Friday, June 28


Registrations for the 2013 Burt Munro Challenge open on Monday (July 01) with organisers in Invercargill braced for another influx of competitors and rally-goers on the back of a great track record and some impressive international media coverage.

The week-long challenge includes a Hill Climb, Beach Racing, Track Sprint Racing, Speedway, and Street Racing and is run (this year between November 28 and December 01) each year to celebrate the life of champion racer and favourite Southland son, Burt Munro.

About 1500 people attended the Challenge last year, with about 250 taking to the track, beach and road as competitors.  About 50 attendees were from Australia and organisers hoped to build the international contingent in 2013.

Southland Motorcycle Club president Craig Hyde (pictured) said last year’s event was the smoothest run yet but this year could be a lot bigger with national and international interest growing.

“It’s just keeping the spark going. It’s good to have something different each year. We’re trying to target a few more from Australia to come this year,” he said.

The Challenge was “huge” for Invercargill, Mr Hyde said.

Venture Southland Event Manager Jade Gillies said some Southland motorcycle enthusiasts had attended rallies in Australia at which they had spread the word about the Burt Munro Challenge.
Now in its eighth year, the Challenge was seen as the biggest all round motorcycle rally in New Zealand.

“Where it beats all the rest is that there are so many disciplines. There are bigger rallies (in terms of numbers in New Zealand) but they don’t have the racing events we do.”

The challenge was underpinned by loyal support from the regular attendees known as “weekend warriors,” Mr Gillies said.

“They come back every year because they love it. 

“It always surprises me how much of a following anything to do with bikes and cars gets in Southland. We get a lot of support locally.”

Time Magazine’s listing of the Challenge as one of its “must do” events for 2013 was potentially a massive boost, Mr Gillies said.

“We won’t know until the event how successful that has been. I’ve certainly noticed a lot more interest and enquiries than before.”

He was fielding calls from people interested in bringing bike memorabilia to show off at the event and from motorcycle groups planning trips down the country culminating in a weekend at the Challenge, he said.

Mr Gillies encouraged Southlanders to embrace the rally site at Oreti Park – which was sometimes seen as “just a campsite” – but bikes were on display there and music, food and drink and other entertainment there was an integral part of the rally. This year the main entertainment will be provided by The Recliner Rockers with support from local bands.

Organisers wanted to keep building the quality of the event and would be unveiling some new drawcards for 2013.

The decision not to stage Long Track racing this year, due to low competitor numbers in 2012, was disappointing, but it could make a return in future years, Mr Gillies said. 

Prices would be similar to last year with a range of options available for public attending events, he said.

All major sponsors from last year have been retained and the event would again be part of the Movember charity supporting prostate cancer and other men’s health initiatives.


For more information contact:
Southland Motorcycle Club president Craig Hyde 027 513 1470
Venture Southland Event Manager Jade Gillies 021 0799 676