Arts & Entertainment

Throttle Roll motors into The Vic

Photo: Chris Peken

Sydney’s Cafe Racers will ride to the tunes of rockabilly, as the annual Full Throttle Festival gets set to showcase the best of Sydney’s classic motorcycles. The two-day event, beginning on May 10 at Enmore’s The Vic, will see some of Sydney’s best blues and swing acts perform, 70 classic motorcycles on display and a three-hour organised ride to kick the festival off.

Throttle Roll promotor, Mark Hawwa, says the partnership between rock ‘n’ roll and motorbikes is an important one: “The reason I brought in rock ‘n’ roll to the actual event is that back in the ’60s that was the music that these guys were listening to. The roots of the Cafe Racer comes back to rock ‘n’ roll music. Young guys on motorbikes, the pin-up girls and the guys with their slicked back hair-dos. It’s all just a whole lot of fun.”

Among the 70 bikes on display at the festival will be ‘Dirty Smoker’, ‘Thor’s Hammer’, ‘The Angry Wasp’ and ‘The Nut Buster’.

Hawwa founded The Cafe Racers in 2010. The club, which celebrates classic bike culture, now has more than two-thousand followers nationwide: “Cafe Racers is an enthusiast group, it caters towards guys and girls who ride classic style motorbikes. It’s a very niche enthusiast group. From there I wanted to continue showcasing the scene. Full Throttle is this synergy between rockabilly culture and classic motorcycles,” he says.

“The style of bikes we ride are all a typically older style, they can be quite modern but they do look old. Cafe Racer is a specific segment of the motorcycle industry.”

The group stemmed from a 1960s culture in London known as Record Racing: “Back in the 1960s, when all the young guys were getting into motorbikes in London, they used to meet up in a cafe called Ace Cafe. Back then a musical track went for roughly two and a half minutes and they would be allocated a song. By the time that came on the jukebox, they’d have to jump on their bike and hit this junction, which was a couple of kilometres away, and come back before the song finished. In order to do that they would have to make their bikes lighter.”

Hawwa believes classic bikes have a uniquely timeless beauty, even if they aren’t fast: “They’re not necessarily fast anymore because realistically 1970s bikes aren’t nearly anywhere as quick as modern sports bikes but they’re still just as much fun and far more beautiful to look at. It’s the creative aspect where you take something different and customise it and make it look your own and know that when you go out there’s not going to be a bike that looks like it.”

He also notes the disappearance of class systems in his club: “Everyone’s pretty straight forward, everyone is an individual. You do get a lot of creative guys and artists that join us. There’s definitely a whole range of people and the most beautiful thing is you can get guys who collect garbage all the way to guys who are CEOs of major corporations. When we’re all together everyone is equal no matter how much money you spend or make, it’s a pretty cool feeling.”

The Club’s Vimeo page now has 120-thousand hits, and a worldwide following: “Within the stuff that I do we have a lot of international followers. The majority of hits on our website come from America and Europe, they look up what we do and what Throttle Roll is doing. We’re happy to see that people are looking into our Sydney bike culture.”

Full Throttle will also feature two of Sydney’s most respected roots and rockabilly artists. Hawwa says: “We’ve got Pat Capocci and The Drey Rollan band headlining.”

The Drey Rollan Band, based in Sydney, are made up of Drey Rollan, Bobbie Green and Little B. They combine blues, doo-wop, country and rock ’n’ roll.

Drey Rollan says: “We’ve been revving up for this gig. We always love playing with other artists and an event like Throttle Roll keeps up a music community – which is something that Sydney needs to bring back.”

Rollan contributes their sound to early inspirations: “We all grew up listening to a variety of music. There was always Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly playing in the house. Then as you grow up you want to discover new sounds so the blues has a big influence with artists such as Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Memphis Minnie.”

He adds: “Audiences at Throttle Roll can expect spontaneity and energy, we’ll be putting our own twist on rock ’n’ roll.” (GF)

May 10-11, The Vic Enmore, 2 Addison Rd, Enmore, free,