The 2009 Indian Rally in Scotland

Old Indians Never Die

| January/February 2010

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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