Burt’s Bash Out at the Beach M
otorcycle legend Burt Munro’s epic Bonneville world landspeed record will be celebrated 50 years to the day at his beloved Oreti Beach, near Invercargill.
On August 26, 1967, Munro — aged 68 and riding a 47-yearold Indian motorcycle — set an under-1000cc land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a record which has not been beaten since.
Stephen Winteringham, Southland Motorcycle Club vice president, said, “The club decided racing at the beach would be a fitting tribute to mark the milestone.”
For the past 11 years, the club has hosted the Burt Munro Challenge in late November. However, due to consistent bad weather, the next date for the annual event has been moved to February 2018. According to Stephen, members of the club didn’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate Munro’s 50-year record this year just because the challenge had been moved, so Burt’s Bash Out at the Beach is planned for Saturday, August 26. After all, the club wanted to pay tribute to Munro, and what better way than to pay homage at his old stomping ground on Oreti Beach?
Burt’s Bash will also double as the national beach-racing championships, for which the club holds the annual hosting rights. In addition, the day will include a have-a-go component for the public to ride their motorcycles on the beach. Winteringham said, “It’s going to be a full-on day, and we’re aiming for about 70 riders nationwide to join in the oncein-a-lifetime event. Because of the national titles on offer, we are expecting riders from throughout New Zealand.”
The event will coincide with Munro’s anniversary day, and will kick off at Oreti Beach between 9am and 10am, depending on the tide. As well as the traditional 50-lap race, there will be a one-mile down, one-mile return race, the way it used to be. “Because the event is to honour Burt’s record, we are planning to have a Le Mans start, where the riders have to run to their bikes and start them for the race, as it had been done years ago. And the winner of the 50-lapper will have a special badge commemorating the anniversary added to Burt’s 50-lapper trophy,” Winteringham said.
National titles in the 250cc, 500cc, open, and quad classes will also be on the programme.
In addition, as part of the 50th celebrations, there will be a charity auction, organized by E Hayes and Sons managing director Neville Hayes. An Indian Scout motorcycle will be among an impressive line-up of items to go under the hammer. According to Hayes, the shop and name have long been considered home to the legacy of Burt Munro, as Munro’s original bikes are on display in the store, along with memorabilia, and he is proud to celebrate Munro’s record in this way.
Burt Munro’s World Speed Record 50th Anniversary Charity Auction will be held at Ascot Park
Hotel on Saturday, August 26, 5pm–7pm, with proceeds to go to Hospice Southland.
“It’s 50 years to the day, which is great. We’ve got a lot of interest in the auction. It’s building nicely,” Hayes said.
Tickets to the charity auction, which are available from E Hayes and Sons, are $10, and items to be auctioned include a 2017 Indian Scout 1133cc V-twin motorcycle with a customized anniversary tank, which has been on display at E Hayes and Sons. A customized commemorative anniversary helmet, boxing gloves personally autographed by Joseph Parker and Kevin Barry, and a host of other items will also feature.
Burt’s Bash Out at the Beach race registrations are open. For more details and to buy tickets, head online to southlandmotorcycleclub.org.nz.
Above: E Hayes and Sons owner Neville Hayes (left) and Burt’s Bash Out at the Beach race organizer Stephen Winteringham (photo: Janette Gellatly)