Riders head into city ahead of rally

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    Members of the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association of Victoria club (from left) John Wormald, Brian March, Ralf Feely, Miles Cheg and Ross Bolding line up outside E Hayes & Sons yesterday ahead of the Burt Munro Challenge. Photo: Petrina Wright

    THE influx of thousands of motorcyclists into Invercargill ahead of the Burt Munro Challenge this weekend is noticeably slower than in previous years due to widespread flooding and road closures throughout Southland.

    “Just as we are excited about the Burt, which we love [getting under way], we know down the road people are dealing with flooding,” Southland Motorcycle Club president Andy Underhay said.

    “Our emotions are a bit torn.”

    People attending the challenge usually arrived on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, but many were delayed due to the adverse weather conditions, he said.

    The rally site had been opened early and once they arrived, riders would be greeted with a hot cup of tea or coffee, he said.

    “They will have had quite a pained journey down here, unfortunately.”

    Despite the slow arrival of many riders, as of noon yesterday, Mr Underhay said all events would go ahead as planned.

    Invercargill motorcycle enthusiaist Alan Henery on his Harley Davidson outside E Hayes & Sons on Wednesday.

    “There is absolutely no reason why we will do anything differently.”

    Since its inception in 2006, the Burt Munro Challenge had grown into one of the largest all-round motorcycle rallies in the Southern Hemisphere.

    cycle Club, the four-day event incorporated a series of races, including hill climb, drag, street and beach racing.

    One group of riders and their bikes which arrived dry and intact included members of the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association of Victoria (HMRAV) club from Australia.

    The group had brought 15 handshift bikes, almost all of which were about 80 years old, to race at the rally.

    HMRAV club secretary Brian March said members of the club attended the rally in 2018 and enjoyed the experience so much they were back for more.

    “We love it. We have found the Kiwis so friendly,” he said.

    “… and the camaraderie between riders to be phenomenal.”

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