VICTORIA Police stamped authority on outlaw motorcycle gangs with more than 120 riders checked in an organised Ballarat poker run.
Dozens of Ballarat police and the highway patrol joined forces with the Echo Taskforce and Melbourne-based support units, including the Operations Response Unit and air wing, to process the riders before a Vikings Motorcycle Club charity ride on Saturday.
Motorcycle enthusiasts have questioned the validity of police resource use.
All vehicles in the ride were examined and recorded. Riders were also checked for any outstanding infringements.
Ballarat divisional commander Andrew Allen said the checkpoint, set up near the Vikings’ East Ballarat base, ran in an orderly fashion.
Superintendent Allen said police helicopters ensured there were no road laws breached as riders left the check point from the intersection of Victoria and Fussell streets.
“We’re certainly sending a strong message that Ballarat Police and Victoria Police will continue to enforce the law on outlaw motorcycle gangs,” he said.
“Victoria Police is all about community safety — if we receive any intelligence about such events, we will be there.”
No charges were laid with only a string of minor infringements.
Victoria Police said the operation went smoothly with the poker run monitored throughout the day.
The checkpoint lasted about 90 minutes before the ride continued, under police watch.
A Vikings Motorcycle Club member, who did not wish to be named, said the club had received an official document from Victoria Police notifying the club it would monitor the poker run.
The Vikings member said riders who were fined, mostly for licence infringements, were riders from the general public unaware of police presence.
“Police were putting on a show with a little intimidation and to test patience,” the Viking said.
“It’s just a vote-gathering exercise for Ted (Victorian premier Ted Baillieu) ... it’s just intelligence gathering.
“They told us they were going to be there ... it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
The Vikings estimate they raised more than $2000 on the way to their destination in Trentham.
Funds from this year’s poker ride will be donated to the Anti-Cancer Council.
Victoria Police will continue to work with other agencies as part of a national approach to outlaw motorcycle gang enforcement.