Cape Town: Saturday 11 November will see the fourth annual Poppy Day Run, hosted by the Cape Town chapter of the Hells Angels, and their second annual Bike Build-Off.
It’s appropriate that the second Saturday in November, the traditional date for this run, falls on 11 November this year, for it was at 11am on the 11th of November 1918 the guns fell silent after four long bitter years of what was hoped would be the war to end war.
But that was not to be, and since then the armistice date of what has come to be known as the First World War has been commemorated as Poppy Day, named for the flowers that grew in the fields of France and Belgium where an entire generation of Europe’s brightest and bravest young men gave their lives in the cause of peace.
It’s a day when we remember the young people who never came back, and even more so those who came back scarred inside and out, from the dozens of conflicts that have wracked our planet in the past century.
Bikers know better than most that life is fragile; they honour their fallen not with quiet grief but with a noisy celebration of their lives. Thus the day will start at 10am with a mass ride from the Hells Angels clubhouse at 221 Kings Road, Brooklyn to the Fort Wynyard military museum in Green Point.
Biker Build Off
There, each rider will be asked to donate R50 to the South African Cape Corps Military Veterans Association, to help it carry out its duties in terms of the Military Veterans Act of uniting ex-soldiers of the Cape Corps and ensuring that they are registered on the national base, to enjoy the benefits they’ve earned.
In return, each rider - and all riders on all types of motorcycles are welcome - will receive a token, and will be asked to drop it into the ballot box in front of one of the three handbuilt custom bikes on display in the courtyard.
These are the entries for the Biker Build Off, constructed to a simple but exacting set of rules. The entrants are allowed no longer than 100 days to create their machines - which have to running and rideable on the day - and a budget of no more than R95 000: R45 000 for the donor bike and R50 000 for parts and materials. They’re allowed to put in as much labour as they want.
Spirit of the occasion
Your job will be to choose the one you think best embodies displays the spirit of the occasion and the attention to detail that lifts custom machinery above the unskilled ‘shed build’ category, and vote for it with your token. The votes will be tallied at 1pm and the winning bike will be announced immediately thereafter.
The three entrants for the 2017 Biker Build Off are Warren Strydom of Anvl Kraft, Grant Rossouw of Wrench Monkey and Alex Stoos of Stoos Customs.
There will also be food and drink available at Ford Wynyard, pit-bike racing, a wreath-laying ceremony, a military strongman competition, an ‘Ouman’ 2.4km race and an army/navy boxing tournament.