last time the popular rally would be held in Mossel Bay.

Jacoby said at the rally site on Friday:

“Our current contract runs out this year, but we are already in negotiations to extend it for another three years.”

Mossel Bay Tourism chairwoman Jeannetta Marais said they had also met the municipality during the week, and that the matter was already on the table.

“As far as tourism is concerned, the Buffalo Rally is very important for the town, and we will be going out of our way to help in this regard,” she said.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and will be looking forward to welcoming all the bikers back here next year.”

Saying that all accommodation in the town was full this weekend, Marais added that the Buffalo Rally made a significant contribution to the local economy.

“We also see this event as an important showcase for Mossel Bay as a holiday destination.

“Our ‘Mild Season’ tourism campaign, which runs from May to August, is approaching when there will be lots of specials and discounts available, so we are hoping many of the bikers will come back with their families.”

Mossel Bay Round Table chairman Edward Weston said the rally was its biggest fundraising event of the year.

It would be manning the beer tents in the rally grounds next to Santos beach, along with NSRI volunteers and community members.

Round Table proceeds from the beer tents at previous rallies have gone towards the cost of building a R400 000 home which was opened at the Khanyisa Day Care Centre in Kwanqoba in 2013.

The Buffalo Rally was first held in 1969 in Bathurst in the Eastern Cape, with 250 entrants. It has since been hosted at a number of venues, including Aliwal North, Oudtshoorn and Port Elizabeth.

There was a nine-year break when in 1984 the Port Elizabeth council refused the Nomads Club permission to use facilities there. The rally began again in 1993.

Weekend Argus