March 26, 2018

Police presence boosted as Hells Angels roll through Nelson

A large group of Hells Angels taking part in the annual poker run in Nelson were largely well behaved, police say. The sight and sound of motorcycles in convoy was hard to miss in the Nelson region as the annual one-day Sun City Poker Run took more than 100 riders, along a circuit based around State Highway 6 on Saturday. Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Mat Arnold-Kelly said the poker run was something that police anticipated every year, with extra staff brought in to increase police presence during the ride.
The Sun City 2018 Poker Run returned to Nelson on Saturday, beginning at the Belgrove Tavern. (File photo.)
The Sun City 2018 Poker Run returned to Nelson on Saturday, beginning at the Belgrove Tavern. (File photo.)
While he did not want to elaborate on tactics used over the weekend, he said no major incidents had occurred although a number of infringement notices were issued and several arrests made "incidental to the event".

A number of traffic complaints were also received from members of the public.

* Mo​torcycle gang members descend on Nelson for Hells Angels Poker Run (link is external)
Hells Angels overthrows Lost Breed motorcycle gang in Nelson (link is external)
Hells Angels gang gains foothold (link is external)
Police keep close eye on charity biker (link is external)

Beginning at Belgrove Tavern on Saturday, the poker run was advertised for British, European and American motorcycles only, with an entry "donation" of $20 and a first prize of $500 for the best poker hand from the cards collected at the various stops.

As with other years, the event raised money for MediMax Ambulance, a Richmond-based private company that provides first-aid services to sports events around the region. The event is organised by Nelson Prospects 81, a feeder club to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. In 2018 it coincided with the 70th anniversary since the latter's founding in California.

Accompanying the rider convoy on the day, Medimax owner and former Tasman mayoral candidate Maxwell Clark said he was grateful for the financial support from the ride, which would go towards the purchase of equipment for the six-strong fleet of ambulances.
"We provide a service these people like, we follow them with our ambulances around the circuit and they give us a donation at the end - and it's only a donation from the entry fees that they have on the day - we don't get anything from any other source," he said.
"We appreciate their donation - we cover a lot of events from motorbike events to this weekend where we're covering the Mapua fair and a motocross event at Kaihoka Lakes so we appreciate people's willingness to give us a little to buy some gear to support these community events."

St John Ambulance had previously been the main recipients of the event until 2010 when it decided not to accept money from the event. Clark said Medimax became the main beneficiary of the poker run after a direct approach from the event organisers.
"The simple fact of the matter is when you've got a large group of people riding bikes, whether it be cycling or this, there is a tendency to have the odd problem and we just follow behind and help when they need it."

New Zealand - BN.

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