Wharf Rat Rally numbers still not available

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on September 3, 2014

Wharf Rat Rally 2014

©Jonathan Riley

A lot.

That’s the only answer so far about the number of bikes in Digby last weekend.

Chair of the Wharf Rat Rally Glenn Dunn said Wednesday, Sept. 3 that they have been too busy cleaning up to count the registration numbers and it could still be some time yet.

“What I am saying is the vendors and sponsors were happy with the number of people around,” he said.

This was the first year with mandatory registration for motorcycles wanting to enter the downtown, a change the rally justified partly by saying it would mean better statistics for the event sponsors and accommodation providers and better communications with visitors.

[More photos, videos and The Courier's complete Wharf Rat Rally coverage]

The rally did announce the 50/50 total of approximately $52,000. Buddy Barr of Digby won the $26,000; Jen Carter won the registration grand prize of a Honda Grom 125 and Walter Doucette won the raffle for the Harley Fat Boy.

Brian Foote, Digby’s site manager with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, said on Wednesday, Sept. 3, the technicians from Halifax haven’t yet picked up the traffic counter on Hwy 303 in Conway leading into Digby.

He said TIR will report those numbers as soon as the technicians have a chance to read the counter, sometime in the next couple weeks.

He did say for the first time ever they had heavy traffic coming from both directions on Hwy 101.

“We usually get a lot coming from the Valley and Halifax but this year they came from Yarmouth way and down the shore too – a lot of traffic,” he said. “At one point there, we just to had to get out of their way and let them go, it was that busy.”

Despite the double whammy, Foote said he thought there was less congestion on the highway than in years past.

“I think spreading the rally out over all those days makes a difference,” he said. “A lot of people were here for the Minglewood concert Friday.

“It never really backed up that far onto the highway, maybe a dozen or 15 vehicles on the highway,” he said.

RCMP Staff Sergeant Rocky Calhoun said his first rally went very well.

“I think the organizers did a very good job of putting it together and traffic flowed about as well as you could expect it to under those circumstances,” he said.

The RCMP directed traffic at the traffic lights in Conway and at Victoria Street from 10 to about 1:30 p.m.

RCMP also had an officer patrolling the ramps and Hwy 101 to make sure drivers were not jumping out of line to pass against traffic.

Calhoun says the RCMP had a number of vehicles towed.

The worst spots were Queen Street and the Racquette Road, where some people left their cars right in the road.

“We actually had to direct traffic around some of these vehicles, that’s how badly they were impeding traffic,” he said. “We only towed the most flagrant offenders but we could have had more towed if we had had more capacity.”

As for noise complaints, he says the detachment only received a couple minor complaints that were easily dealt with.

The crowd he said was mostly well-behaved.

“We had a few liquor related arrests and those people were put in lock up and released the next day,” he said.