WHILE there was very high praise for Bombala’s Bike Show on November 20, there was also great frustration felt over a shortage of fuel that was available in town over that particular weekend.
With large numbers of both motorcycle riders and vintage car drivers in the area, anger was expressed by locals and visitors alike when they found that at one point there was no fuel available at the only open service stations.
With many riders concerned they would not even be able to return home, several other local service stations, including one in Delegate, opened outside of their regular hours to ensure no one was left stranded.
Of course the inconvenience, and in particular the negative effect that the situation may have had on visitors’ impressions of Bombala, left many corners of the community angered.
After all, the Bike Show had been a full year in the planning, with the date and the huge influx of visitors known well in advance.
With Caltex Bombala and the nearby Autopro being the only service stations open across the weekend, much of the negativity has been aimed at the operators who run both sites.
In way of explanation, Lauren and Graeme Love insist Caltex Bombala did indeed have a tank of premium petrol, but no way to get it to customers on the Saturday of the very busy weekend.
Caltex Energy filled the site’s two Vortex 95 premium unleaded tanks on Friday in preparation for the arrival of hundreds of motorcyclists.
The Loves explain that a malfunction affecting one of the bowsers meant that all of the Vortex 95 in one of the two tanks was inaccessible.
Huge demand for the premium fuel meant the second Vortex 95 tank ran out of fuel on Saturday afternoon.
Lauren and Graeme immediately ordered more fuel for the empty tank site, which arrived on Sunday morning.
Repairs to the faulty bowser were also able to be completed at that time, meaning that both tanks were then able to be used.
The shortage of Vortex 95 coincided with the unavailability of Bio E10 Unleaded at the site on Saturday morning.
A spokesman from Caltex Australia’s head office in Sydney said that the two incidents were unrelated.
“The shortage of Vortex 95 was entirely a result of the bowser breakdown that meant fuel couldn’t be pumped from one of the two tanks holding the premium unleaded fuel,” the spokesman said.
“The site also ran out of Bio E10 Unleaded because of a scheduling error in Eden.”
The Caltex spokesman said the fuel retailer apologised for the impact that the fuel supply issues had on Bombala at such a busy time for the town.
“The bike show is an important event for Bombala and our local site operator had ensured the tanks were filled in preparation for the huge demand for our Vortex 95 fuel from visiting motorcyclists,” the spokesman said.
“The bowser breakdown and the ordering problems in Eden were both cases of unfortunate timing in a town where only Caltex is open all weekend.
“We apologise for the effect this had on customers and understand the inconvenience this caused.
“The site had restocked with Vortex 95 on Sunday and the faulty bowser was able to be repaired as soon as possible.”