The TriDays event in Austria is the newest of the one-brand bike gatherings, and it's probably the most eccentric.
The best known and established are BMW's Biker Meet in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the World Ducati Week in Bologna and Misano, with each claiming anything from 30,000 visitors upwards. A mere 10,000 are said to have visited this year's Triumph event, but they'd were treated to some odd and amusing visions of Austrian stereotypes of Englishness.
The event was set up seven years ago by Uli Brée for Triumph Germany as a European focal point for Triumph owners, inspired by the BMW and Ducati events, and the Austrian Tyrol town of Neukirchen was approached to host the event. The response was better than anyone could have hoped, to the point where Neukirchen changes its name for the Tridays week to Newchurch and even changes local laws to allow riders to parade up and down the main street without helmets.
Of course the event is a major income bonus for traders and businesses in the town, but the spirit of warmth towards the massive influx of visitors appears genuine - Neukirchen otherwise is a pretty quiet place in the summer, out of the ski season, but TriDays puts it firmly on the map.
Weird sights include a pair of miniature, solar-powered London buses driving around (the driver's head peers through the upper deck windows), various London Transport logos, the occasional Coldstream Guard complete with bearskin, or something like one anyway, and locals as well as visitors decking everything out in Union Jacks.
There's less going on than at the bigger budget German and Italian events, but for plenty of visitors, drinking beer, listening to the live bands, visiting the Hinckley Triumph museum and talking bikes is plenty anyway. The main street is lined with stalls selling bike accessories and Triumph-related gear, there are test rides available and ride-outs through the fabulous local scenery, and this year stunt rider Kevin Carmichael put on regular displays.
New for 2012 was the TriDays Rumble, a knockout dirt-track sprint between pairs of bikes, mostly the Bonneville-derived Scrambler models but with a handful of Meriden Triumphs, a Tiger and bizarrely, an MZ. The rider was wearing Union Jack boots though, so that's okay.
One of the most interesting was a customised Scrambler by Jens vom Brauck, called the Rumbler (of course...) and ridden by Brée at the Rumble. The bike is 22lb (10kg) lighter than stock and makes an additional 10bhp, and is fitted with Öhlins suspension front and rear. The rear wheel is an 18 incher and aggressive knobbly Pirellis are fitted.
The final though was an improbable showdown between a Tiger 800XC and lean and mean Meriden Bonneville, which came out on top after the Tiger became seriously crossed up on the far turn. All very exciting, and nearly as thrilling as watching the fabulous leaps of the startline girl...
Kevin's funeral was held on Thursday 28th February 2013 and was well attended by family, friends and colleagues.
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