Buffalo Rally

The Buffalo Rally is one of the largest and long established South African motorcycle rallies, dating back over 50 years. This popular event, organised by the Cape Town Nomads Motorcycle Club attracts motorcyclists from all over the South Africa.

Buffalo Rally History

In March 1969, a group of bikers from the Nomads Motorcycle Club were camping over the Easter weekend at Silversands near Robertson and it was here that the idea of the Buffalo Rally originated.

Over a campfire the plan for a national motorcycle rally was discussed. Egon Mendel, Tony Bayley, Peter Flor, Tony Ferguson and Ray Bergman were some of the seventeen members who attended this event.

A die-hard South African rallyist, at a past Buffalo Rally

After much searching Hilary Watts, the then Editor of 'SA Motor Cycle' suggested Bathhurst, in the Eastern Cape, as a suitable venue.

Tony Ferguson was Chairman and in charge of the rally that year which attracted 250 entrants.

These bikers seem to have lots of fun and good time at a recent Buff meeting

The Buff has been held at different venues over the years, Bathhurst, (from 1969 to 1972), as well as Aliwal North, Oudtshoorn, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Maseru, and Mossel Bay.

The youngest are proud to take part

Unfortunately the refusal by the Port Elizabeth City Council to permit the use of the Humewood Caravan Park for the 1984 Buff, the unsuitability of suggested alternative venues, and the subsequent government ban on open air gatherings resulted in the demise of the Buffalo Rally for a period of nine years.

Machines seen at a recent Buffalo gathering

After the repeal of the ban in 1992, the Nomads Club decided to resurrect the Buff, and in 1993 the rally was revived by Luderick Jacoby and the late Mark Schreiber.

You have it all at the Buff: large choice of food, shopping and camping.

The club behind the rally

The Nomads Motorcycle Club was founded in April 1966. It was the brainchild of Les Hayden, who discussed the idea with YMCA Members who were interested in forming a club for British bikes of 500ccs and over.

Buffalo rallyists enjoying the beer drinking contest on stage

The April 1966 meeting took place in a small lounge in the YMCA in Observatory. The founder members were Les Hayden, Nick Ehrman, Billy Steyn (Chairman), Pat O'Connor, Mike Wrightford, Brian Conyers, Robert Borrel-Saladin, Peter Wheeler, Fred Berkenshaw, Desmond King, Billy Burnell, Llewellyn Maxsted, Robin Vismer and Army Livings.

The girls are more into sparkling wine

One day in 1966, Pat O'Connor and Mike Wrightford were sitting in the back rows of the lecture theatre at UCT, dreaming of better things such as Velocettes and BSA Gold Stars.

...and get wild during the rally wet t-shirt contest

They decided then that the newly born club needed a logo. Between them the 'Flying Boot' was born. Mike did the original drawing there and then and gave the drawing to Jerry Day who then produced the artwork from which the first badges were made.

The Buffalo Prize Giving Ceremony

Membership was around the twenty-five mark in the first year but in recent years has stabilised at around 150.

- Jean-Francois Helias