SINCE the Burt Munro Challenge (BMC) began in 2006, motorcyclist Garry Jamieson has taken on Bluff Hill, and the street races at Wyndham or the Invercargill circuit every year.
This year, he was adding the iconic beach race to his personal challenge.
Thankfully, it was not about winning, Jamieson said.
It was about enjoying the experience of taking part.
“I don’t ride hard, I have too many responsibilities. I ride safely.”
In the 30-odd years he had taken part in various motorcycle events throughout Australasia, he said he had never won anything… and he didn’t care.
“I often sit at the back of the pack and enjoy the moment and the experience of riding my own way.”
He usually raced a 900cc Ducati at each challenge.
However, it would never be raced on the sand, he said.
“It is the love of my life.”
Jamieson said he had always wanted to take part in the beach race, to get an old bike for as little as possible and take part in the spirit of Burt Munro.
“It was one of the things Burt did. Go as fast he could in a straight line [on the beach].”
The introduction of the clubman’s class at the beach in the past few years meant first-timers or social riders could take part.
“I had always wanted to do the beach, but didn’t have a reason to do it until now.”
Then about five months ago, he came across a wreck – in a shed.
“It would have been a good parts bike for someone… it was fit for the wrecking yard,” he said.
So he asked his mate, “what are you doing with that… can I have it?”
And that’s how the 1982 Yamaha 400 begun its transformation, in the spirit of Burt.
“It was a wee, hidden gem.”
He got to work on the machine, using the handlebars off an old motocross bike, the spare front brake off his Ducati, which he said was the most expensive part on the Yamaha
— ‘‘it won’t be staying there,’’ he joked — and various nuts and bolts.
“I haven’t bought anything new for it, except a $25 spray can to do one of the colours.”
The Yamaha was originally painted red.
“It looked like rust,” so it was repainted with antler symbols in honour of his daughter Dani Loader who made clothing under the Antler Apparel label.
“I just used spray cans to give it the antler affect.”
Then came the maintenance, cleaning, fuel, oil and battery.
“It started first time, I wasn’t expecting that.
“It’s running really nice.
“It’s good to ride. So far, it has only been up and down the driveway, but I’ll really find out at the beach race, I suppose.”
As part of the BMC, Jamieson has been the street race organiser at Wyndham and Invercargill for almost as long as the challenge had been held.
“I have been tied up with the event for so long, this time [the beach] will be for me.
“I have spent a lot of time organising and being at the event… hundreds of hours.
“It never goes away, the street race more than the other [BMC] events, has to be worked at all throughout the year.”
Taking part on Friday’s beach race, which this year would begin at 6pm on February 12, fitted in with Jamieson’s responsibilities as the Invercargill street race organiser.
“We don’t start building the circuit until Saturday morning”… and racing would begin on the Sunday at the Arena Ave/Bill Richardson business arena at 9am.
Burt Munro Challenge
Thursday, February 10, to Sunday, February 14: Southland Honda Have A Go Day, Wednesday, February 10; Star Insurance NZ Hill Climb Champs, Thursday, February 11; Harley-Davidson Twilight Drag Racing, Thursday, February 11; Indian Motorcycle Beach Racing and NZ Champs, Friday, February 12; E Hayes & Sons Teretonga Sprint Races,
Saturday, February 13; Sievwright Oreti Park Speedway, Saturday, February 13; Honda Invercargill Street Races, Sunday, February 14.
More information, www.burtmunrochallenge.co.nzBest Authentic SneakersNike Air Max 270