Planning under way for 40th — and last — Brass Monkey Rally - 14th Feb 2020

Planning under way for 40th — and last — Brass Monkey Rally

The annual roar of hundreds of motorcycles echoing off the frozen hills of the Ida Valley will soon be a memory.

The 40th Otago Motorcycle Club Brass Monkey Rally at Oturehua, in the Maniototo, on May 30-31, will be its final run.

The Brass Monkey is one of New Zealand’s longest running and best known motorcycle rallies.

It is understood a lack of younger riders and increasing bureaucracy were key factors in the rally’s demise.

Rally committee chairman Alan Dodds confirmed this year’s rally would be the last but would not be drawn on the reasons why yesterday.

"Well, everyone is asking that question. It is the final one," he said. "That’s all I’ve got to say."

Mr Dodds said organisers were meeting next week to discuss this year’s event and he would be in a position to say more then.

Rally committee spokesman John Willems said there were no "bad" reasons why the rally would not return in 2021.

He said he would also be in a position to talk more after the meeting and planning was still under way for the final rally.

Some regular rally-goers claimed they were "too long in the tooth" and cited a lack of "young blood" to keep the annual Central Otago institution going.

"They’ve been doing this for 40 years," one man, who did not wish to be named, said.

Another said he believed red tape, particularly health and safety, and special liquor licences were the problem.

Because of this, it was increasingly difficult to hold rallies and several clubs in New Zealand had stopped running events, he said.

Central Otago District Council planning officer Adam Vincent confirmed a special liquor licence was required, as were various other permissions.

The rally has been held since 1981 at Idaburn dam over Queen’s Birthday weekend, usually in freezing conditions.

It has previously drawn 1500-2000 motorcyclists, but last year about 950 riders attended.

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