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August 2022
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Brisbane to Bendigo for the VJMC National Rally

Brisbane - NSW Country - Bendigo.

   

 

After numerous postponements I knew the day had finally arrived when the bikes started rolling into the Bundamba Ampol Servo at Ipswich, south west of Brisbane on Wednesday 23rd March. Of the 10 riders assembled only 5 were going to Bendigo. Five were going to leave the group at various stages, however 2 members from Northern NSW were joining us at Gunnedah, the first night stop. The route chosen would take us on sealed country roads, avoiding the busy highways where possible and stopping roughly every two hours for rest and fuel.

Shortly after Gore, our first fuel stop, the BSA Lightening stopped with a blown fuse. After not many more kilometres and the third blown fuse it was decided to hot wire the ignition and ignore the other electrics on the bike to avoid any further breakdowns. After riding through Texas and Bingara we finally arrived at Gunnedah Caravan Park in the dark and an hour after sunset having ridden 650klm’s where we were met by Peter and Warwick from northern NSW. After checking in we were off to the local hotel for a few beers, a meal and plenty of conversation before a good night’s rest.

 
     
 

We woke early to light rain on Thursday morning and had Peter lead the group of 7 going to Bendigo up to the lookout above town. After a brief view of the surrounding countryside we were on the road to Wagga Wagga for the next night stop. First stop was Coolah for breakfast and then on to Molong for lunch. After an uneventful day and another 650klm ride we arrived in Wagga Wagga in the late afternoon and after checking into the motel we were off to the local tavern for beers and a meal before getting a good nights sleep.

 

 

Friday morning was another early start and after refuelling we were on the road to Jerilderie for brunch and from there to Echuca and then on to Bendigo arriving at Rally HQ hosted by the Big4 Park Lane Holiday Park in the mid- afternoon after a 530klm ride.

 
 
 
 

Riding up the road to reception was an awesome sight with more than a hundred bikes parked around camp sites, caravans and cabins. We were met by an unofficial welcoming party of members admiring the many bikes in the parking area. Next was the busy Rally registration office to collect our rally bags and merchandise from the friendly registration team. Also there and at a separate table was Dave Parker enthusiastically selling raffle tickets for the Suzuki JR80 motorcycle. After that we were off to find our accommodation for the weekend.

By late Friday afternoon the camp kitchen area was a hive of activity as members socialised and chewed the fat before we were served an ample and enjoyable barbeque dinner with seconds available for those that still needed feeding. After dinner many started drifting away in search of rest, but some stayed much later into the night.

 

   

 

Saturday morning was a 7am start for breakfast which was another hearty serving with seconds available for those who needed. At 8.45 we assembled outside the Holiday Park reception area for a briefing from the ride leader before more than 150 bikes took off on the group ride on some country roads to the little town of Heathcote where we stopped for another well catered morning tea.

After tea it was back on the road to Bendigo for the Show and Shine which was held at the Dai Gum San outdoor paved area at the Golden Dragon Museum Precinct. The bike parking was well organised by years and categories in different areas of the precinct. It was an awesome sight with over 280 bikes on display. The display area was large, allowing the many spectators to walk freely amongst the bikes. Suzuki had a large and colourful display of modern bikes allowing many attendees to test ride various bikes. By 2.30pm the spectator numbers were dwindling and the Show and Shine was over allowing the exhibitors to leave.

     

On Saturday evening members staying at the two Big4 Parks were bussed to the All Seasons Convention Centre for the Awards Dinner whilst others staying elsewhere made their own way there. Again, it was a grand setting with large round tables seating 10 people, nicely presented and well laid out for the 250 plus attendees.

The attendees were entertained by guest speakers and Australian Super Bike icons Mick Hone and Ron Phillis. After that a good dinner was served before the trophy presentations were made. David Bernardi and Steve Phelps were awarded their Life Membership trophies by outgoing Vice President Jeff Eeles for their immeasurable support and contribution to the club over many years. The raffle for the Suzuki JR80 was drawn and won by Lou Baljak of the ACT. All up it was a grand night and in total a superb day of riding and socialising.

Sunday morning was another early start for breakfast followed by the Annual General Meeting. After the meeting those attendees that were left and interested assembled at the reception area for the Sunday ride briefing which took us to Lake Eppalock. After a short stop there it was back to the Big4 Park Lane concluding the 2021 Rally in 2022.

  

 

Congratulations to Phil Scorah and his organising team for an absolutely superb rally and a huge thank you also to the 300 plus entrants that made the event such a success. Thank you also to the sponsors for their generous support. Already looking forward to the 2023 Rally!

 

This story was written by SEQ member Brian Gainsford. Photos supplied by Brian, Steve Phelps, John Doward, Brinton Preston-Smith and Ole Anderson. More than 150 photos of the VJMC National Rally are available (with more coming) to VJMC members on this website after logging in. A full report of the rally itself including the awards is expected in VJMC Magazine issue 157.