Motorbike parade brings buzz to Faro.jpg

Motorbike parade brings buzz to Faro

THOUSANDS OF bikers took part in a parade along the EN125 in Faro last Sunday morning, bringing the 25th international Faro motorbike convention to an exhilarating close. Hundreds of people turned out to witness the spectacle, between the festival camp at Vale das Almas and downtown Faro, with particularly high numbers congregating on the airport road at Montenegro.

This annual event is the largest and arguably the best motorbike convention in Europe and is organised by the Moto Clube de Faro. According to José Amaro, the club’s president, attendance figures surpassed expectations this year, with numbers reaching a staggering 40,000 (10,000 more than had been originally forecast).

Just prior to the event last weekend, a widespread road safety campaign was launched throughout Faro, with posters requesting bikers to slow down and watch their speed. The good news is that the campaign may just have contributed to a better safety record this year. Eighteen accidents were reported over the long weekend, against 24 recorded during last year’s festival. This year, five people were seriously injured as a result of two crashes and two incidents were recorded where riders lost control of their bikes. Last year, two people died and three were seriously injured.

This annual event, although a major headache for the police, is seen as being very beneficial for the local economy, with many bikers eating at local restaurants and visiting shopping areas, as well as some preferring to stay in hotels rather than at the festival’s campsite.

“This is the best holiday

I’ve ever had”

On Saturday afternoon, The Resident’s Caroline Cunha caught up with two bikers who had driven all the way from England to take part in this year’s convention. Kevin Paice, from Saltburn-by-Sea in Cleveland, and Phil Barker, from Easton, in Bristol, are old friends and, after hearing so much about the motorbike convention in the Algarve (Kevin’s dad lives in Lisbon), decided to make the trip this year. Also, the pair admitted to being big Deep Purple fans and, on hearing that the band would be performing at the festival on Saturday night, it was an event they knew they just could not miss! Both men work in the building trade and took two weeks’ holiday to travel to Portugal.

“We have been to loads of bike meetings in England and also to the big bike convention in Italy, but this is our first time in Faro,” said Phil, who then went on to describe their journey. “We met up in Kent and then came across to France via the Channel Tunnel. We drove through France, Andorra, Madrid and then south to Malaga, stopping off at Gibraltar. We then drove down through Huelva, before finally arriving in Faro. I have driven 2,269 miles and Kev has done 100 miles more.” Phil rides a Yamaha XJR 1300 and Kevin a Harley Davidson FXD 1340.

Both bikers seemed pleased they had made the effort. “There’s a great atmosphere at the camp. Everyone is having a real laugh,” said Kevin. “There are people from so many difference places: Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, and of course Portugal. We have also come across quite a lot of people from England,” said Phil. “This is the best holiday I’ve ever had,” commented Kevin.

When asked about the facilities and the entertainment, both were very complimentary. “The facilities are great. The event is very well organised. There are lots of beer tents, leather stalls, tattoo studios and stands selling T-shirts,” said Phil, who also explained that two big raffles are held during the event: one to win a motorbike and another to win a holiday to America. “I really hope I win the bike,” said Kevin.

So, what about the entertainment? “There was a strip show last night (Friday), but we don’t remember much about it because we had quite a lot to drink!” they said. “What we are waiting for is Deep Purple, they play tonight,” said Kevin. Are they big fans? “You could say that, I’ve got all their albums!” he said.

When asked if they knew of any accidents that had taken place, Phil said that they had actually witnessed one outside Aquashow in Quarteira. “I think a car clipped a bike and the biker was lying on the ground. It didn’t look that serious though.”

So what were they doing arriving at Forum Algarve shopping centre? “We haven’t tried the food at the camp yet. I prefer Pizza Hut food, I really like their salad bar!” said Phil.