Danny does In­ver­cargill

Danny Ah­ern joined a group of in­trepid Aussies to the 2018 Burt Munro Chal­lenge in NZ. He made a few notes:

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

“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.

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