SOUTHLAND motorcycling legend Burt Munro is now a life member of the Southland Motorcycle Club (SMCC), albeit posthumously, and has also been nominated to become a life member in Motorcycling New Zealand’s (MNZ) Hall of Fame.
SMCC committee member Stephen Winteringham said he was surprised when he discovered Munro wasn’t a life member, especially as the club had organised the annual four day Burt Munro Challenge for the past 10 years, so he nominated him.
The club officially made Munro a life member on April 12, and to honour this achievement a plaque would be made and mounted on the Burt Munro bronze statue on the Gala St Reserve at Queens Park, he said.
‘‘Now we are hoping he will make it to the MNZ Hall of Fame.’’
A Kiwi icon, Munro set several New Zealand land-speed records in the 1940s and ’50s. He was also an international legend. On his first trip to the Bonneville salt flats, in the United States in 1962 he set a world land-speed record of 178.98mph. He was 63.
Munro was passionate about speed and travelled to the salt flats a further eight times and set two more world records.
Mr Winteringham is heading to Wellington next week to attend the biennial New Zealand Motorcycle awards and conference which will also celebrate 100 years of MNZ.
The conference is being held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa.
Begun as the New Zealand Auto Cycle Union, MNZ now has more than 3500 members from 53 clubs nationwide.
The club would learn at the conference whether Munro’s life member nomination was successful, Mr Winteringham said.
‘‘If we are, we will bring back the blue jacket which is awarded to life members and have it framed and hung in the clubrooms.’’
As part of the conference, some of the top motorcycles in New Zealand and motorcycling paraphernalia will be on display at Te Papa.
Mr Winteringham is sending the motorcycle made as a movie prop for the 2005 Burt Munro movie World’s Fastest Indian — the streamliner replica usually displayed at E Hayes & Sons — the Burt Munro Challenge family trophy and the Burt Munro Challenge beach 50 lap trophy.