The four day challenge heats up

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Aussie Bike Tours owner Eddy Garner, who will be racing in various events including the drags, Bluff hill climb, beach and street races during this year’s Burt Munro Challenge, in action on his 1942 Harley Davidson WLA 750 handshifter. Photo: Supplied

THE air will be reverberating with the hum, thud and roar of motorcycles as Oreti Beach, Bluff, Invercargill and surrounds host a variety of events during the Burt Munro Challenge (BMC) beginning next Thursday.

Arguably New Zealand’s largest all-round motorcycle rally, the four-day event takes in the Classic Motorcycle Mecca NZ Hill Climb Champs in Bluff and the Hirepool Twilight Drag Racing, which is new to the event, on Thursday.

Because of tidal conditions, the iconic Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs along Oreti Beach will begin from 3pm on Friday.

On Saturday there will be the E Hayes & Sons Teretonga Circuit Races at Teretonga; as well as the Oreti Park Speedway Spectacular.

The action-packed Honda Invercargill Street Races will be held around the Bill Richardson Dr and Arena Ave business park from 11am on Sunday, February 11.

Hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club, president Andy Underhay said pre-entries this year were up on previous years.

“It’s already up on what it has been in previous years” with 280 entries registered just four weeks after entries were officially opened, he said.

“Overall, it’s a good third up on entries,” he said, which he put down to the time of year the rally was being held and the potential of good weather.”

“Everything is in our favour this year.”

All the classes and fields are a lot healthier this year, he said.

There will be at least 20 riders in all fields, which will make it more interesting for the spectators, he said.

This year’s inaugural BMC drag racing would also be a revelation for a lot of people, he said.

“It’s new and interesting for people to see and hear.”

He also noted there was also an increase in the classics.

“There will be more very old stuff – pre 1940, and the BEARS classes are also up.”

Seeing the Australians with their vintage Indian and Harley Davidson handshift racers compete would be of particular interest to him.

“They are very rare to see, so will be a visual and audio delight. They are absolutely up for everything, the hillclimb, drags, beach racing, speedway and street races.”

The only area of concern for the challenge, if the weather proved too hot, may be Bluff Hill, he said.

However, there had been repairs on the road, so he was confident all would go well, he said.

“It’s going to be a good Burt… if it does rain, at least it will be a lot warmer.”

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