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Paradise Lost? – Boven loses annual bike rally

It has been reported to THG that the 2014 Paradise Motorcycle Rally, held in Waterval Boven at the end of May this year, was the last Paradise for the town. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach rally organiser, Simon Fourie - Editor of Bike SA magazine, for confirmation, THG has been reliable informed from a number of sources that the rally would “definitely not be coming back”.

It would seem that the reasons behind the decision are many. Among the most cited were: unsuitability of the FET College grounds as a venue – coupled with the high costs charged to the rally organisers by the college, lack of suitable infrastructure in the town itself to cater for and entertain rally-goers, as well as the negative attitudes prevalent among some Boven residents as far as hosting the rally was concerned, not least of which was the (reportedly) poor attitude of the Boven Ratepayers Association. All these and other allegations can, unfortunately, not be proven – one way or the other – and must remain as merely rumour and hearsay. The bottom line, however, remains unchanged – no matter who was wholly or partly to blame – the rally is gone and won’t be back. And that is bad news for Boven – period.

In a (supposedly) “enlightened” 2014, it would have been hoped that opponents of the rally would have got beyond seeing bikers as something other than their old-fashioned stereotype of being noisy, long-haired, leather-clad, drunken troublemakers. That verkrampte viewpoint went out with the ox-wagons. The average biker these days is no such thing. So they like to party and have fun. So what? They are no different from rugby supporters, golfers, fishermen – you name it. In reality, what they are, and what they represent to a small town like Boven and its struggling businesses is a much-needed economic shot in the arm. One of the few remaining events on the annual Boven calendar, and, instead of welcoming them with open arms, they have, in effect, been chased away. And for those who think that’s no big loss, go and talk to virtually any business owner in Dullstroom and ask them about their takings following the hugely successful HOG Rally held in the town in early September…


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