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Twenty-two years of the Poker Run

What a great turn up of motor bikes, riders, friends and supporters to Mercury Bay Club, Whitianga on Saturday morning, 20 January for the 22nd annual Peninsula Poker Run organised by Peninsula Riderz Whitianga.
Poker Run

Approximately 150 riders, more than last year, parked up at the club for breakfast, to greet old friends, and register for this annual, social charity ride around the Peninsula.  It was a warm, sunny day, though the black leather riding gear, and safety clothing covering the whole body are a constant for riders and passengers, no matter what the weather.

Every year, the Peninsula’ Poker Run raises funds for a good community cause and this year it is St Johns Ambulance Hate Hone. The funds are raised through raffles, donations and registrations paid to participate in this annual event. There were three St Johns vehicles present to accompany this great convoy at its start – one vehicle leading and two following. One Ambulance would accompany them all the way to Coromandel; the one based in Coromandel town. Classic cars were also there to be part of the ride. What a convoy!

The 2024 Poker Run ride was back to their normal route this year with SH 25A now open. Their first stop was Coromandel Top Pub, then Tapu Tavern, then Kopu Hikuai and across the Taparahi Bridge onto the last stop at Coroglen Tavern before returning to Whitianga.  Glorious views greeted the riders at just about every turn.

 Why it is called the Poker Run

 At each stop, every rider draws a card from a card pack. Five stops means five draws – a poker hand. Each rider ends up with a full hand. The rider with the highest value hand wins $500 and that is announced at the end of the run which was at Simpson’s farm at Wharakao.

“The Poker Run started back in 2003,” says Viktor McLean, the Peninsula Riderz’ organiser and Club leader (Vic or Waha). “It was founded by Dave McGaw  (known as The Colonel) who sadly passed away in 2014.  My wife and I were part of the first run and there are other club members here who were part of that. The idea came from right here in Whitianga at a bar called Levitate.

The Peninsula Riderz Whitianga continue Dave McGraw’s legacy – Round the Peninsula Poker Run. Viktor’s words to all just before they began their 2024 ride, were, “Safety first, ride with a smile, make new friends, it’s for a good cause.”  One had the feeling that these would have been Dave McGaw’s words as well.

Till next year – Let’s Ride.


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