”DISASTER has been averted”, according to Burt Munro Challenge (BMC) street race organiser Garry Jamieson. One of the main attractions at this year’s challenge will be international motorcycling racer, truck mechanic and TV presenter Guy Martin.
He was keen to come, but was also keen to ride his own motorbike, Jamieson said.
However, the motorcycle missed the boat it was booked on to New Zealand.
Jamieson said that was due to Martin’s commitments at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States.
“He had thought his bike would be ready to come over, then he went to Bonneville and it took longer there than he thought it would.”
While at Bonneville, Martin broke the world land speed record for Triumph bikes two months ago. But missing the boat had turned out to be fortunate, Jamieson said.
“[The bike] hadn’t been running well at Bonneville, and when Guy stripped it down he found it had a long crack along the crankshaft,” Jamieson said.
“If it had made it on the boat, he wouldn’t have been able to ride it at the challenge – it would have only been good as a static display. Obviously, the motorcycle gods are looking after us.”
With time against them finding an alternative transport option narrowed with each phone call, Jamieson said.
“I contacted a lot of shipping and freight companies for help, but they all said the same thing – ‘there was not enough time’.”
Finally, Finlay McArthur, Air New Zealand’s regional cargo manager for the United Kingdom and Europe, said Air New Zealand could fly the bike over.
“He transports world rally cars to New Zealand, so transporting a motorcycle was no biggy.”
Jamieson said it was a relief to receive McArthur’s email saying “don’t worry, I can make this happen”.
He praised McArthur saying, “he has gone beyond in every way”.
Martin’s motorcycle was expected in Invercargill in mid-November, with Martin arriving soon after, Jamieson said.
The four-day BMC takes place in Invercargill and surrounds from November 24-27.
Jamieson said a fundraising evening and auction would be held at Bill Richardson Transport World, on Wednesday, November 23, at 7pm, raising money for St John Ambulance.
Martin would speak, along with other guest speakers including Australian motorcyclist and double amputee Alan Kempster and former superbike champions Aaron Slight and Tony Rees.
Tickets were selling fast, with more than half the 500 tickets already taken, Jamieson said.
“The dress code is overalls and sideburns, with casual attire optional. There will be prizes for the best sideburns, best dressed, and best themed table.”Tickets cost $80 each, available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Janette Gellatly