Burt’s Bash Out at the Beach M

New Zealand Classic Car - - NEWS - Words: Janette Gel­latly

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)

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