Words & Photos: Courtesy of Harley-Davidson ANZ
With 2023 marking the 120th birthday of Harley-Davidson and the 40th Anniversary since the foundation of the Harley Owners’ Group (H.O.G.), there was twice the reason to celebrate at this year’s edition of the National H.O.G. Rally, which took place over three big days at The Bend Motorsport Park near Adelaide.
Held from 22 to 24 September, the 2023 National H.O.G. Rally saw enthusiasts cover distances of up to 3,000 km, riding from as far as Mount Isa in Queensland and across the Nullarbor from Western Australia to attend. There was an international contingent for the momentous occasion, too, with everyone there to celebrate the rich legacy of the world’s most-desirable motorcycle brand.
There were plenty of highlights of the 2023 Harley-Davidson National H.O.G. Rally. Here’s just a few…
HOGFest – Performances by Iconic Aussie Rockers
Bringing the rock to the Rally, none other than The Angels headlined the main stage on the evening of Saturday, 23 September. The iconic Aussie band, along with artists Richard Clapton, fan favourites The Screaming Eagles and a Skyhooks Tribute band, saw attendees coming together to sing their favourite tunes well into the South Australian night.
New 2023 CVO Motorcycles
With fresh models from the factory CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) range released earlier this year, September’s Rally provided the first opportunity for many attendees to see the 2023 CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide models in the metal. Along with a new look, these motorcycles also boast advanced technology, enhanced rider comfort and dynamic performance. Powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight VVT 121 engine, these striking, stylish new CVO models were welcomed by enthusiasts.
Known as the Olympics of the Harley-Davidson world, the Chapter Games were definitely a highlight for many at this year’s Rally, whether they were participating or just spectating. Old favourite contests, including tug of war and the infamous motorcycle egg and spoon race, made a return this year, with riding skill tests, tyre throwing and other fun competitions in the mix, too. The all-in enthusiasm saw great representation, with 44 Australian and 6 New Zealand H.O.G. chapters in action, along with chapters from as far away as the Philippines, Ireland, the UK and Chile.
In what proved to be a nail-biting competitive battle that lasted right to the end, the Sunshine Coast H.O.G Chapter were crowned the overall winners, beating the runners-up by just one point!
Show 'n' Shine
Encompassing the spirit of community pride synonymous with H.O.G, the Rally’s Show ’n’ Shine saw members presenting their rides and duking it out for a variety of category honours, based on Harley-Davidson model families.
In an incredible showcase of motorcycle beauty from 120 years of The Motor Company, the following H.O.G members went home with well-deserved trophies.
- Best Tourer - Rob Thrift, Swan River Chapter
- Best Trike - Willy Wood, Perth Chapter
- Best Street 500 - Elizabeth Harley, Yarra Valley Chapter
- Best Classic – 1910’s – Peter Marshall, Canberra Chapter
- Best Classic – 1930’s – Peter Marshall, Canberra Chapter
- Best Classic – 1940’s – Robert Gorman, Canberra Chapter
- Best Sportster - David Hamono, Dandenong Chapter
In an event that proudly invited members of the public to hear and experience the thrills involved in the world of Harley-Davidson, the renowned Thunder Run for this year’s H.O.G. National Rally roared with 1,500 motorcycles taking off on a parade of epic proportions around The Bend circuit. The glittering chrome, sparkling paint and rumbling engines attracted onlookers to the track’s perimeter to see, hear and feel the power of Harley-Davidson.
A Fantastic 40th
Commenting on this year’s momentous National H.O.G. Rally, Nigel Keough, Managing Director of H-D Australia and New Zealand, said: “This was an event like no other. Seeing the community come together from near and far to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 120th anniversary and the HOG’s 40th was breath-taking.
“My personal highlight was the Thunder Run. We had over 1,500 gleaming motorcycles flowing around the Bend - the sight and sound was something I’ll never forget.
“We now turn our attention to laying the future for motorcycle culture, drawing on our rich history, but also continuing to invest in the innovation and evolution of our models to allow riders the continued pursuit of adventure. Here’s to the next 120 years of riding!”
For more from Harley-Davidson, including the current range of cruiser, touring and adventure motorcycles, upcoming models, factory accessories and apparel, events and more, go to Harley-Davidson.
For more on the benefits of H.O.G. membership and to find a chapter near you, go to: Harley-Davidson HOG
Harley Owners Group mark 40 years with ‘HOG40’ custom Low Rider ST.
Ahead of this year’s Harley Owners’ Group National Rally, Harley-Davidson commissioned a one-off motorcycle - the ‘HOG40’ - to celebrate 40 years since the foundation of H.O.G. in 1983.
This year’s National Rally was always going to be a big one, but the HOG40 added to the excitement in the lead up to the September event.
“Our HOG40 build is a commemorative salute to all our amazing customers who put in the miles on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” said H-D ANZ Managing Director, Nigel Keough. “It represents 40 years of celebration for the largest riding group in the world and was designed to reflect the legacy from 1983.”
Created by the team at Adelaide Harley-Davidson Bike Works, HOG40 is based on a 2023 Low Rider ST, which is already a potent machine out of the crate, as it’s powered by the top-spec Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine with Heavy Breather intake. To this, the Adelaide H-D Bike Works team added some extras, including lots of goodies from the Genuine Parts & Accessories catalogue.
The unique paint scheme was designed by Custom Digital in South Australia and applies the Bar & Shield logo to the fairing, eagles to the fuel tank and the distinctive HOG40 logo to the Low Rider ST’s hard panniers. Running through these three key body elements is a line that Keough says is symbolic of the connection that Harley-Davidson owners have with their motorcycles. A similar orange line on the top of the fuel tank, that’s rendered like a lit fuse, is continued on the rear mudguard.
Ahead of its appearance at September’s National H.O.G. Rally, HOG40 went on show at Harley-Davidson dealerships in Victoria and New South Wales in August.
Dave Genat, host of Harley-Davidson’s Free Rider YouTube series, was one of the first to ride HOG40 on the road, taking the customised Low Rider ST from Adelaide Harley-Davidson Bike Works to The Bend, where he cut a few laps and experienced what it will be like to run the quarter mile at the new ‘Dragway’ extension of this massive motorsport complex.