Sunday, November 25

FEAVER WINS BURT'S RACE


By MICHAEL ESDAILE

Commentator Neil Ritchie interviews Honda racer 
Jason Feaver after he won his 10th Burt Munro Trophy 
race at Oreti Beach.
IF THERE’S one event at the Burt Munro Challenge that is close to the ethos of the man himself, it is the 50 mile race at Oreti Beach for the Burt Munro Trophy.

In earlier years, this was run on the south end of Oreti with the pegs a mile apart, so each lap was two miles.  The race also used to be 50 laps, or 100 miles.  However, running at the south end today would create a logistical problem well beyond the resources of the Southland Motorcycle Club, just to get the large number of spectators transported down the beach.

There was no race at all for quite a few years, until Venture Southland hit on the idea of creating a Burt Munro weekend to cash in on the movie The World’s Fastest Indian.  Then the Resource Consent issues the Southland club had encountered trying to keep the beach race going were overcome and in 2006 a beach race at Oreti was once again a goer.

That 2006 event was run slightly to the south of the road entry onto the beach but concerns over its impact on the toheroa beds saw it moved further north and the grader that was employed to smooth the course was no longer used.  It appears the current course is slightly narrower, with less space between the sand dunes and the surf, so timing is critical.  The race has to be run at low tide.

As a teenager, local boy Jason Feaver won his share of Burt Munro Trophy beach races and when the event was revived, he won it again.  This year he made the pilgrimage from his Canterbury home to contest the Long Track, the Bluff Hill Climb and the Burt Munro Trophy and admits it is the latter that means most to him.

After racing a big-bore 600cc Honda CR500 two-stroke in the Hill Climb, as well as the Open class sprint races on the beach on November 23, Feaver switched over to a CRF450 four-stroke for the 50 mile race.
Front tyre barely kissing the sand, Jason Feaver has the Oamaru Honda CRF450
wide open as he streaks down Oreti Beach.

That alone would not have been enough, because the standard motocross fuel tank would not hold enough petrol to do 50 miles of wide open racing.  So Feaver fitted an auxiliary tank to the top of the Honda’s forks, and was ready for action.

Local KTM rider Greg Baynes had a 13 litre tank on his 505cc 450SX-F and was confident of making the distance without refueling, having won the event previously by taking the lead when his rivals stopped to refuel.

From the start, Feaver shot into the lead and hauled away from the field.  Baynes had not made such a good start and by the time he had worked his way from fourth to second, Feaver had a quarter of a lap break.  Before 10 laps were run, the pair of them had lapped up third placed Heath Botica - so it was a two-man contest from there on.

Feaver continued to stretch away until he had a half a lap break over Baynes and then he controlled it to the finish to claim his tenth Burt Munro Trophy. 

It was a masterful performance.  His Honda was fast, but there were other bikes as fast on Oreti Beach.  However, Feaver held the throttle on longer, braking later for the turns, then was on the throttle early, often passing two or three lapped riders at a time off the corners.

Baynes was lapping at the same pace as Feaver for almost three quarters of the race, so it was the first 10-12 laps that proved crucial.

After loading up his Hondas at the end of the evening, Feaver should have felt a well satisfied man.  But somehow, you get the sense he too has been bitten by the Gods of Speed, and will be back…