Down here in Australia winter is just around the corner and with it comes the end of the automotive festival season. With only a handful of weeks left before the chilly season officially began Mark Hawwa (of DGR fame) and his team pulled together the 2019 instalment of Sydney’s top custom motorcycle event, Throttle Roll. I jumped on a plane the morning of the show to make the 1-hour trip from Melbourne to attend. With the plan to fly home that same evening it was going to be a long day, but boy was it worth it.
The 2019 edition of Throttle Roll marked the events return after a 2-year hiatus. Sydney’s strict rules, inflated rental fees and unobliging local councils had taken their toll. In 2017 the white flag was waved and the future of the event had a big question mark hanging over it. As they say “you can’t keep a good man down”. Facing the idea of another year without his beloved street party, Mark set out to do the impossible and organise the entire 2019 show in a mere 6 weeks. If you’d asked me I’d have said he was insane, but somehow in typical Hawwa fashion he did it. So, on Saturday, May 18th the two-wheel loving community descended on Sydney’s ex-industrial suburb of Waterloo.
In the past Throttle Roll had been a street party. This year to avoid the risk of being rained out the entire event was moved indoors. The location was the soon to be demolished Commune, a huge co-working/event space located in inner-city Sydney. Split into 3 main areas the show used the same formula as past years with the only difference being the revised layout. The main hall/warehouse hosted the band stage, main bar and food trucks. Downstairs in the second building were vendors and a dedicated custom bike parking area. Then upstairs were 50 custom motorcycles on display for punters to pore over for the duration of the day. A pop-up cinema was also set up for screening moto themed films with free popcorn to boot.
For some, such as the devoted Throttle Roll rockabilly crew, the live bands and the opportunity to let their hair down was the main attraction. But for most, myself included, it was the bikes that drew them there. In the past scaffolding had been used to showcase the invited motorcycles. Stacked 4 or 5 bikes high it made for an amazing backdrop for the party. Unfortunately for the bike-obsessed, this presented an issue as getting up close to many of the machines was simply impossible. This year though all that had changed. For 2019 each motorcycle sat on its own plinth. It was a welcome change being able to get right up close to each build and investigate how a supercharger had been plumbed, a fairing fitted or what carbs they were running. This was great for both the photography and for the conversations they generated.
Some of the two-wheeled highlights of Throttle Roll 2019 were the Alchemy SV1, Chris Hornes “Dad’s Suzuki Katana”, the Corsair Ducati 900SS by Nico Thermann and Tom Marlay’s grin-inducing DT250 “Chook Chaser”. I was also pleased to see Simon Leakes stunning Vincent Cafe Racer standing alongside the Motor Retro BMW R100 RS Aero. A longtime personal favourite, Vaughan’s CBX1000 cafe racer also made a welcomed repeat appearance.
I spent the majority of my day talking bikes with the builders, catching up with familiar faces, drinking beers and people watching in the music hall. It was a day filled with good people, cool bikes and great vibes and a credit to Mark and his team for creating yet another awesome show.
As for Throttle Roll 2020, the big question is where will they take it next? With inner Sydney real estate values shooting through the roof many of the city’s best exhibition spaces are closing their doors. No matter what happens though I will gladly travel the extra distance to experience another Throttle Roll…and so should you.