All photos by Chantelle D’mello
A vacant parking lot outside Katara was turned into a sea of chrome this weekend as exhaust fumes and loud rock ‘n roll music wafted through the air.
Thousands of bikers, vintage car collectors and curious spectators have gathered for the GCC Bike and Classic Car show, which continues this afternoon.
The event kicked off yesterday with an early afternoon ride from the Museum of Islamic Art to Katara, where attendees greeted each other, showed off their customized vehicles and cheered on their follow participants through a series of competitions.
Judges inspected the look, feel and quality of modifications, which included oversized rims, spiked handlebars, colorful lights, custom graphics and a lot of chrome.
Others, however, opted to accentuate the rusted and corroded elements of their aging vehicles.
Harley Davidson motorcycles was the vehicle of choice for many participants. Other vehicles on display include Mini Coopers, decked out to resemble characters from the Pixar animated feature Cars, classic Rolls Royces and smaller dune-buggy like vehicles with open chasses and matte finishes.
While the format of the show has remained largely the same since its inception three years ago, some participants told Doha News that the competition was intensifying.
“You see bikes that have up to QR500,000 put into them, and have parts and modifications that you wouldn’t have seen a couple of years ago,” said Mazin Barmare, a member of The Tribe, a group of Indian and Pakistani Harley riders in Qatar.
Together with 15 of his fellow riders, Barmare customized a smaller Harley Davidson with modifications including a bright red paint job in the Industrial Area as well as a faux-alligator seat imported from India.
Others said the event is a way of connecting with similarly minded people from across the region.
“The competition is just one part of it,” Ali Al Safar told Doha News. “Yes some people take the competition seriously, and we are all proud of the hard work that we put into our bikes. But it’s about interacting with riders from Oman and Kuwait and the UAE and learning from them and building up a camaraderie with them.”
Al Safar is a member of Free Riders – a Qatari and Palestinian group of some 16 individuals – which had entries in several categories, including a “Bobber” motorcycle that’s been stripped of excess bodywork and features a short rear fender.
The show resumes at 2:30pm today and features a motorcycle rider skills challenge, a tricycle drift contest and a mini bike competition.