Words: BRM Staff Pics: BRM Archive

The Burt Munro Challenge has moved to the [hopefully] sunnier month of February from its traditional November, so what can we look forward to at the 12th annual Burt Munro Challenge?

Yep, the 12th annual Burt Munro Challenge skipped 2017 by, and moved to the beginning of February. What a relief! Let’s face it, while November is usually the first month of stable weather leading into summer, Southland often doesn’t get the memo with weather more often seen in winter hampering the Burt’ in years past.

February is one of the busier months on the Kiwi motorcycling calendar, with the Paeroa Battle of the Streets and a round of the NZSBK Championship usually taking place during the last month of summer. However, this year the NZSBK Championship has moved to January and March dates, meaning you’ve got no excuse to miss out on heading down to Invercargill for February 8th to 11th!

First and foremost, the Burt Munro Challenge is a gathering of Kiwi motorcyclists to celebrate the life and works of one of our own, the legendary Burt Munro. As such, a cornerstone of the Burt Munro Challenge is the Rally, in which you and your mates saddle up and hit the road for Invercargill.

As with most bike Rallies, you’ll be camping if you take up the Challenge to attend the Burt Rally, but included in the price of camping at the Burt Munro Rally Site is plenty of extras to get your motor running. With free showers and an entertainment marquee for Friday and Saturday nights, the rally also provides plenty of food stalls and a bar to purchase food and drinks, along with free buses to the Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs on Friday afternoon plus free courtesy coaches to town on Friday and Saturday night if you want to check out Invercargill’s night life.

New for this year is two options for pricing. If dashing around the ‘bottom of the South’ to events seems a bit of a stretch, or you simply would rather do other things during some of the racing, you can grab a $60 Rally pass, which reduces your entry fee to all Burt Munro Challenge events by 50% but still gives you access to camp at the Rally site with all its amenities, or you could go for the $120 All Access Pass giving you free entry to the Rally and all the racing events.

The Racing Action

While many of us will be wandering the south enjoying the scenery and the company of fellow riders, the other aspect of the Burt’ follows in the same spirit of the man himself, and for many it’s all about the racing!

Unlike many other motorcycling events around the country, the Burt Munro Challenge is inclusive for motorcyclists who fancy both road and dirt riding., with events ranging from the Bluff hillclimb, to twilight drag racing, to the Beach Racing Champs and Speedway Spectacular.

Kicking the action off is the Classic Motorcycle Mecca NZ Hill Climb Champs, which sees riders try to make the trip up Flagstaff Road in Bluff. Kicking off from 10am on Thursday morning, get up there early to get a great vantage point.

The Hirepool Twilight Drag Racing is a new inclusion to the Burt’s racing calendar, but is perhaps the easiest for average Joe to get in on the action if the mood suits. Entries close on the day (but get in early to secure a spot) with a day membership of $30 the only extra needed to hit the strip at Teretonga Raceway.

After a night of partying, the racing action for Friday is a relaxed day at the beach – Burt Munro style! Revving into life at 3pm, the Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs are a popular event to check out with 10 classes set to race this year. If you want to compete, you can enter online at burtmunrochallenge.co.nz, but note; a MNZ Full Championship Licence is required.

Saturday is packed with racing action, with Teretonga going full noise with the E Hayes & Sons sponsored Circuit Racing. Make sure you pop into E Hayes & Sons (Opposite Classic Motorcycle Mecca on the main street of Invercargill) to check out The World’s Fastest Indian in person along with the rest of the classic bike collection houses among the nuts and bolts of the hardware store.

Closing out Saturday is the Oreti Park Speedway Spectacular, before the main event on Sunday – the Honda Invercargill Street Races. Last year, the street racing was rained out, so here’s hoping for some settled weather for the lads to lay some rubber down on the streets of Invercargill!

Something for everyone

In between the racing, there are plenty of local attractions to get in amongst at the Burt. Transport World is a must, with Classic Motorcycle Mecca in particular, being high on your priority list of places to check out. The newly opened ‘Dig This’ should also be on your list if you’ve ever dreamt of driving a digger (come on, of course you have). Don’t forget the obligatory stop at Bluff too, as no one will believe you truly went to the Burt unless you’ve ridden to the bottom of State Highway 1.

As you can see, there is plenty of action for everyone in Invercargill. You just have to get there!


Where to go, and when

Burt Munro Challenge Rally

9am, Thursday February 8 to 12pm, Sunday February 11

Oreti Park, Invercargill

Classic Motorcycle Mecca NZ Hill Climb Champs

10am, Thursday February 8

Flagstaff Road, Bluff

Hirepool Twilight Drag Racing

6pm, Thursday February 8

Teretonga Park

Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs

3pm, Friday February 9

Oreti Beach

E Hayes & Sons Teretonga Circuit Racing

9am, Saturday February 10

Teretonga Raceway

Oreti Park Speedway Spectacular

4pm, Saturday February 10

Oreti Park Speedway

Honda Invercargill Street Races

11am, Sunday February 11

Bill Richardson Drive, Invercargill