Tom White’s love of early motocross bikes has grown over the years, to a passion that consumes much of his semi-retirement time. In 1985, in between the time commitment of White Brothers, Tom – with his young son, Brad in tow, purchased his first vintage MX bike, a 1965 Greeves 250 Challenger. It took two more Greeves and four more years before the bike was finally restored as a 1967 model, but the finish result is a concours bike that is still one of the favorite bikes in his collection. Soon a 1973 Wheelsmith Maico joined the collection, and then a Rickman 500 Triumph.
Several more bikes joined the collection until a debilitating brain injury to Tom’s son - Brad forced Tom to sell all but the original three motorcycles. On February 23rd, 1997 Brad, an 18 year old senior in high school, while test riding a small mini bike, rode into a chain that had been put up to block a parking lot. The parking lot was near White’s building where his collection of motorcycles was stored. Brad’s larynx was crushed by the chain and the lack of oxygen caused his heart to stop before emergency room physicians were able to resuscitate him. Brad’s brain injury was so severe from the lack of oxygen, that in addition to losing the ability to eat, talk, and control his body, he was also blinded. For most people, the will to continue living would be lost. Not the case for Brad! Brad came home 94 days after the injury to a home the White’s had borrowed money from the company to modify for the now handicap son. Three nurses were hired to administer care for Brad 16 hours a day and 7 days a week. For the White family, Tom and Dani, daughter Kristin, and 10 year old Michael, life started again.
In December of 2000, Tom sold the assets of White Brothers to the Motorsport Aftermarket Group. Tom is still involved as a consultant, but he now had time to pursue his passion, the collection of motocross motorcycles and related memorabilia. The White family purchased a 4-acre parcel in Villa Park
and in addition to building a new home, they have built a 5500sq ft. private museum for his collection that now totals over 100 motorcycles and 800 pictures and posters. Brad loves to visit and hang out with dad. Brad is truly the White family’s hero!
The Early Years of MX Museum has been open since early 2006 for special events only. Of special interest is his collection of 11 Husqvarna’s that include the 500cc Baja Invader (1 of 3 twin cylinder off-road bikes built by the factory) that won the 1969 Baja 1000. Other interesting motorcycles include a 1968 Suzuki TM250 (1 of 65) that was the first Japanese production MX’er, a Bultaco Rickman Metisse (1 of 24), and a 1972 XR750 similar to the one White raced on Grand National dirt tracks. The museum has many posters from the earliest years of MX in America
and many of Edison Dye’s (the man who brought MX to America
) original photos and documents.
The museum is open several times a year for "Bikes and Burgers night", with special celebrity visitors invited to speak, a visit by Tom’s son Brad, and MX movies being shown on the four-huge plasma TV’s. Separate parking for the museum allows for up to 100 guests (especially if they carpool). Check the museum web page for information on Bikes and Burgers dates.
After Brad’s accident, the White family found out about a wonderful center for brain injured adults called the High Hopes Head Injury Program which Brad attends four days a week. This program, led by Mark Desmond, helps brain injured individuals recover from traumatic brain injury. For Tom’s son and others, High Hopes is their school and possibly the only job (to learn) they will ever have. Many of High Hopes patients have relearned how to walk, talk, take care of themselves, and even, return to work. Because of White Brothers success in the motorcycle business, the White family is able to pay Brad’s tuition. Unfortunately, many head injured adults can’t afford a program like High Hopes.
Tom White would appreciate a minimum $20.00 donation for each visitor to the “Bikes and Burgers Night” with all profits going to theHigh Hopes Brain Injury Center
. He hopes to attend the High Hopes fund raiser held once a year in Newport Beach, share the story of his museum and the generosity of motorcycle people, and present a sizeable check to help with tuition for less fortunate head injury victims.