Rocking And Riding In Portugal – the 28th European H.O.G. Rally
The 28th European H.O.G. Rally, held on the weekend of June 13-16 2019, proved to be an outstanding success. More than 50,000 attendees from 32 countries descended on the Portuguese Atlantic Coast for a long weekend of rocking and riding.
The perfect venue
More than 29,000 bikes made their way to the city of Cascais for the free and open event, which takes place in a different part of Europe every year. Harley® riders travelled from as far afield as Brazil, Russia, Canada and the USA to be part of the annual Harley-Davidson® celebration, and found themselves mingling and partying with the locals. It perfectly demonstrated the camaraderie that is at the heart of the Harley Owners Group®.
This year’s event was organised in close co-operation with the city of Cascais, and motorcycles were given exclusive access to the main site for four full days. Situated just 30km west of Lisbon, Cascais is a picture-perfect coastal city, surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful countryside; the town itself is a maze of cobbled streets leading down to its historic harbour and beachfront.
VIP guests from Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee included Karen Davidson, great grand-daughter of original company founder William A Davidson, and the company’s global Chief Financial Officer, John Olin. Karen spent time at the event mixing with members and locals, signing jackets and bikes, leading the parade and presenting the prizes in the famous Custom Bike Show.
The famous bike parade was one of the highlights on Saturday, when 7,500 bikes including chapter representatives and flag-bearers from scores of global H.O.G. chapters took part in a cavalcade of steel and chrome, stretching more than 11km and passing through some of the most beautiful countryside and urban areas in western Europe. The parade started with a circuit of the Autódromo do Estoril racetrack, before travelling 32km along the Sintra hills and along the Atlantic coast, taking in Cabo da Roca, mainland Europe’s closest point to USA. Cheering crowds greeted the riders along every stretch of the route.
Competitions and celebrations
There was plenty of action on-site too, including the famous ride-in Custom Bike Show, where custom builders and owners from across Europe presented their beautiful machines and competed for prizes. Meanwhile, the Expo area had the complete range of current Harley-Davidson bikes on display, including the hotly anticipated LiveWire™ electric motorcycle, which was available for potential customers to try on the ‘Jumpstart’ rolling road. An expansive retail area gave attendees the opportunity to buy memorabilia and clothing to celebrate the event, alongside dealer areas from Portugal and Germany.
Guided tours from the local Lisboa Chapter gave riders yet another opportunity to take in the outstanding scenery and quiet local villages surrounding the area, and upon their return to the site they were able to make the most of the huge Harley bar, which provided a chilled-out setting with drinks, snacks and DJ sets, as well as a beach party and barbecue for H.O.G. members. 500 commemorative pins were made available for early attendees – a move that proved so popular that they were all gone by Thursday!
Evenings saw the beachside main stage light up the site with local bands, tribute acts and a barnstorming performance from headline act The Picturebooks, who rode to the event from Germany, and who set the crowd rocking into the night on Saturday. A raffle draw saw one lucky couple and their friends enjoying leading the parade alongside Karen Davidson.
A roaring success
According the Cascais city authorities, the rally resulted in nearly 100% capacity for the municipality’s hotels and restaurants, and the local economy is estimated to have benefited to the tune of more than €15m over the course of the event.
Bev English, International Events Manager at Harley-Davidson, said: “I’d like to thank the thousands of riders who travelled from near and far to make the 28th Annual European H.O.G. Rally in Cascais such a special event. Demand for everything, from demo rides to merchandise, to the people queuing for Jumpstart and Expo, was incredible and the beautiful weather in Cascais created an amazing setting that no-one will ever forget. I’d also like to extend my thanks to the people of Cascais and the surrounding area, who embraced us and made it a truly outstanding experience.”
The 29th Annual European H.O.G. Rally will take place in Portorož, Slovenia, from June 18-20, 2020.