Published: 23/08/2012 17:10 - Updated: 23/08/2012 17:26

Thousands of Harleys gear up for Aviemore visit

Thousands of Harley fans are heading to the strath for the weekend
Thousands of Harley fans are heading to the strath for the weekend

More than 4,000 Harley-Davidson bikers are set to descend on the strath this weekend for the ever popular Thunder in the Glens.

Organiser George ‘Maddog’ McGuire predicts that about 4,200 Harley fans will attend the Aviemore-based rally – equalling last year’s record – with 3,500 bikes taking part.

Mr McGuire said: "We should have similar numbers to last year. People contact us from across Europe about coming. It’s all by word of mouth, we don’t advertise the event.

"As well as visitors from Europe we have six people travelling from South Africa, who are hiring bikes in Newcastle to go to and from the rally, as well as some Americans."

He added: "The rally is win-win situation, as everyone who goes along to it has a great time.

"Local businesses make money off it and we raise funds for charity.

"You don’t have to be a biker to enjoy the rally. Everyone is invited to come along."

This year’s Thunder in the Glens will again include the annual ride-out from Aviemore at midday on Saturday along Grampian Road to The Square in Grantown, where the town’s business association is hosting a "Taste of Scotland" festival.

The rally will also feature music acts across the weekend, including Grantown group The Lost, winners of the rally’s previous Battle of the Bands competition, who have been invited back to play.

The climax of all the musical acts will be Steve Steinman’s musical stage show, Vampires Rock, late on Sunday in the Osprey Arena at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

Other attractions at the event will include a chainsaw artist carving a Harley-Davidson out of wood at The Green in Aviemore during the course of Sunday afternoon.

There will also be rides on the backs of the Harleys on offer to raise money for the rally’s chosen charities for this year.

Some money will go to the charity Cash for Kids, while the rest will be used to help teenager Samantha Kinghorn.

The schoolgirl was badly injured after being crushed by snow and ice which fell from the roof of her family’s farm near Gordon, in the Borders, in December, 2010.

Samantha broke her back in the accident and was told she would never walk again. However, she has become an accomplished wheelchair racer and is hoping to compete at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Organisers hope that Samantha and her mother will be able to attend the rally.

Thunder in the Glens, organised by the Dunedin Chapter, has taken place for the past 15 years.

Over the last few years the number of bikers has increased from 700 to the approximately 4,200 expected to attend this year.

The Cairngorms Business Partnership (CBP) estimates that the Harley rally injects about £1 million into the local economy.

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