Danny does Invercargill
Danny Ahern joined a group of intrepid Aussies to the 2018 Burt Munro Challenge in NZ. He made a few notes:
“I got the opportunity to be an integral part of one helluva trip. Eddy Garner’s Aussie Bike Tours were the instigators. The Burt Munro Challenge now being held in February instead of November all helped us all make up our minds. Eddy had 23 takers in total. Some to race, some just riding around, some participating in rallies. The emphasis was the ‘Hand Change Challenge’ being Harley and Indian bikes racing each other, Australia versus NZ. Eddy did a marvellous job getting everyone over to NZ along with their bikes and of course all the logistics involved once we got there.
Our first competition would be The Hill Climb at The Bluff, about 20 km from Invercargill. Wow what a hill, what an event, laid back officialdom, pits spread throughout the backstreets at the bottom of the climb. Everyone was excited to be there and just couldn’t wait to start up their bikes and be part of this institution, The Burt Munro Challenge. People coming up to chat and admiring our bikes. This included many Aussies, some I knew, some were friends of friends others were strangers but we all had one thing in common; heaps of people lining the road up the hill a la Isle of Man style. The merchandise caravan could not keep up, Burt Munro stuff selling like hot cakes. This event ended around 2.30pm and we all headed over to Teratonga race track where the Drag races were destined to take place as a twilight event. Me with my Manx-framed G50 along with all the C Class Indians and Harleys from Australia were to do ‘demo runs’. I had never done drag racing before, so with some tutoring from my pal Murray Johnson, I thought I’d give it a go. Reaction time was credable, elapsed time of 15.04 secs was too along with 90mph terminal speed. I just did one run, most of the hand shifters did two! Wow what a day, two events participated in on one day! Friday had us back to Teratonga for a bit of practice for Saturday’s circuit racing, before heading off to Oreti Beach for the Beach races. I stood out of that event and used the time working out of the Transit van to change my gearing in readiness of the racing on Saturday. All the hand shifter mob raced on the beach and had a ball. Gee the crowds were huge and just loved it. Saturday came around and the Road Races at Teratonga were just great, one quick circuit indeed. I was thrilled to be dicing all day in every race with Isle of Man legend Bill Swallow. Once races were done we headed to the speedway for a look, wow huge event indeed. Sunday was our last event, Street Races, unfortunately rain came, roads were slippery and as such the event got cut short after qualifying and just one race. I’m sure most of us will do it all again in 2020.
ABOVE Danny gets the Manx/G50 under way up the Bluff Hill Climb. INSET BELOW Danny Ahern, Bill Swallow and Murray Johnson swap stories at the Hill Climb.