Racing to honour a legendary Kiwi


Born in Edendale in 1899, Burt Munro had an enormous dedication to motorcycles and his life’s achievements are legendary.
He purchased his first motorcycle at the age of 15 and had his first Indian Scout in 1920 _ the bike he would continue to modify (with his own custom-made unique parts) for the rest of his life.
After he set New Zealand land speed records in the 1940s and 1950s, his next goal was to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, in the United States.
His first trip to Bonneville as a competitor was in 1962 (Burt was 63) and there he set a land speed record of 178.97mph.
His 1967 record of 183.58mph still stands today, and on this trip he also managed to hit 190.07mph during a qualifying run which is the fastest recorded speed on an Indian motorcycle.
Burt Munro was an extraordinary character who represents real and positive Kiwi attributes such as ingenuity, dogged determination, and a laid-back and humorous demeanour.
Following the success of the 2005 movie about Burt Munro’s inspirational life, The World’s Fastest Indian, the Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge to honour him.
The inaugural event was held in 2006, and it has since forged a reputation as one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events.
It has a strong local and national following, and rapidly growing international interest.
It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as weekend warriors, all provided with a variety of exciting events including hill climb, Super-X, and circuit, beach and street racing.
Highlights of the 2016 Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs held at Oreti Beach, Invercargill will screen on Southern Television _ Channel 39 at 8.30pm on February 11.
The programme features coverage of a variety of motorcycles and riders racing around the one-mile (1.6km) loop beach track.