Bendigo will hum to the sound of classic Japanese motorcycles this weekend with the arrival of a national rally in the city.
More than 250 restored and preserved bikes will dominate the CBD when the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club (VJMC) hosts its annual rally in Bendigo for the first time.
It is the club's first national rally since the gathering on the Gold Coast in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 event and the 2021 rally planned for Bendigo was postponed until this year for the same reason.
VJMC includes bikes from the golden age of motorcycling from the 1950s to the 1990s.
The four big Japanese manufacturers - Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha - revolutionised the motorcycle world with efficient, affordable and brilliantly engineered machines, reaching peak popularity during the 1960s.
Rally co-ordinator Phil Scorah said club members from every state of Australia would be in attendance at the rally.
The Big 4 Bendigo Park Lane Holiday Park has been designated as rally central and is already fully booked.
"Members will be coming in to Bendigo from tomorrow," Mr Scorah said.
"We'll have a welcome barbecue on the Friday night and Saturday morning is a ride out to Lake Eppalock."
A show 'n' shine will be held at the Dai Gum San precinct from midday until 3pm on Saturday (March 26) with members of the public invited to check out the polished classics.
"We have 282 bikes registered for the show 'n' shine and there will be judging and people's choice awards," Mr Scorah said.
"The awards will handed out at a dinner on Saturday night and there will be 280 people there for that."
Rides around the Bendigo region will also be held over the weekend in what is largely a social gathering for club members, although there will be a general meeting on the Sunday.
The club is also raffling off a Suzuki JR80 over the weekend with funds raised going to beyondblue.
VJMC national president John McNair said the club had held its national rally for more than 30 years and was delighted the event was coming to Bendigo.
"The events are a weekend of mateship, great riding and a display of some of the finest classic Japanese motorcycles in the country,'' Mr McNair said.
"I am certain that entrants in this event will prove to be an excellent addition to the range of wonderful events held throughout the year in the beautiful city of Bendigo.''
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Tourism and Major Events manager at the City of Greater Bendigo Terry Karamaloudis said the city welcomed the 2021 Suzuki VJMC National Rally to its events calendar.
"Fans of vintage and restored motorcycles are in for a treat with around 250 stunning machines on display,'' he said.
"The three-day event will be a big draw for motorcycle enthusiasts and I encourage visitors coming to the rally to also make the most of our beautiful city and support our local tourism attractions, hospitality and retailers who are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic."
In an added bonus for accommodation and dining venues, the national rally will return to Bendigo in 2023.
"We just thought logistically for suppliers it was easier to return to Bendigo rather than just make it a one-time thing," Mr Scorah said.
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