TRIDAYS 2012: Triumph’s Euro party
TRUMPETS IN THE HILLS
Each year for one week in June, the beautiful hamlet of Neukirchen in the Salzburg region of Austria changes its name to Newchurch, shuts out the rest of the world and becomes all things Triumph and all things British.
Triumph banners and Union Jack flags adorn virtually every building in town, ‘Beefeaters’ patrol the streets, fish-and-chips outlets are in abundance – if it wasn’t for the traditional Austrian architecture and the backdrop of the Alps, you’d swear you were back in ‘Old Blighty’.
This year marked the seventh year of the Triumph Motorcycles gathering known as ‘Tridays’, an event whose success has surprised everyone – perhaps even its mastermind, renowned Austrian film scriptwriter, Triumph enthusiast and Tridays organiser, Uli Bree.
The idea of Tridays was born after Ingrid Maier-Schoppl (of the Neukirchen Tourism Bureau), Michael Nier (of Triumph Germany) and Uli Bree sat together eight years ago and discussed the idea of creating what has quite possibly become the world’s biggest Triumph event.
A small band of organisers commence work on planning the next year’s Tridays virtually as the current one draws to a close. Local volunteers are also enlisted to assist, but finding them never proves too difficult, as an amazing 80 of the approximate 2000 local residents own a Triumph!
For committed diehards ‘Triweek’ kicks off the Sunday prior to the Tridays long weekend, with guided tours from Newchurch into the surrounding Austrian Alps taking in mountain passes such as the Grossglockner, the Gerloss, and Thurn – all spectacular and challenging rides.
Evening entertainment during Triweek is also provided in many of the numerous clubs and pubs throughout the village.
Tridays proper kicks off with the legendary warm-up party on the Thursday evening, followed by the opening of the Dealers Boulevard at midday on the Friday – the latter sees the town’s main street lined with vendor stalls from one end to the other, with aftermarket clothing and accessory suppliers and food and drink vendors all plying their wares.
Triumph held a ‘Hinckley Era’ exhibition as well as having its own outlet store, while a factory test-ride fleet was also on hand.
During the course of the event numerous street performers and comedians keep the masses amused, as do an eclectic selection of bands.
The town is partitioned into three separate areas for Tridays – Uptown, Midtown and Little Italy (Downtown) – with each area having its own entertainment and attractions.
As there’s always something happening in at least one of the above-mentioned areas, there’s always a place to either get up and boogie or just sit back and watch the world go by, whilst sampling Kaiser – one of Austria’s top beers – or any of a wide range of culinary delights.
Triumph Motorcycles is the main sponsor of the event and this year it also chose to reveal the new Triumph Trophy at Tridays, giving attendees the opportunity to see the new touring bike before anyone else. Members of the international press were also invited to witness the unveiling of the Trophy and soak up what Tridays has to offer.
Further afield was the stunt area, which hosted Triumph’s world renowned stunt maestro Kevin Carmichael, supported this year by German newcomer Dirk Manderbach. Kevin and Dirk entertained the crowd up to three times a day on bikes such as the Speed Triple, Street Triple and also (to the crowd’s surprise) the new Triumph Explorer, with a stein-dropping display of stoppies, vertical wheelies, burnouts and power slides. Dirk also had his ‘Full Flip’ trail bike on hand, which was fitted with a ‘rollover’ bar that enabled him to perform complete forward rolls.
Kevin and Dirk’s night show was something that had to be seen to be believed, with flares used to help light the stunt area adding a new dimension to the spectacle, as well as smoke bombs and flames shooting from the rear of their bikes.
The stunt area was also used for events such as ‘Piston Tossing’ and ‘Slow Races’, as well as doubling as the staging area for the guided tours and the public reveal of the new Trophy.
READY TO RUMBLE
This year also saw the running of the inaugural ‘Tridays Rumble’, a short-course off-road sprint race, open to any off-road biased Triumph. Having said that, a lone MZ two-stroke somehow managed to sneak in, as did a standard Bonneville fitted with semi-knobby tyres! The event was run as a knockout event, with the winner of each heat progressing to the next race until the final showdown.
Not surprisingly, Scramblers with full knobbies were the favoured mount, although a well-ridden Tiger XC made it all the way through to the final showdown, until a lack of traction brought its eventual undoing. It was somewhat ironic that the only rider to crash in the Rumble was none other than stuntmeister Kevin Carmichael!
Saturday afternoon also sees the running of the Triumph parade, where anyone can participate to represent their country. This year the furthest-travelled attendee was yours truly from Australia, though one attendee had ridden all the way from Singapore, which made my 4500km round trip from Triumph’s British headquarters pale into insignificance!
The Saturday night is a ripper – attendance has peaked and everyone is out for a good time. This year Scottish punk band Celtica blew the crowd away with its covers from hard rock bands, with the flames shooting from their bagpipes and flaming baton twirling a spectacle to behold.
The atmosphere was electric, with thousands crowded into the midtown quadrant until the wee small hours.
Occasionally the crowd would part as a bike was ridden into the centre to do a burnout, much to the cheers and chanting of those gathered around; it was reminiscent of the Cowes foreshore in the pre-’99 days of the Australian GP, before the police clamped down!
Sunday saw the farewell stunt show by Kevin Carmichael and Dirk Manderbach, followed by the official closing of Tridays 2012.
Approximately 20,000 people attended this year’s family-friendly event over the seven days.
Many of those will travel to Newchurch again next year, seeing it as an annual pilgrimage to a celebration of all things Triumph. Old friends will be re-acquainted and new friendships formed.
Whether attending Tridays as a group or solo, no-one will feel left out or alone at this awesome event, as Tridays has to be one of the greatest examples of what it’s like to be part of the world-wide Triumph family.
I for one will make every attempt to attend Tridays again, such is the event’s magnetic attraction. Every Triumph owner owes it to themselves to attend Tridays at least once during their lifetime…
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Admission to the event is a modest 15 euros (A$18.38) for three days or 12 euros (A$14.70) for two days. There is no charge for Triweek, other than the guided tours, which are 15 euros (A$18.38) per bike plus tolls. A full booking can be made that includes admission, a tee-shirt and a patch, while accommodation can also be included as part of the total package. For more information visit www.tridays.com or track the event down on Facebook. For bookings and/or accommodation, email email@example.com
Girl with flag:
The Tridays Rumble provided plenty of thrills and spills, and attracted a wide variety of bikes both old and new
That’s ‘Mr Rocket III’ to you…
Custom Trumpets were everywhere
bikes on lawn:
There was no shortage of hot Scramblers to admire.
The many stunt shows kept the punters cheering.
The Beefeaters and Union Jacks told the story – this party was British through and through!