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Wet roads, dry pubs bikie run

November 28, 2009

Wet roads, dry pubs bikie run

TORRENTIAL rain failed to deter hundreds of protesting bikies, who faced a massive police presence and the forced closure of three Hills pubs on their route yesterday.

Bikies

Glen Osmond Rd During the UMC Poker run from Adelaide to Macclesfield

The peaceful convoy of nearly 200 motorcycles headed to Macclesfield in the rain yesterday to raise funds to fight the State Government’s anti-association bikie laws.

Locals and publicans who were outraged at the order to lock up three hotels instead provided street refreshments and told them they were welcome back.

At least 13 police vehicles led the procession at noon from Whitmore Sq and up the freeway, before slowly winding through Hahndorf and arriving in Macclesfield about an hour later.

As they pulled in they were welcomed by a hand-painted sign announcing: “Bikers welcome, Rann’s Nazis p – – – off.”

United Motorcycle Council committee member Tom Mackie said he was happy with the turnout.

“We expected about 300 to 400 (riders and passengers) and that’s what we got today,” he said. “The grog was not an issue, we’d only consume one beer at each stop, it’s just an irritation.”

The Sunday Mail saw riders representing various groups riding together, including the Gypsy Jokers, Rebels, Finks, Descendants, Long Riders, Vietnam Riders and the Hells Angels and riders from WA and NSW.

They were all barred from entering the Macclesfield Hotel, the Macclesfield Three Brothers Arms Hotel and the McLaren Vale Hotel after police successfully argued that they could not cope with the expected crowd.

Instead they mingled outside, buying coffee and hot dogs from street stalls before leaving together under police escort about an hour later.

Macclesfield Hotel publican Michael McMahon, who has been running the hotel for seven weeks, said he was licensed for 185 patrons.

“I tried to stay open. These guys aren’t here to cause me grief,” he said. “I’ve lost trade, I could have got four or five kegs out of this if they all had a beer each, and I’ve already ordered up the stock.”

One resident, known locally as Maccy Bob, said: “It’s outrageous. It’s politicians hiding behind coppers, using the liquor licensing legislation.”

The 62-year-old claimed the previous week’s Classic Adelaide Rally proved the local pubs could cope with large crowds. “A sporting car club might do a run of 300 to 400 cars, and they wouldn’t close (pubs) down and the locals are up in arms. It’s a democracy,” he said.

Biker groups are fighting an appeal by the State Government in the Supreme Court following a ruling that the Government’s controversial control order laws were invalid.

Premier Mike Rann said yesterday he would never change his stance on illegal motorcycle gangs no matter how many protests were held, and he supported the large police presence and the closure of various pubs. “It’s a matter of public safety,” he said.

Police said there had been only one arrest during the event by 5pm yesterday, on a warrant.

The 23-year-old, allegedly a member of the Rebels motorcycle club, was arrested over firearms charges and will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on December 23.

One person was reported for driving while disqualified, and eight defect and nine expiation notices were issued.

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