Put Bay of Plenty rider Tony Rees on a motorcycle, stand back and watch the fireworks.
Although making his debut appearance, the Whakatane man was virtually unstoppable at the annual Burt Munro Challenge this season, taking his “spare bike”, a 2009-model Honda CBR1000RR, to win two of the events he entered and finishing first-equal in another at the week-long festival.
The 48-year-old Rees impressively won both the Formula One races that wrapped up the final day of activities, the inaugural Honda Invercargill Street Races, on a closed-off section of the city’s industrial area.
Rees won the class ahead of Lee Munro (a relative of the legend himself, Burt Munro) and Christchurch’s Dan Ornsby and won the day overall ahead of fellow Honda rider Jeremy Holmes, from Invercargill.
To make it even sweeter for the Rees contingent, Rees’ 20-year-old son Damon Rees was not far behind in sixth and fourth spots – although actually finishing 3-2 among the 600cc bikes, who were scored separately – over the two races, to finish runner-up in the up-to-600cc category.
It was a glittering week for Tony Rees, who also won Thursday’s Bluff Hill Climb, took a Honda CRF450 to finish third in his class in the beach race on Friday and climbed back on his Honda CBR1000RR to finish first equal with a 1-2 scorecard in the F1 class during circuit racing at Teretonga Park Raceway on Saturday.
“I had never been to the Burt Munro event before, but I had been meaning to come down for years,” he said.
“I was heading down here about five years ago and I broke my leg just before I came which was the end of that.”
The Whakatane man believes his wealth of experience helped him to succeed in his Burt Munro debut.
“I have been road racing a good 20 years plus, overseas, here and World Superbike and World Endurance events,” he said.
“I have done a lot of street racing which helps when it comes to here,” said Rees, who is the record winner of the annual Paeroa Streets Races and a multi-time former winner and current champion of the Boxing Day races on Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit.
“It has been a big week, but this is an excellent series of events and they made us very welcome down here. They really looked after us.”
His eldest son, 22-year-old Mitchell Rees, had qualified third overall in the supercross nationals, the second event of the Burt Munro week on Thursday night, before gale force winds forced it to be cancelled.
Also impressive during the week was Ashburton’s Andrew Rudd, the Honda Country mechanic who took an old Honda CR250 two-stroke to win his class at Friday’s beach races. He also ran a Honda CRF450 in the hillclimb races on Thursday and in the Honda Invercargill Street Races on Sunday.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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