Motorcycles, tats, hot cars and girls

By Annemarie Quill

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Motorcycles, tats, hot cars and girls. All this and more will be wowing the crowd at TECT Arena this weekend for Metal Mania 2012.

The long established Bay show is one of New Zealand's few custom bike and car shows.

It's getting bigger and more mainstream each year.

This year committee member Kelven Keleher is expecting a crowd of up to 5000 in the new venue of the TECT Arena.

"We were bursting last year and are rapt to be having it in the new arena this year. It gives us room to grow for the future."

It is not just for die hard engine heads says Keleher.

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"There is huge interest in cars and bikes and people come from all over New Zealand-yes sure the guys but also girls, families and kids.

There's definitely something for everyone."

Keleher added that the new venue means that all the show's components-the bikes, cars, as well as the tattoo and Miss Metal Mania competition-can all take place under one roof. There will also be an overflow of bikes and cars on view outside the venue.

"It is out of the sun which is better for families with kids to wander around. And it's better for the cars and bikes to be on display under cover."

Someone who won't be seeking cover is Lorelle Bayly.

The leggy blonde is competing again in Miss Metal Mania competition against up to twenty other hopefuls.

The winner of the event receives prize money and will be the poster girl for Metal Mania 2012.

"I came third last year. It's a lot of fun but more than just about the modelling - I really enjoy being around the cars and bikes."

People attending the show will be able to get up close and personal to some of the country's most unique custom motorbikes, performance cars and hot rods.

The premier part of the event, the motorbike show will have the best in New Zealand owned motorcycles on display. Keleher says there will be around 100 bikes "everything from vintage to new in British, European, American, as well as handcrafted custom choppers."

Keleher said there are prizes for a range of motorcycles including restored bikes, best engineering, modified bikes, custom bikes and competition bikes. There's even a prize for art work on a bike. There are 28 categories in all including the ultimate prize: overall bike of the show.

Another element in the show is the Custom Car and Hot Rod Show, which features more than 60 of the Bay's premier cars and there will also be cars from the 30s to the 70s restored to their original condition.

"There will be two categories: performance Japanese cars and custom cars (American V8s and Hot Rods)," said Keleher.

Displaying a Ford GT 40 is Bay local Todd Gower who, when he is not directing funerals, burns the road with this beauty.

"I would have loved to build it but it's an expensive hobby. I bought this one as-is and was invited to display it at the show."

The tattoo section of the show is for those with a taste for ink. Top body art will be on display. The best tattoo wins $1000 cash and other prizes.

Metal Mania started in Rotorua originally more than 20 years ago as a bike and tattoo show under a different name and was held bi-annually. In 2002 it was moved to Tauranga and it is now held every year due to an upsurge in interest of custom motorcycles and cars.

The fine print

Where: TECT Arena Bay Park

When: Saturday February 18 - Gates open 9am, bar opens 11am. Bikini Competition and Wet T-shirt 2pm to 3pm. Tattoo Show 5pm to 8pm. Bike show closes 7pm, venue closes midnight. Sunday February 19 - Gates open 9am. Bar open 11am, catering available. Prize-giving 1:30pm.

Price: Saturday - Tickets $20 (under 12 free). Sunday - Tickets $10 (under 12 free).

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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