Organisers decided to “take the risk” and allow campers to return to their usual camping site
Organisers have described this year’s bikers rally in Faro as “positive” despite all the issues affecting it, from a massive fire breaking out nearby two days before it started to the restrictions imposed by the State of Contingency called by the government due to the nationwide fire risks.
“It was positive, given all the anomalies that occurred,” said the president of the Faro Moto Club, José Amaro, adding that it attracted around 35,000 bikers to the Algarvian capital.
Speaking to Lusa news agency, he admitted that there had to be some slight rule-bending to ensure the event was successful.
The event’s camping site was moved to an urban area in Faro to lower the risk of fires breaking out, but, according to Amaro, it did not have the needed conditions to welcome campers.
Thus, organisers decided to “take the risk” and allow campers to return to their usual camping site, as otherwise “people’s security would have been at risk”.
“We could not use land that was not compatible with what was needed and where there wasn’t enough space to welcome the people who travelled here,” said Amaro.
He elaborated on the issues in an interview with RR radio, stating that the land was “not clean” and had more forest density and debris” than the camping site that organisers had cleared three months ago.
Amaro even used the Portuguese expression, ‘foi pior a emenda que o soneto’, which essentially means that the solution ended up being worse than the problem.
The president of Faro’s biker club criticised the decision to move the campsite, saying it was made by people “who do not know the land”.
“They should come here to see the land because that is how you see things, not in front of a computer in an air-conditioned room,” he told RR.
Faro Mayor Rogério Bacalhau admitted that the last-minute changes to the event meant that the council had to improvise, which led to situations which “did not go well because we were not able to offer comfort to people”.
Meanwhile, José Amaro revealed that the organisers now face a fine for having allowed campers in the restricted campsite but said that the biker club’s lawyers are handling the matter.
“Everything we did was to try to improve and safeguard people’s safety,” he said.
Cancelling the rally was never on the table as it would have created a “logistical nightmare”, considering that thousands of people from Europe were already travelling to Faro when the government announced its restrictions.
“But our goals were accomplished, even with those restrictions,” said the organiser.
Photos: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA