The H.O.G International Motorfest Spring Challenge opened a motorcycle season in Voronezh on Saturday, May 11. Bikers from 15 cities of Russia and four countries gathered at the grand event. About 17 thousand spectators assembled on Admiralteyskaya Square where the parade ended and the festival program was presented.

Voronezh residents have not yet seen such a number of motorcycles. According to the organizers, from 3 thousand to 4 thousand people took part in the motorcycle parade. Most of them were on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the initial cost of which is over 500 thousand rubles. RIA "Voronezh" journalists found out who and why rode in the motorcycle column.

Living an enjoyable life

Bike riders are wearing vests with eagles on their backs, smoking thick cigars, laid-back, half of them bold and bearded.

– We’ve traveled to Voronezh for two days. We rode with ease, enjoying ourselves. Living an enjoyable life is what unites Harley-Davidson riders, - Sergei Verenev from Smolensk thinks.

The owner of the same Harley motorcycle as Mickey Rourke from the movie about the Marlboro Man had a crowd gathering around him.

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Not only his vehicle was outstanding, but he also turned out to be the son of the Prosecutor General.

– H.O.G. Spring Challenge – is not just a biker festival. Our goal is strengthening the friendship between people, between cities and countries. Sometimes we don’t even know our neighbors, but we come here, we get acquainted and become friends. It is very important nowadays. – Artyom Chaika is convinced.

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Many attacked another “VIP”, Viktor Lukashenko - the son of the president of Belarus. His group was caught in a thunderstorm on the way to Voronezh.

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The Belarusian delegation was riding nine bikes. Among them was 59-year-old Ivan Chura. One could see almost none on his face under the huge shaggy cap and behind the mirrored glasses.

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– A bike gives freedom, fills your life with smells. There is none of them when you are driving a car. Smells of grass, flowers, earth - we absorb all this while we are reeling on kilometers. This brings a special joy in the spring, – Ivan notes.

Bikership is a brotherhood!

The motorcycles glare in the sun despite the yesterday's rain.

– We got up early to make them shine, – the most senior representative of the Moscow delegation, 73-year-old Alexander with a suitable surname Motorin admits.

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His driving experience is 58 years. He started off with Izh-49, then changed it for Dnepr, Java, but for 13 years he has not changed Harley. As he retired, he worked as a director of a golf club. And before that he was engaged in diplomacy, he knows several languages - English, Greek and Finnish.

– My wife and I have been living together for half a century. She adores my hobby and supports me in every way. I sometimes want to go to a festival in a car, and she shames me: “Then you’re not worthy to be called a biker!.”

Motorin’s grandson is also involved in motorcycle racing, and his nephew works in the company of journalist Sergey Dorenko who has died on May 9, 2019, while riding a motorcycle in Moscow. According to many participants of the motorcycle festival, Dorenko died like a real biker.

– I prefer living a good life and preferably a long one, - Motorin notes.

On the back of his vest are the flags of the countries he has visited. Alexander shows a sign attached to a bike – a pass to St. Peter’s Square in Rome. He was there under an invitation when they celebrated the 110th anniversary of Harley in Europe.

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– I’ve traveled all over Europe on my bike. I’m not interested in all these wroom-wrooms. I don’t go over 140. I am interested in traveling, communicating with like-minded people. The biker movement unites. No matter what happens in the world, bikers are still brothers. They will never pass by a broken bike, they will always help, – the Moscow resident explains.

Mother of many children

Moscow resident Yeva is 47 years old. According to her passport, she is Zukhra, but all her friends call her Yeva. She is a nurse and a mother of three children: two daughters and a son. The youngest girl is disabled. Yeva has several tattoos, one of them is dedicated to children. We haven’t met any more of such people – with many children – among the diverse biker audience.

– This is my fourth day with this Harley-Davidson. My boyfriend gave it to me, – the woman flushes.

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She had always liked motorcycles, but she only got behind the wheel 12 years ago, when her children had grown up. She has squeezed 190 km per hour out of her six-cylinder Honda. Now she drives at no more than 140 km per hour. But the biggest extreme in her life is not associated with motorcycles - she has recently fallen off a slope on a snowboard and flew into a tree.

Yeva is an indispensable person in biker groups. Motorcycles are still traumatic.

– When we travel far, I often have to recall my main profession.

Private party

40-year-old Roman from Voronezh looks like a cowboy – a wide-brimmed hat, dashing boots. He is a former military man, he has served in the North Caucasus, and now he is the owner of a “small business”.

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– My bike broke down two weeks ago, I did not have time to fix it for the festival, so today I am horseless, –Roman grieves. – Our Voronezh motor-gang includes 12 people. We are not young at all, everyone is over 40. So it’s not us who are making the life of Voronezh residents miserable at night – our motorcycles don’t roar so much and we don’t drive more than 140 km per hour, – he warned.

The owner of a law firm Oleg Novoselov arrived from Moscow with his wife Elmira. She is a philologist by profession and feels as if she were behind a stone wall in the second seat.

– My husband is older than me, but he is so hard-boiled and strong that he could give any young man a head start, – the woman says with pride.

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– I’ve loved motorcycles all my life because they give me the feeling of flying. I have been driving for 36 years, – Oleg says.

His first two-wheeled vehicle was a motorcycle with a motor. His current bike is worth a good apartment – 3.8 million rubles.

Another Moscow resident is 45-year-old Oleg Romashkin – an engineer, one of the leaders of Mosvodokanal, a member of the Russian Harley-Davidson Club.

– The motorcycle movement is a way to escape. You get behind the wheel and you get rid of the routine, all the mercantile thoughts. You get a road, friends and interesting routes, – he explains his love for motorcycles.

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Oleg's wife is also a biker, a long-haired blonde, a pianist. She didn’t come to Voronezh because of the exam time is schools.

Guests from afar

RIA Voronezh journalists met foreigners among the bikers.

Hannes Walt is a construction worker from Germany, he is 38 years old. He has three motorcycles. He has recently broke and sold his sports one on which he had reached 290-kilometer speed.

– It makes no sense to accelerate this much because at that speed you can’t see anything, only a corridor, – the German explained.

Vitar is from Norway, he is 47. he has two bikes.

– My wife and I usually travel together, but this time I came without her. The invitations came late. This is the same reason we are “horseless”, – he added.

Both men liked Voronezh very much.

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An owner of the construction business, Janis, and his wife, accountant Magda Mickiewicz, are over 50, they are from Riga. The spouses have been together for 35 years. They have three adult children. Every year in the last ten years, they had been covering 25-30 thousand kilometers. They’ve traveled around the whole world on their bike.

– Harley-Davidson is a lifestyle. Traveling, communicating with friends, enjoying life. It is a unified club all over the world. We don’t care what kind country you’re from – if you, like us, love Harley and the road, we are brothers. As long as we are on a bike, we are young, – the spouses are convinced.

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By the way, a bike weighs half a ton and you really need to be in very good shape to keep it from falling.

On your marks!

The column started off at the Spartak film theatre. The motors began to boil, the Koltsovsky Public Garden was filled with a roar – as if the asphalt itself began to tremble. A river of bikes, the main color is black. Cigars, eagle-back-jackets, hats, combat boots. In the backseat of one of Harley is the serious face of a bull terrier just as cool as his owner. Someone is riding while standing, someone has pigtails sticking out of the helmet.

A man on a bicycle with a motor has snuggled up next to the glittering and roaring column. This is Fyodor Balalaev – a military major in reserve.

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– I decided to take part in this parade and present my alternative means of transportation. I care about the environment. And here are these thousands of bikes, can you imagine the exhaust they produce? My bike can accelerate to 60 km per hour and it doesn’t cause anyone any inconvenience, – he stresses.

– We are here to demonstrate that motorcyclists are law-abiding and decent people who obey traffic regulations and are not at all the ones who don’t let citizens sleep and pose a threat to them, – Sergei Kamenev, one of the festival organizers, stresses.

At Admiralteyskaya Square

The motorcycle parade moved along the streets of Voronezh: from Lenin Square along Revolution Avenue, through Severny and VOGRES bridges to the main venue of the festival, Admiralteyskaya Square. The motorcyclists covered 17 km in 40 minutes.

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Фото — Андрей Архипов

After the official opening, a flying motorcycle show from FMX athletes and an unusual performance on the water - FlyBord - took place. An exhibition of manually assembled motorcycles and motorbikes was organized far all the interested. A theatrical sports relay race was also conducted as part of the H.O.G. Spring Challenge where members of motorcycle clubs from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Minsk and other cities performed various tasks – for example, fought with swords and shot from bow.

Music bands, including the Belarusian band Nuteki, have performed on the big stage of Admiralteyskaya Square the entire day. The 2019 H.O.G. Spring Challenge ended at 21:00 with fireworks over the water reservoir.

Voronezh has hosted the H.O.G. Spring Challenge for the first time - before this, the motorcycle season used to begin in Minsk. According to the organizers, the capital of the Black Soil Region was chosen as a mobile site due to its convenient location (the proximity to Moscow, the access of the M-4 Don federal highway) as well as its developed infrastructure.

The organizer of the 2019 H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Spring Challenge is the Iron Birds Chapter Club uniting motorcyclists from Russia and Belarus, Harley-Davidson Russia and the CIS. The festival was held with the support of the government of the Voronezh Region and the Voronezh administration, as well as the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.