New Zealand: The World's Fastest IndianThe Burt Munro Challenge
The Southern Hemisphere's biggest motorcycle rally was inspired by a movie. Following the international attention generated by The World's Fastest Indian, the Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge in 2006 to honour motorbike racing legend and speed world record holder Burt Munro.
Competitors can participate in six different racing events.
Bluff Hill Climb
The climb to the summit of Bluff Hill is 1.4 kilometres long and has some pretty steep and twisty sections. Competitors are allowed two practice runs, before taking on the hill in three official timed runs. The fastest overall time of the day determines the winner.
This Super-X track was built on a dairy farm by motocross enthusiast Jim Cooper. The event has New Zealand Championship status and attracts talents from both New Zealand and Australia.
Teretonga Race Circuit
This is the home of the Southland Motorcycle Club and one of the oldest road race tracks in the country.
Oreti Park Speedway
Opened in 1974, it's the world's southern-most speedway track.
Invercargill Street Race
Street races are unique in a sense that nobody gets to practise on the circuit before the competition. Invercargill's present venue has only been used since 2015, but it is already a firm favourite with racers. The tight roundabout before the start-finish straight means spectators are treated to a drag race on each lap.
The beach race is held on Oreti Beach, where Burt Munro practised his racing skills and set his New Zealand beach speed records. In the finale, competitors are faced with a Le Mans start (parked bike and a short run to take off), a 10 second compulsory pit stop and a racing distance of 50 miles around a 0,5 mile lap.
Each year, the Munro family presents the 'Competitor of the Year' trophy to the winner. Mind you, winning is not as straightforward as you think. In the true spirit of Burt's love of motorbikes, the right candidate has to fulfil a number of criteria:
- Criteria 1: Does the competitor compete in Burt’s speciality events?
- Criteria 2: Does the competitor maintain their own machines?
- Criteria 3: Does the competitor make their own parts?
- Criteria 4: Is the competitor determined to give everything they have to win?
The four-day Burt Munro Challenge takes place in February, which is at the height of the New Zealand summer. Spectators can expect lots of petrol-fuelled action, special guest appearances both on and off the bike, a great atmosphere and, last but not least, the famed Southland hospitality.
The map shows the locations for the six different racing events: the Bluff Hill Climb, the Super-X Competition, the Teretonga Race Circuit, the Oreti Park Speedway, the Invercargill Street Race and the Beach Race.
For more information on the event, race registration and spectator tickets, go to the official Burt Munro Challenge website.
The Classic Motorcycle Mecca in Invercargill displays over 300 motorbikes and related exhibits including solo, sidecar and even three wheeled automobiles from as early as 1902. Manufacturers represented in the museum include AJS, Ariel, BMW, Brough Superior, Harley Davidson, Henderson, Indian, Matchless, Rudge, Schwinn and Zundapp.
And whilst you're in town, don't forget to visit Burt Munro's real bike, the 'Munro Special Indian Scout'. It's housed in an operating hardware store, along with dozens of other motorbikes and some iconic movie memorabilia from The World's Fastest Indian.