All roads lead to Loch Laird

Ready to rumble . . . Neil Smith can't wait to get on his Custom Triumph Bobber at this weekend's Thunder in the Valley.

Hundreds of motorbikes will be revving at Loch Laird this weekend.

The appropriately named Thunder in the Valley is attracting up to 1000 participants from all over the country, Waitaki Recreational Club president Neil Smith said.

Funds from Thunder in the Valley would go towards a floating wharf pontoon to be located at Parsons Rock, so boaties could load and unload passengers. It would cost just over $50,000, Mr Smith said.

The club has had design and engineering reports drawn up, sourced half the materials needed, and was getting resource consents, he said.

He had been hoping for ‘‘a few hundred people turning up’’ at the rally, but queries had boomed since Monday’s public holiday to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth II was announced.

Thunder in the Valley was ‘‘the first off the rank for the rally season’’, Mr Smith said.

After last year’s rally had to be cancelled due to Covid, motorbike riders were extra keen to get going.

‘‘We’re all chomping at the bit.’’

There were multiple attractions for the motorcyclists at Loch Laird, such as bike shows, live bands, and fire drums.

The club was established three years ago. It began as ‘‘a few guys riding motorbikes’’, then developed into a club, and was now an incorporated society, he said.

It holds activities two or three times a year, raising funds to be given to community groups.

Last year it distributed about $7000, including $2000 each to the Omarama and Otematata emergency first response units. Schools were also given money for sports equipment.

Other clubs have been given the opportunity to take part in the Thunder in the Valley and raise their own funds. One was the Kurow Rugby Club, which would be operating abar at the event.

The Waitaki Recreational Club’s committee of seven had been working for the past six months to get the necessary permits and ensure all safety measures for the event were in place, Mr Smith said.

The rally runs from noon today until noon on Sunday. Participants had to be registered and would be allocated a wristband.

The public was invited to go along on Saturday to make a donation and see the bikes. They would be given a wristband of a different colour.

Mr Smith said the Loch Laird location was ‘‘a great spot, quite sheltered under the [Benmore] dam’’.

Information on the rally was available on the club’s website and Facebook page.