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Saturday, 22 October 2011

20th H.O.G. Rally And "Croatian Harley Days" Review

I posted back in January about the 20th European H.O.G Rally and Croatian "Harley Davidson Days" that took place on the Adriatiac coast in the town of Biograd na Moru from May 26th - 29th.  Tens of thousands of Harley enthusiasts as well as the riders themselves descended to Croatia to partake of the good times and festivities. Harley Davidson riders from Croatia, but most importantly, from all across Europe, came to join other motorcycle enthusiasts for sun and fun in the beautiful ancient city of Biograd. As an added bonus was all the tourist money that came rolling in with the bikes, and all the positive exposure. (But maybe the best news of all was that THIS messed up chick didn't show up in her Karadzic-Mladic pajamas and wacko Seselj teddy bear, along with all of her people).

A patch belonging to one of the Croatian Harley Owners Group members "Pleter Chapter Croatia HOG".

I told some people around here about it, they were considering doing some travelling in the area, but they decided to stick around and go to "The Greatest Show On Earth". There's not much more I can add, except that it was a resounding success. I've spent time travelling along the coast there on those very same scenic roads, so I know they all enjoyed the trek to Biograd. Everyone had a blast during the festivities, great food, music, motorcycles, drinks, all kinds of entertainment acts as well as Harley Davidson competitons for best custom bikes and other categories. And of course the gorgeous scenery. They even had police escorts all the way to Biograd during the Harley Parade to the city. It seems kind of fitting to have these kinds of events because afterall, motorcycles originated from the European continent. You can read the original post for more information HERE




Croatia could have been custom made for hosting a Harley party - great biking roads, breathtaking scenery, sunshine, beaches... and a final party with more than 20,000 Harley riders that traveled from all corners of Europe

From the hazy, rugged hills inland to the glistening Adriatic sea that hugs the Dalmatian coastline, Croatia certainly proved itself as a truly spectacular location to mark the 20th European H.O.G. Rally.

The bustling town of Biograd Na Moru, located midway along the western coast, was the epicentre of the celebrations. Its two-kilometre-long harbour promenade and beach was draped in black and orange as Harley-Davidson brought its legendary party to the town.

The Harley-Davidson Demo Experience marked the northern end of the site, by the ferry port, entertaining riders with the incredible 2011 model line-up, including the whole range from Sportsters to Cross Bones and the Touring models. A specially designed demo route gave riders the opportunity to experience the best roads the area has to offer, astride a motorcycle that made the ride truly memorable.

The new Jumpstart Experience - a Fat Boy at the Demo Ride area and a Sportster located further along the site near the Expo Tent - gave non-riders the chance to feel the power of riding a Harley-Davidson, without moving an inch! One participant said: "I've never even sat on a motorcycle before, not even as a passenger, and I was buzzing with adrenaline when I got off - I have to learn to ride one of these!"

The Harbour stage nearby provided music and entertainment during the afternoon and early evening, hosting bands including Heavy Metal Kids, The Crave, local band Prljavo Kazalište  and tribute acts to Zucchero and Rammstein.

A later updated video from a different perspective, this one from Harley riders arriving on ferries across from Italy.

Amusing footage from 2011, the arriving Harley riders even getting a police escort into the town of Biograd na Moru. Because I get so many requests about interesting history facts...this scene reminds me of what it must have been like when the Croatian tribes in the 6th-7th century arrived on the local scene. (according to the 30th and 31st chapter of De Administrando Imperio by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII and other sources, the pagan Croatian tribes during the time of Emperor Heraclius arrived in ancient Dalmatia, Pannonia and Illyricum from areas north of Bavaria, the Danube river and in and around the Carpathians. They arrived bringing hope, freedom and protection from the marauding pillaging mounted cut-throat barbarians found terrorizing the areas making them desolate, after they killed most of them and sent the remaining few packing, the Croat tribes then set up their own realms and duchies with freedom, peace and security. Wow what epic glorious times those were too, I'm sure they had some some good celebratory barbecue feasts, wines and good mead after the battles also, although they didn't ride Harley's of course but instead rode horses with swords and spears and cool helmets, but still their arrival bringing glorious freedom was pretty cool and similar like this probably)

For party goers left wanting more, the party moved south to the Beach stage which saw breathtaking fire and acrobatic displays from Flowfuzion, the Katy Shotter Band, popular classic, Queen on Fire, High on Heels and a Rolling Stones tribute act. An after-hours DJ Tower marked the southern end of the event site on the beach.

Along the promenade, local bars and restaurants overlook the sea, a view temporarily complemented by a line of beautiful Harleys. The main entrance to the site was a hive of activity during the event, with Harley-Davidson Berlin, event merchandise and H.O.G. Hospitality areas drawing the shoppers and spectators to watch the bikes pour in.

Friday's Custom Bike Show moved out of town, to the neighbouring city of Zadar to the north. The show was held at the beautiful point named Salute to the Sun, beyond Zadar's old town and harbour and attracted a range of beautiful motorcycles from across Europe that competed for first and second place in one of 10 categories. Additional prizes included the coveted People's Choice, Best in Show and, of course, as an Affiliate AMD World Championship event, the Best Modified Harley class where the prize is a trip to Sturgis to compete at the World Championship of Custom Bike Building, won by Tomaz Capuder from Dream Machine Motorcycles in Slovenia with his beautifully modified VRod.

Between Biograd and Zadar, and beyond, visitors to the event were spoilt with magnificent biking roads. A real bikers paradise, the coastal roads feature a mix of hairpins, long sweeping bends, tunnels buried through the rocks, great road surfaces, and all set against the backdrop of the gleaming blue Adriatic Sea.

The terrain in Croatia is rugged, with a mix of rocks, forests, mountains and of course, the islands. To help visitors make the most of what this country has to offer, the Pleter chapter designed a number of guided and self-guided tours.

Saturday's parade saw more than 3,000 bikes line-up at Zadar's Falkensteiner camping ground. As the line of thundering Harleys made its way south on the road to Biograd, spectators lined the streets, creating a spine-tingling atmosphere that represents everything Harley-Davidson and H.O.G. stands for.

With the sun setting on the final night of partying, drawing the first Croatia Harley Days and 20th European H.O.G. rally to a close, the 65,000 people who have enjoyed this experience look forward to the next adventure... Did someone say Portugal...?

Footage of the custom bikes competitions which took place up the coast in the city of Zadar.

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