20th Jun 2012 - REVIEW – Cool Cascais
Portugal rumbled with the sound of the Harley-Davidson® V-Twin as more than 60,000 people flocked to the coastal town of Cascais for the 21st European H.O.G.® Rally in June
The beautiful fishing town of Cascais, just 25km from Lisbon, became the thumping heart of this year's rally calendar as members rode from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to be part of the 21st European H.O.G. Rally.
The rugged Atlantic coast provided the perfect backdrop for the 12,000 bikes that descended on this Portuguese region. With plenty of bars and restaurants for H.O.G.® members to chill out and enjoy local cuisine, and a mass of amazing roads on which to ride, H.O.G. certainly picked a perfect location for its annual event.
The one-way path through the cobbled harbour saw a constant stream of Harley-Davidson motorcycles mingle with the buzzing crowds as they relaxed in the sun, shopped in the local dealer tents and enjoyed meeting up with friends old and new in the H.O.G. Central and hospitality areas.
H.O.G. members were made to feel incredibly welcome in Cascais. Many hotels laid on exclusive bike parking for attendees and the entire town centre was closed off for bikes only. Local restaurants and bars offered Harley-Davidson-themed drinks, and black and orange flags and banners dressed the whole town.
The main stage was located right in front of the beach and the Harley Bar itself was moored in the sand overlooking the harbour. During the three-day event, visitors partied to the medleys of the Bogus Brothers, rocked to the modern covers by Belgian band Les Truttes and sang along to Saturday night's tribute acts to Led Zeppelin, Elvis and Abba! Pop duo Ultimate Power and solo artist John Fairhurst entertained the crowds in the Harley Bar.
The event site spread itself from the main harbour down to the marina. Nestled among the yachts, the fully functional Technical Area offered fast-track servicing and repairs while the Demo Experience offered visitors free demo rides on new Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the opportunity to enjoy the local roads. Jumpstart saw many non-riders experience the power of these incredible motorcycles without moving an inch! With a bar and hospitality lounge, many visitors found the marina the perfect place to relax and watch the world of Harley-Davidson go by...
The event kicked off with a welcome party on Thursday night with a barbecue on the beach hosted by the Cascais City Hall. Friday saw visitors explore the beautiful roads of Portugal – coastal roads with beautiful scenery overlooking the Atlantic and its sandy shores coupled with roads that snake their way through the hills and eucalyptus tree-lined valleys.
Right in front of the Estoril Casino, against the backdrop of its dramatic fountains, H.O.G. members from across Europe rode their customised Harley-Davidson motorcycles into the Custom Bike Show for a chance to win a trophy in one of the categories. Tony Stephenson from Polar Cycles in the UK topped the show with Best in Show for his custom V-Rod with impressively engineered air suspension, while Gary France, also from the UK, celebrated the People's Choice win with his beautiful Softail featuring stunning engraving by well-known engraver Don Bloxidge, an icon in custom bike circles during the late '60s and early '70s.
On Saturday, 7,000 bikes took part in the famous Parade of Flags which started at the Estoril racetrack. The opening lap was led by Scania before the trail of bikes headed out on to the Portuguese roads for a 32km ride. The spectacular sights and sounds drew massive crowds that lined the streets between Cascais and Lisbon.
As the sun set on yet another fantastic H.O.G. event, visitors wondered where the journey would take them next year...
Follow us on Twitter to be the first to know where the H.O.G. Rally will be in 2013! twitter.com/hogeurope
Custom Bike Show – the results
First place – Ian Solley, UK (1066 Chapter)
Second place – Jean-Marie Servignat, France
First place – Zak Stephenson, UK
Second place – Ismael Garcia Nora, Spain (Madrid Chapter)
First place – Charlie France, UK (Chelsea and Fulham Chapter)
Second place – Florian von Zuendt, Germany
First place – Ralph Plocher, Germany
Second place – Jean Emile Coucke, France (Nantes Ocean Chapter)
First place – James Rollo, Scotland
Second place – Alex Shannon, Scotland
Ladies of Harley
First place – Cristina Chatti, Spain
Second place – Sue O'Grady, UK (Doncaster St Leger Chapter)
First place – Philippe Beaujean, France (Esterel Chapter)
First place – Phil Walker, UK
Second place – Brian Southgate, UK (Chelsea and Fulham Chapter)
First place – Joe Rossi, Italy
Second place – Emanuele Laconi, Italy
Gary France, UK (Chelsea and Fulham Chapter)
Best in Show
Tony Stephenson, UK
This year's Chapter Challenge was won by Chelsea & Fulham Chapter.
The oldest rider was Mr Frits Ten Bruggen from Groningen Chapter, Holland, who is 81 years young! The furthest travelled was Josef Frackowiak from Wroclaw Chapter, Poland, who rode 7,200km.
Great thanks and appreciation to the following people for their support, dedication and contribution to making the event a huge success:
Cascais City Hall
Wheeler End Studios