This year’s Burt Munro Challenge was another roaring success and even the weather could not put too much of a dampener on proceedings.
However, high winds did cause one of the headline events of the Burt Munro Challenge in Southland to be cancelled this year — with the beach racing nationals ruled out — but everything else ran to schedule with record crowds thoroughly enjoying the four-day motorcycle race festival in and around the city of Invercargill.
Gale force winds and driving rain lashed Southland for long periods at the weekend. This created havoc for the beach racing at Oreti Beach but also brought down trees and caused several traffic accidents in the area.
Burt Munro Challenge organiser Steve Winteringham said he was disappointed the racing had to be called off.
With increasing wind speed, an incoming tide and continuous rain, there was no choice but to cancel, he said.
“Not even Burt Munro himself could have handled those conditions,” he said.
Winteringham said the weather had caused ruts in the track, and the race clerk had deemed the track too unsafe to ride on.
Meanwhile, the coveted Burt Munro Challenge Trophy — awarded for overall contribution — went to New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe, who participated in almost every event. The only event he missed was the Speedway Spectacular.
And this honour was bestowed on the multi-talented Rowe (pictured above) despite the fact that he was only able to operate at about “90 percent” after breaking his leg earlier this year.
In the Wyndham Street Race event on Sunday, the battle was on between many-time former national superbike champion Andrew Stroud (Suzuki GSX-R1000) and fellow Hamilton rider Nicholas Cole (on a 600cc bike, a Kawasaki ZX6R), with Stroud eventually winning the day.
Stroud also broke the lap record at Wyndham with a 37.56-second effort on the 1.2km course.
Though No.2 in the superbike class, Cole was the top rider in the Formula Two category.
Other overall winners at the Wyndham Street Race included Ashburton’s Bryan Hill in the Formula Three, and Dunedin’s Kane Bray in the BEARS. Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer won both Super Motard 1 trophies at Wyndham and Teretonga, with Winton’s Brent Scammell the Super Motard 450 champion.
In the older bike categories, Christchurch’s Kevin Orr was the champion in the pre-89 section with local rider Chris McMeeken the overall pre-82 champion.
Former Invercargill rider Jason Feaver (Honda), now of Christchurch, won the Bluff Hill Climb event on Thursday, ahead of Scammell.
In speedway racing on Saturday night, Fraser Gillespie and swinger David Uitentuis won the top prize as Russell Stuart and Andy Parker finished runners-up and Brent Tomkins and swinger Nigel Cuckow were third.
Grant Tregoning won the solo A class.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com