Sunday Ride to Teo Lamer’s, 30 March

“A Pilgrimage to Moto Guzzi Heaven”

We are in Heaven, and it’s Moto Guzzi Heaven, with Saint Teo Lamers greeting us at the Pearly Gates with a tour of his “Cathedral of Moto Guzzi” museum near Yea. This is by far the biggest single-make collection of bikes that we or in fact most people on earth could ever see. The collection lives in a structurally huge barn-style and magnificent Cathedral peaked building, 5 years in the making with 2 additional mezzanine floors within the roof structure, connected by a vertigo inducing spiral staircase. The museum “house” itself is an immense work of art, more than appropriate, and fittingly sits in a beautiful bush valley farm, beneath the lush green rolling hills south of the Yea township.

Usually riding a motorbike is all about the journey and not so much the destination, but in this case, I’m thinking it’s the reverse. Graham’s instinct was right on, that we would need, and probably spend a long time enjoying the museum, so he led a direct path with Jimmy as TEC. We left Chirnside Park on our usual backroads to McIntyre Lane, past the Lilydale Airport and then onto the Melba Highway, all hidden in very thick misty fog. We used the Melba’s Yarra Glen bypass, and thankfully the fog is lifting as we pass the Chocolaterie and Dixon’s Creek.

Chirnside Fun Assembly point

I like the Melba Highway as it weaves its way north with light traffic and regular passing lanes as we pass the Kinglake and Healesville connections, and ride out of the hills to Glenburn for a re-group. We collect 7 “Northmen” that have come across through Kinglake and Flowerdale to join our pilgrimage, so the Guzzi Gods gave us clear blue skies. A short trip towards Yea and we turn left onto the dirt road that peacefully meanders through the bush and paddocks to this extraordinary museum experience.
I didn’t at first notice the big building, but did see a Moto Guzzi sign on the farm fence as we slowed to turn into a flat open area in front of some horse stables. Some very majestic examples of Nature’s Horsepower were enjoying the sun in the nearby paddocks as we dismounted our metal steeds and met Teo. He led us through the clean stables and under a roof extension showed us a vehicle powered at the front by a 500cc single cylinder bike, or call it a trike, but it is a Moto Guzzi “Ute” for carrying “stuff” … Amazing.

The pilgrims assemble at Guzzi Heaven

The Moto Guzzi Ute

Walking across the farm property we come to the “Cathedral” and Teo ushers us in. It’s a little darker inside and it takes a few seconds to focus and realise what is before you. Astonishment is an understatement. We are in the first room of a total area that displays over 170 Moto Guzzi’s meticulously presented in appropriate model groups. Nothing else, no other makes hidden in the corners, no stacks of rare “Oil Tins”, just bikes! It is brilliant. There are multiple examples of every model type that Moto Guzzi has made from the 1920’s to the modern era including an example of nearly every year’s production! Teo has cleverly sequenced the display to show model group bikes in years as they were developed and updated. It’s a visual encyclopedia.
Each bike is preserved as it is, and as it would have been in its day. When asked whether any have been, or would ever be “restored”, Teo explained that restoring them would remove their story and history (very valid point). Each and every bike is unique and as it was when last ridden or rescued from oblivion. To my eye, every single one of them looked like it was waiting to burst back into life with a little TLC. He works on or in the museum daily, changing displays, cleaning, or just keeping all the tyres pumped up.

My Favourite Bike of the day.
Ah, let me think … it might be a Moto Guzzi.

In amongst the rows of exotic 250/350/500cc horizontal singles, V-Twin Le Mans, S3’s, V7’s, California’s, Eldorado’s and a couple of 250cc FOUR-cylinder roadsters, sat a very small and unassuming 250cc single cylinder race bike. Classic GP bikes are in my heart and it skipped a beat at the sight of a genuine “real” Moto Guzzi TT250 from the mid 1930’s. It’s tiny. I couldn’t even fit on the bike … it would be like sitting an Elephant on a Honda “Monkey Bike”. This model and each of its evolutions were very advanced for their time and won 8 of the 12 Lightweight TT races on the Isle of Man that were run between 1935 and 1953! This racer has a very slim and small frontal area, shaft driven OHC horizontal engine with fully enclosed valve gear, composite engine and gearbox casing, pressed steel blade girder front forks and a swing-arm rear suspension, both with adjustable friction dampers. Moto Guzzi racer designers had a thing about weight, everything was as minimal and light as possible, so with equally small, light and tenacious Italian GP jockeys like “The Black Devil” Omobono Tenni, they were almost unbeatable. Bruno Ruffo won the inaugural 250cc World Championship in 1949 on one of these Moto Guzzi racers.

World Beater Moto Guzzi GP Racer

Guzzi’s advanced and innovative 350cc singles won 5 consecutive “Junior” 350cc World Championships from 1953 through to 1957 when Australia’s own Keith Campbell won the title, but unfortunately Moto Guzzi, Mondial and Benelli all withdrew from GP racing due to falling road bike sales and increasing costs. During these pre and post WW2 periods Moto Guzzi race bikes dominated the middleweight classes and records show they won a staggering 3,329 officially recorded races.
We are in awe of Teo’s foresight, passion and damned hard work to preserve the actual machines that are the history of Moto Guzzi, especially as many are so rare and different, and that you won’t see anywhere else. Motoring museums, whether they be Moto Guzzi or other, are crucial to our history as mankind hurtles naively down the road into the era of electric powered vehicles. Hopefully the Cathedral will last forever and the far future generations can see and learn about their ancestors, that rode these ingenious 2-wheeled machines powered by an ancient liquid called “Petrol”!

A Guzzi Gallery to wet your appetite.

Unique innovation in the 1920’s

The singles room, nearly every model.

The Penthouse 2 Stroke display

Simply beautiful

Art Deco outfit and S3’s

Thank you to Graham for rescheduling the museum tour, definitely a “bucket list” inclusion
not to be missed. He congratulated and thanked Teo for the extraordinary experience we’ve had enjoying “Italian flair”. I’m thinking that a pizza or pasta would be an appropriate lunch, as we saddle up for the short run into Yea to relax in the sunny picnic area along the main street. The member groups then headed home their own ways after another great club ride day. Thanks guys, ride safe.

David and Mez.

Classic Club Monthly Sunday Ride Participants List 30/04/2023

Rider Bike Year
Jimmy Linton (TEC) Triumph TR7 1974
Scott Oldfield BMW R90S 1975
Graham Boulter (Ride Leader) Honda CB900 1981
Ian Snadden BMW R1100GS 1995
Gary Gibson Moto Guzzi Brevia 1100 2005
Paul Clayton Honda VFR800 2014
Arthur Hampson Triumph Bonnie T120 2016
Laurie John BMW F800GT 2016
David and Mez McLennan Triumph Thruxton S 2016
Peter Hansen Triumph Street Twin 2017
Rob King Triumph T100 2018
Ian Young Triumph Street Twin 2020
John Killingsworth BMW R1200GS
Allan Kelly Moto Guzzi V7
Mike Pougher Car
Fred Schafer Car
Alan White Car