This was the 5th installment of the much loved chopper show, Born Too Late.
It seems like much less than 5 years ago that the first event was held in a small car park in Auckland’s Eden Terrace, but indeed it has been that long.
Back then there was really nothing like it – bikes were still allowed at Kumeu and the only other place you were going to find such a gathering of custom built bikes was in the car park of the Hot Rod Blowout. Times had changed and the idea that if you had a chopper or a badass Trumpy meant you probably also had a patch was no longer correct. The new-wave of chopper builders are the same guys who were (and in some cases still are) riding round at the skatepark on their BMX bikes and skateboards and they still wear Vans. The initial conversation about putting on a gathering of like-minded munters and their choppers, bobbers, unfinished projects and British iron went something like (and I know cause I was there) this…
“Be good if there was a cool bike show eh?”
“Fuck yea… should probably put one on”
That first event was a shot in the arm – it was exciting, there was something in the air – other than weed and tire smoke. There was an excitement and vibe that felt good – it had something to do with cool bikes, no fights, a shitty PA system, nasty rock n roll, a loveable lack of organization and difficulty in remembering the later parts of the days events.
So here we were on Saturday, 5 years down the track. For the first time it was held in a country setting about 3kms down the road from the Kumeu Hot Rod festival, which banned bikes a couple of years ago. Having the event on the same day as Kumeu and close to it was a stroke of genius. If you’re like me and appreciate bikes and cars it means you can get to both and still have a smug smile on your face knowing it’s a big middle finger to the Kumeu organisers for kicking out bikers.
So what was Born Too Late 5 like? It was AWESOME. From the moment you turned off Awa Rd and crossed over the small wooden bridge and entered the paddock you could feel that this was something special. The land was resonating with good vibes and surrounded by gently sloping banks and shady trees. It opened up like Valhalla as you crossed that bridge – shimmering and mysterious from outside and obviously the promised land upon arrival. This felt new but comfortably worn-in, it was super well organized but not oppressive. There was a stage with hand-picked bands (not some bullshit half arsed covers band), DJs, a “proper” bar, wood fired pizza, sensible liason with the Police (who made a visit) and possibly the most luxurious air conditioned port-a-loos I’ve ever encountered. Having spent the previous 24 hours trying to avoid the Vietnam war-like ablutions at Kumeu, I cant explain how enjoyable this part was.
The event was, as you would expect due to the organisers being driven by a passion for motorcycles rather than cash, a very good time indeed. Parking for non show bikes was easy and plentiful, it wasn’t over crowded and hardened bastards mingled comfortably with rock n rollers, kale nibblers and fancy ladies.
It felt like a well-curated motorcycle art exhibition, held in a quality bourbon distillery managed by Keith Richard. Intriguing, inebriating and just the right amount of shambles.
There were awards for Best Chopper, British, Project, American, Tattoos, Sexy Lady and Sportster. Other than the odd sprinkle of rain the weather was perfect too. I loved this show – the only thing that could have made it better would have been if I didn’t have to leave. Hopefully next year (if it happens again) we might be able to camp out? Here’s hoping. Either way, if it’s on, I’ll be there!