Saturday, 10 November 2012

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Motorcycle gangs.  The phrase conjures up images of Mongolian - like hordes of neanderthals on bikes raping and pillaging their way across the continents.  The first and most famous outbreak of these "hordes on the rampage" was a holiday weekend in the sleepy town of Hollister in 1947.  A large contingent of riders converged on the town and seemed to take over it.  The whole incident was the basis of the film "The Wild One" made in 1953 with Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin.  The film caused such a fuss in this country that it was banned until 1967.  

    In the USA, there are said to be over one thousand OMGs.  However, there evolved what became known as The Big Four.  These four clubs were The Hells Angels, The Outlaws, The Bandidos and The Pagans.  Since the 1960`s, there has been a gradual expansion of these clubs around the States, then worldwide, with the exception of the Pagans.  The Pagans operate down the East Coast.  The Angels, Bandidos and Outlaws have warred with each other over the years and with other growing clubs.  The Angels have 255 plus clubs throughout more than thirty countries.  The Outlaws and Bandidos have 210 plus.  In the British Isles the Angels have reputedly have 17 chapters, the Outlaws 28 - with 8 in the Republic of Ireland - and the Bandidos have just two, in the Channel Isles.  However, the Big Three are spread heavily over Europe and Australia.  

    Other clubs that have expanded are the Gypsy Jokers, a club with 35 chapters in the States, Scandinavia, Germany and Australia.  It is said that the Gypsy jokers were involved in the murder of a top Australian cop, Don Hancock.  The Warlocks, hailing from Florida, have around twenty chapters, with two here in East Lincolnshire.  The Sons of Silence consist of around thirty plus chapters, with one in Germany.  The most violent club to emerge over the last two decades is the Mongols.  This club hails from California, the traditional Angel stronghold, and the cause of the long running war between the two clubs.  The Angels state that only they can wear the California bottom rocker on their colours.  The Mongols ignored this and hence the war. The most infamous incident was a shootout and brawl between the clubs at a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, which left a couple of bikers dead and many more injured.  Another club with a number of chapters is known as The Galloping Gooses, based around Missouri and Kansas, I believe.
This club was formed in the 1960`s like the Bandidos, Warlocks, Gypsy Jokers and an all black club The East Bay Dragons.  The Mongols formed in 1971.