WALCHA M/C RALLY, LTR #428
Once again the NSW country town of Walcha was a hive of two-wheeled action as riders rolled in from all directions for another great weekend rally…
The Walcha M/C Rally may only be in its infancy, but it continues to grow in popularity every year and also has a lot of potential for more growth in the future. Not only does it attract motorcyclists from all directions of the state and beyond, it also brings together all the locals for a very enjoyable weekend. And with the town’s slogan being ‘A Motorcycle Friendly Town’, it’s no surprise to see this annual rally becoming so popular, especially with motorcyclists always made to feel so welcome, no matter what they ride. What I also like about these country rallies is they have such a different vibe to the event as opposed to city shows. Not only are you treated to motorcycles, live music and entertainment, you also get a slice of country life thrown in for good measure.
By the time we rolled in early Friday morning, there was already action taking place at the showgrounds. Aussie actor and singer Ben Mingay was once again given the task of being the Emcee for the event, which was great considering he’s quite entertaining and also really knows how to get the crowd involved. And talking about the crowd, there were already quite a few riders that had already turned up to enjoy the weekend, and by the time we got the stall set up, they were flowing through the gates continuously for the rest of the day. There was a great mix of bikes and riders too, with some coming from the surrounding towns, while others had even made the trip from interstate.
Cruisers, classics, sports bikes, dirt bikes, you name it, nearly everything was represented as both men and women parked their bikes opposite our stall. And being out in the country, there were naturally a lot of adventure bikes too, which is why it was great to see some organised guided adventure rides, and with both short and long routes as an option, quite a few people jumped on board and embarked on a mini-adventure to enjoy the local sights. Or if you wanted something a little more sedate, you could always hop in a sidecar and take a cruise around town. Having said that, what wasn’t sedate is looking at some of these sidecar riders showing their skills in the Sidecar Gymkhana later that afternoon, which was definitely entertaining for the crowd. More entertainment could be found over at the Woodchopping and Chainsaw demonstrations – man are these blokes skilled! Just watching them carve through the wood with their axes and climb the pole to cut the next piece was nothing short of amazing. Like I said, these country shows just have a different vibe about them.
The tyre throwing competition also provided some great entertainment, and it was great to see kids of all ages having a go. Add to that the BackTrack Dog Jumping display, Eljay’s Freestyle show, the Dirt Bike Barrel Races, along with some Postie Bike Soccer, and there seemed to be something happening all the time. There were a few stalls worth visiting too, with Ural Australia bringing down a collection of their latest sidecars to check out while Western Ranges Motorcycles along with Harry’s Motorcycles both had great set-ups as well. And if it was old iron that interested you, the Vintage Japanese M/C Club had a few classics on display which was attracting quite a few enthusiasts throughout the weekend.
Of course Saturday is when the action really amped up, especially with the Show and Shine and the Vintage Car Display, all topped off with the Demolition Derby later that night. There were some great bikes entered in the show too, with a few H-D’s, a couple of MV Agusta’s, a sweet Ducati Desmo, a classy old AJS along with a collection of Indian motorcycles which were all on display in front of a special dedicated Indian section of the show marked by posters and flags adorning the wall behind. The little old Yamaha AG complete with a sidecar made out of stuff found in a barn was unique and pretty cool too, which was a great conversational piece as it was seen rolling around the show a few times.
We can’t neglect to mention the Burnout Competition either, which is always gets the adrenaline pumping through the crowd, especially with nearly every competitor this year blowing their tyre. From little dirt bikes, to posties and some big thumping H-D’s, there were a few having a go, with some guy even cranking up his CFMoto, and believe it or not, the little Chinese motorcycle did alright in the end. I’m not sure who won in the end, but by just looking at the smiles on the faces of the entrants, it seemed everyone was a winner, especially getting the opportunity to whip the crowd into a frenzy with a legal burnout. Of course Luke, the owner of the Walcha Caravan Park was there once again lending a hand and getting right in there amongst the action. He really is great for this show, and gets heavily involved where he can along with Coxy and Big Al, who with Lisa and her crew from the Walcha Council work well together to put on such an enjoyable weekend.
But like every year, it wasn’t just the showground where there was entertainment to be found. You could wander the main street and enjoy a break in some of the local cafes like the Royal Café which includes the late Greg Hansford’s collection of Kawasaki Factory Race Bikes. Maybe you’d rather relax with a couple of cold beers in the pub or local taphouse, or if you were feeling even more adventurous, you could take a ride up to the breathtaking Apsley Falls & Gorge in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. But having said that, with so much action taking place at the showgrounds, along with live music on the Friday night by Terra Firma backed up by a rocking show on the Saturday night by Al Buchan and the Buchaneers, many people didn’t even see the need to leave their campsites.
In the end it was a great weekend, and even though I didn’t get to ride, it was still an enjoyable trip in the Scooby Van, which is LTR’s new show truck. Well, it’s actually an ex-Aust Post Van, but it’s perfect for shows, especially considering we’ve set up a bed in the back. But if only I’d tied the stall to the van when we first arrived, because due to a line of people already rolling up to check out what was on offer as we were unloading, in hindsight, the set-up all took place a little too quickly. As a result, we forgot to secure the gazebo properly with any weights, and a few hours later it took off like a windsock and blew across the showground. I did see it all unfolding at the last minute and tried to grab one of the poles, but when it started to lift me as well, I decided it best to let go and not expose the show patrons to the ugliest Mary Poppins they’d ever seen.
Luckily the gazebo blew so high that everyone saw it regardless of where they were situated within the showgrounds, which led to about ten guys running over to the rescue. We did get it set back up again, but after being so bent and broken, it fell apart on my head the next morning while I was serving a customer. So with a little help, five minutes later we’d pulled it down and thrown it in the bin. It’s funny actually, last year we left a broken tent behind due to severe storms early Sunday morning, this year it was the gazebo, which leaves me wondering what we’ll be leaving behind next year. Ah, there’s nothing like a good weekend motorcycle rally with a few lasting memories. Well done to all those involved, and we’ll see you again at the next one on the 17/18th November 2023…
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