Thursday, November 26


All roads lead to Southland for the nation's motorcyclists this weekend as the annual Burt Munro Challenge gets underway for another year.

The four-day weekend of activity includes the Bluff Hill Climb today, the New Zealand Beach Racing Championships on Friday, the Teretonga Sprint Races on Saturday and the Wyndham Street Race on Sunday.

A record number of competitors and rally-goers are expected in Invercargill for the Burt Munro Challenge and organisers are also expecting about 2000 motorcycle enthusiasts to turn up to the rally at Oreti Park.

Beach race organiser Steve Winteringham said he was impressed with the "record number of helpers" who had come forward this year.

"We have about 40 people willing to work at Oreti Beach to make this a success.

"Titles will be decided over an 800-metre oval course -- that we've actually moved along the beach this year to avoid the Toaroa shellfish beds … we're thinking of the environment -- and it should again be a highlight of the weekend.

"As well as the national beach racing titles, there will also be races for ATV and super quads. We hope to make them national titles next season," he said.

Top beach race title contenders include Taranaki's Mitch Rowe, the former national 500cc motocross champion who now dedicates his time to racing super motard, and Invercargill's Greg Baynes.

Road-racing legend Brian Bernard, of Wanganui, is also entered this year and he should be a threat.

Also expect to see strong performances again from Christchurch's Jason Feaver, Nelson's Roger Middlebrook, Auckland's Bruce Fraser and Queenstown's Trevor Keast.

In addition to all the race action, the revolutionary New Zealand superbike that broke four world records will be in Invercargill for the weekend.

One of the legendary Britten V1000s – built by the late motorcycle engineering genius John Britten – will be in the city.

Built in the early 1990s, the Britten motorcycle has become a world-class racing bike and is extremely rare with only 10 of the distinctive fluorescent pink and blue bikes ever built.

Burt Munro Challenge steering committee chairman Wayne Affleck said motorcycle enthusiasts would have a chance to get close to the Britten, as well as former top superbike riders, Andrew Stroud and Aaron Slight, at an evening at Ascot Park Hotel tonight.

The programme of events is:

* Thursday: Bluff Hill Climb At Flagstaff Rd, Bluff. Racing starts 11am. Night with Aaron Slight and Andrew Stroud Ascot Park Hotel, 7.30pm
* Friday: Burt Munro Challenge Beach Racing and New Zealand Championships Oreti Beach, from 5pm
* Saturday: Burt Munro Challenge Teretonga Sprint Races Teretonga Raceway, from 9am Burt Munro Challenge Speedway Spectacular Oreti Park Speedway, from 5pm
* Sunday: Burt Munro Challenge Wyndham Street Race Wyndham, from 10am