Brechin’s summer Harley-Davidson festival is back on track after breakaway enthusiasts stepped in to save the event.
Just days after the Bravo Brechin community group delivered the shock announcement that the plug had been pulled on the Harley-Davidson in The City motorcycle extravaganza, key figures in the past growth of the event have pledged to step in to avert the loss of the major crowd-puller.
It is now scheduled for July 15/16, with high hopes that last year’s total of over 500 motorcycles and some 8,000 visitors will be at least repeated, if not bettered.
Edinburgh Harley-Davidson has also signalled its support for the Angus event, forged on the back of Brechin’s connection to the famous marque through the Davidson family home at Netherton cottage, near the town.
Organisational pressures and the absence of official Harley-Davidson approval were cited by Bravo Brechin as reasons for the 2017 event not going ahead.
“Bravo Brechin’s decision to cancel the 2017 Harley-Davidson in the City event has been met with general dismay, and the reasons stated have caused some angst,” said a spokesman.
“A number of those who have been involved in the organising and running of the event over the years felt there were options which could still be explored to try and run the event.
“While no written permission has yet been issued by Harley-Davidson to confirm permission for the use of the name in the event title, conversations had been held between Kirk Hale, dealer principal of Edinburgh Harley-Davidson and Harley-Davidson UK in Oxford, which have intimated consent would be issued and no problems were envisaged.”
The spokesman also rejected an earlier suggestion that the manufacturer had tried to block last year’s event as false.
“We have taken the plunge to run the event ourselves for the benefit of local businesses, the community of Brechin and for Angus as a whole,” he added.
“Last year there were over 500 bikes in attendance, drawing in an audience over the Saturday of nearly 8,000 people, both of which have a significant impact on the town and the surrounding area, and to have lost this event, even for a year, would be tragic.”
“It was quickly clear there was a definite desire to try and make sure the event happened, and after a few phone conversations with the Harley-Davidson dealership in Edinburgh, a way was found that we could make the event happen and we are delighted to be able to do so.”
“While the event has this very specific link with the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, it has always welcomed all makes to participate in both the ride-out and the park and display in the town centre,” the spokesman added.
“In the past it has attracted custom racing teams, bikes built by pros and amateurs, customised Harley-Davidsons, as well as many major motorcycle makes and of course the famous Harley-Davidson bike in great numbers on the ride-out.
“It feels like a celebration festival of the motorcycle rather just than an exhibition of bikes,” the spokesman said.
Kirk Hale, dealer principal at Edinburgh Harley-Davidson added: “As a Harley-Davidson dealership, we have always supported HDITC in Brechin, and have found it to be a well-organised event, as well as commercially beneficial.
“I am therefore delighted to be able to give both my personal and business support to the HDITC organising team for the 2017 event, and will do everything in my power to make the event the success it has been in the past.
The aim is for the 2017 event to kick off with a rock night in Brechin’s City Hall on Friday July 14, followed by a country and western night in the same venue the following evening after the main town centre spectacle and ride out.