by Dylan Stone
Wayne Orr loves his Japanese motorcycles, and he has plenty of awards to show for them, and even more after attending the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club of Australia rally in Bendigo, Victoria.
Mr Orr has been going to the annual rally for about 10 years, but he has been collecting Japanese bikes for the last 15.
“I’ve known about the rallies for a while, and so when I went to my first rally in Victor Harbor, I talked five or six local members in to going with me,” Mr Orr said.
“I go down to the rallies to look at other bikes, to talk to people, to get information, to learn something, and to get more knowledge of the bikes.”
This year, he took down two different bikes, his Suzuki, and a Kawasaki.
The rally started with a ride on the Saturday morning around the area, and then the riders parked their bikes in the middle of town for the public exhibition. The judges spent the next two hours reviewing the bikes, and selected winners for each award categories.
“The judges look for the originality of the bikes, and they have a concourse prestige class, and also a normal class,” says Mr Orr who entered the normal class this year with his Suzuki awarded the best bike on show.
“The Suzuki I won with even put me on top of the concourse bikes. Usually this category is awarded to a bike in the concourse class,” Mr Orr said proudly.
The judges also provide an award for the best bikes of each decade.
“So you have an award for the best ‘50s bike, the best ‘60s bike, all the way up to the best 2000s bike. ” Mr Orr’s Suzuki won the best ‘70s bike.
But that wasn’t all – Mr Orr’s Suzuki also won the best bike of the brand award, and impressively, his Kawasaki also won the same award.
“It’s unusual to have two brands of bikes, let alone win both of them awards,” Mr Orr laughed.
With more than 400 entrants this year, up from the usual number of about 250 entrants in previous years, Mr Orr’s awards are impressive.
“Most clubs are now taking non-members’ entries now as well, so that boosted the entries this year,” he said.
The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club has a branch in Broken Hill, which currently has nine members.
“The only requirement for membership is that your bike has to be over 15 years of age,” Mr Orr says.
“Years ago, you might see about 10 per cent of the bikes at a rally being Japanese bikes, but last year’s show in Broken Hill saw about 50 per cent of the bikes being Japanese bikes.
“This is probably because the Japanese bikes are older and so for those who are retiring and have some time or money on their hands, these bikes bring back some nostalgia.”
It also helps that the Japanese bikes have electric starts on them, which “makes it easier so you don’t have to stand there and kick them, saving our legs some work,” Mr Orr laughed.