Museum fills Mathoura gap

March 27, 2018

Josh Weyrich has assisted his father Tom to transform the former Mathoura IGA building into a motorbike museum.

Tom Weyrich’s dream of a motorcycle museum where fellow bike enthusiasts can gather and talk all day about two-wheelers has been realised.

Mr Weyrich has taken the vacant IGA Supermarket in Mathoura which has sat empty for the past 18 months and set up 30 motorbikes from his own personal collection for public display.

The aim of the museum is purely to engage with other motorcycle devotees.

‘‘If I can bring people into the town who want to talk about bikes and interact with me about bikes, then mission accomplished — that’s all I want to do,’’ he said.

A mechanic by trade, Mr Weyrich and his brothers have all owned and raced motorcycles since they were kids and his collection has grown to 51 bikes.

Among them is what he describes as the most ‘‘anti-social bike’’ in existence — a Kawasaki 750 three-cylinder air-cooled two-stroke which had a production run from 1972 to 1976.

‘‘Kawasaki marketed the bike as the fastest thing on the planet from stoplight to stoplight,’’ Mr Weyrich said.

‘‘When you start the engine, you can hear it coming from miles away. It’s loud, it rattles and it blows a lot of smoke which was indicative of two-stroke engines. The noise was enormous.’’

Shortly after describing the ‘attributes’ of the bike, a middle-aged man appeared at the window and asked if he could step in for a look round.

The visitor was Rod Anderson from Hay and he immediately pointed out the Kawasaki 750, saying it was one of the most exciting things he had ridden in his life.

‘‘I owned one and I loved it — and hated it,’’ he said.

‘‘You can’t deliver power like a two-stroke. It’s power on and off like a light switch.’’

From there, it was a case of standing back and listening as the pair talk glowingly for the next 10 minutes about classic motorbikes they learnt to ride on, that were modified for individual needs and that featured in those classic of Australian road cult films of the 1970s — Stone and Mad Max.

Mr Anderson said he was drawn to enter the fledgling motorcycle museum while wandering down the street.

‘‘I saw the signs and looked in here,’’ Mr Anderson said with a big grin on his face.

‘‘My wife is up at the op shop — this is my op shop.

‘‘I couldn’t stop smiling when I walked in the door. It’s exciting.’’

To which Mr Weyrich tilted his head and raised his arms with the phrase: ‘‘Mission accomplished’’.

Mr Anderson left with the prospect of bringing a group of bikers back through the town later in the year as part of a Poker Run fundraiser.

‘‘If I get 20 like him in one day it’s going to be a long day,’’ Mr Weyrich said.

But that’s exactly what he is after.

Mr Weyrich is the first to admit he doesn’t have anything rare or unique in his collection, saying the idea for a museum was simply born out of his lifelong love of motorcycles.

‘‘I realised 30 years ago what was going to happen and that’s exactly what has happened,’’ he said in reference to his collection.

The oldest bike he has on show is a 1949 Triumph Speed Twin and the newest is a 1978 six-cylinder Honda.

Among the other bikes is a blue Triumph ‘blockade’ bike which was locked in the Triumph Engineering Company’s factory in England during a strike in the early 1970s.

The museum building comes with a coffee shop attached and a heritage-listed oven which Mr Weyrich has the intention of trying to resurrect.

Tom works from his K Rock Automotive business in Moama and plans to open the museum — aptly titled ‘Good Vibrations Motorcycles’ — on Friday, Saturday and Sunday by appointment only.

The bikes on display will swap and change over time.

The museum will be open over Easter, or to arrange a viewing at another time contact 0429950594. A modest admission price is charged to help cover the cost of insurance

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