The 2009 Indian Rally in Scotland

Old Indians Never Die

| January/February 2010

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    An Indian Chief with a Princess sidecar in front of the Traquair House, which hosted the rally.
    By Daniel Peirce
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    A perfect Indian Four on the Traquair House grounds.
    Photo by Daniel Peirce
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    A group of riders pass through the village of Roslin during a day tour with rally organizer Alan Forbes (Forbes at far right).
    By Daniel Peirce
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    A rally-goer makes his way through the camping area at the rally site.
    By Daniel Peirce
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    Teepees were available for anyone who wanted one.
    By Daniel Peirce
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    Australian Peter Birthisel brought his Vindian (Vincent engine in an Indian Chief frame).
    By Daniel Peirce
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    Rally participants lined up with their bikes β€” all 112 of them β€” for a panoramic photo.
    By Daniel Peirce
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    Rally organizer Alan Forbes.
    By Daniel Peirce
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    The promised Dakota 4.
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    Weekend festivities included the lighting of a huge Indian logo, creating a brilliant silhouette in the evening sky.
    By Daniel Peirce
  • Indian rally 9
    Chromed tank logo on an Indian Four is a lovely touch, even if it’s not stock.
    By Daniel Peirce

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So there I was, completely surrounded by Indians. There were easily a hundred of them and more were coming. I knew the only way out was to start shooting.

No, this isn’t the beginning of a bad Western novel. I was composing a panoramic photograph of a line of 112 vintage Indian motorcycles at the 2009 Old Indians Never Die Rally. This was an international Indian rally held July 24-26 near Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Indians I was shooting came from far-flung locales like Australia, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Great Britain and of course the Indian’s birthplace, the U.S.

The Old Indians Never Die Rally was the brain-child of Indian motorcycle enthusiast and Edinburgh resident Alan Forbes, who also happens to own the U.K. rights to the Indian name. This rally was an encore performance of the original Old Indians Never Die Rally held in 1995, the subject of a German film documentary by the same name that became legendary for Indian enthusiasts around the world. By popular demand, Forbes brought it back for a repeat performance.

Forbes is part international Indian motorcycle expert and part showman, an ideal combination to promote an event like this. From good food and nightly entertainment to providing real teepees for participants to sleep in, he made sure everything was in place to provide a memorable experience. Saturday night’s finale was a midnight gathering in a riverside pasture to celebrate the lighting of a giant, flaming Indian logo. Spectacular is a good word for it.



So what was I doing there? I had been invited as the event’s official photographer: A chance to go to Scotland and photograph rare Indian motorbikes? How could I pass that up?

On to Scotland

The venue for the rally was the stately and historic Traquair House, a rural estate located about 20 miles south of Edinburgh, in the middle of the green rolling foothills of the Scottish Highlands.



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