No compromise on date clash

    Spectators watch racing at Oreti Beach, Otatara, during a previous Burt Munro Challenge. Photo: File

    THE Burt Munro Challenge committee will not move its dates to avoid a clash with Southern Field Days next year.

    The Burt Munro Challenge organiser, the Southland Motorcycle Club (SMCC), held several meetings last week to discuss its options.

    SMCC president Andy Underhay said the club committee had decided to proceed as planned.

    “The Burt Munro has not changed our dates.

    “We are just going to continue to do what we have done… hold our event finishing on the second weekend in February.”

    The challenge was really seven separate events wrapped into five days, involving different venues and sometimes different organisations running events, he said.

    “The Burt Munro is the Burt Munro experience.

    “The experience sees the biggest group of riders of motorcycles over five days — if we take an event away from Burt Munro [due to having to change a date], it’s not Burt Munro.”

    He had talked to both the ILT and the Invercargill City Council, who, although disappointed about the clash, understood why the challenge could not be moved.

    Mr Underhay said he had also spoken to Southern Field Days representatives about the decision.

    Field days promotions officer Justine Williams declined to comment.

    Great South tourism and events general manager Bobbi Brown said the agency had been speaking to both parties, but a solution could not be reached.

    “Both have solid reasons to keep their dates.

    “It is not ideal, but it is manageable.”

    She said Great South had been working to quantify the value of each visitor attraction in terms of revenue brought to the region.

    However, she highlighted the fact each drew thousands of people to Southland every year.

    “We could anticipate pressures on the sector, but we will manage the situation as best as we can.”

    Ms Brown said Great South would work with both parties to avoid any future clash.