Freightliner Coronado heads up Harley-Davidson pack.

A custom Freightliner Coronado led a pack of 1400 motorcycles as part of a Harley-Davidson festival near the Bay of Islands earlier this month.

The big Coronado took lead position for the Thunder Ride, a massive cruise for Harley enthusiasts that is part of the annual Iron Run festival. The vast event attracts bike enthusiasts from across New Zealand and beyond. Organisers estimate the motorcycle procession measured a massive 4km from the nose of the Coronado lead truck to back wheel of the last Harley-Davidson. 

The Freightliner truck, decked out with Harley-Davidson paint scheme, was driven by Freightliner dealer Russell Marr from Christchurch’s Prestige Commercial Vehicles, who also happens to ride a Harley-Davidson.

Marr says the truck created quite a buzz as it approached crowds lined up to watch the Thunder Ride pass.

“The reaction was incredible,” Mr Marr says.

“There were little kids, big kids, grandmas and granddads all waving and taking photos. They loved the Harleys and they really loved the truck out the front.”

Mr Marr’s liberal use of the air horn was also appreciated by many of the kids along the route of the Thunder Ride.

Several Harley-Davidson riders also had their photos taken in front of the Freightliner, which, like Harley-Davidsons, originates from the United States.

Before its starring role in the Thunder Ride, the Coronado towed the Harley-Davidson merchandise trailer up to the Iron Run host town of Paihia.

It had no problem pulling the trailer, which was shipped over from Australia for the event, given it’s the 15-litre Detroit engine sitting under its big and bold bonnet.

The one-off Coronado has been decked out with a full suite of stainless steel parts, just like many of the gleaming Harleys that attended the rally, and also features a flame paint scheme.

Freightliner New Zealand senior manager, Pieter Theron, said the Harley-Davidson and Freightliner brands complimented each other, “Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand, just like Freightliner, so it makes sense for us to be involved with such a fantastic event as the Iron Run festival,” he says.

The Iron Run festival is organised by the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and Harley-Davidson although attendance is not limited to owners of Harley-Davidson bikes.

The festival, which was first held in Queenstown last year, will alternate between that town and Paihia each year in order to give residents of both North and South Islands equal chance to easily attend the event.  

Watch out the NZ Herald Video Clip of the Iron Run 2016 in Paihia.

Credit Photos: Iron Run Pahia New Zealand 2016