British motorcycle star Guy Martin set for Burt Munro Classic

Motorcycling icon Guy Martin is coming to New Zealand soon to honour Kiwi legend Burt Munro.

Guy Martin – one of the world’s most popular motorcycle racers and TV personalities – is coming to New Zealand soon to honour New Zealand motorcycling legend Burt Munro.

Englishman Guy Martin will race his own bike in New Zealand at the 2016 Burt Munro Challenge in late November.

Martin will be bringing his 320hp turbo-charged Suzuki GSX-R1100 – a bike that usually resides in his living room - to compete in the challenge. The event was inspired by the success of the 2005 film The World’s Fastest Indian based on the life of the legendary New Zealand speedster Burt Munro. 

Considered a New Zealand icon, Burt Munro set an under-1000cc world record, at Bonneville in the USA in 1967, a world land speed record that still stands. Munro was born in Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city, and the home to the Burt Munro challenge. 

The Burt Munro Challenge, which runs from 24 – 27 November, is billed as New Zealand's largest motorcycle rally. It involves street, beach, supercross, speedway and circuit racing.

Guy Martin will take part in the Bluff Hill Climb, the Oreti Beach races, circuit racing, and finishing the event on the Sunday in the Invercargill street races. 

Martin is a household name for motorcycle racing enthusiasts having had 15 podium finishes in Isle of Man TT events since 2003. Martin is a regular on UK television hosting the show 'Speed with Guy Martin' where he attempts to set speed records, much like Burt Munro did in his lifetime. 

With over 1 million followers on Facebook, Martin is no small-fry but, despite his massive fan base, the star remains grounded continuing to work in his chosen trade as a truck mechanic out of his father’s business in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England. 

He has been asked to front various TV programmes, including 'Top Gear', Burt Munro Challenge racing organiser Garry Jamieson said.

"He's hot property - the hottest thing on the planet. He is a motorbike legend and constantly gets various offers each day and has millions of followers. He's a global phenomenon."

Jamieson said it had taken three years of negotiations between himself, Bike Rider NZ magazine editor Kevin Kingham and Martin and his team, to get to this stage.

He hoped the visit would also be an opportunity for Martin to chill out and enjoy Invercargill’s ‘southern hospitality’, rugged landscape and local seafood including the famed Bluff Oyster.

"We really want him to have a really great time and bring his friends. They are the elite of the motorbike world," Jamieson said.

Burt Munro Challenge

Following the success of The World’s Fastest Indian movie, the Southland Motorcycle Club launched the Burt Munro Challenge to honour Burt, his ingenuity, determination, and love of speed and motorcycles. 

The inaugural event was held in 2006, and it has since forged a name for itself as one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. 

The Burt Munro Challenge features hill climbs, super X, Indian Motorcycle NZ Beach Racing Champs, Circuit Racing, street races and a speedway spectacular.

It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as weekend warriors, and provides a variety of exciting events, entertainment and famous southern hospitality.

The Burt Munro Challenge will be held from 24 –27 November, 2016, at Oreti Park, in Otatara, Invercargill.

Classic Motorcycle Mecca

Scheduled to open during the 2016 Burt Munro Challenge, the Classic Motorcycle Mecca is moving to classy new premises in central Invercargill. It was previously housed in Nelson and known as NZ Classic Motorcycles. 

This world-class collection features more than 300 motorbikes – solo, sidecar, three-wheeled automobiles and machinery from 1902 onwards – including some notable restorations such as a 1902 Peugeot motorcycle and a 21st Century Simms Corbin Custom. Brands represented include AJS, Ariel, BMW, Brough Superior, Harley Davidson, Henderson, Indian, Matchless, Rudge, Schwinn and Zundapp. 

The Southland region has a celebrated obsession with motorbikes and wheeled pastimes. Invercargill is also home to the Bill Richardson Transport World – reputedly the largest private collection in the world of its type with over 300 rare and significant vehicles including vintage trucks, racing cars and other rare vehicles.

Invercargill, Southland

Invercargill, located in the southern reaches of New Zealand’s South Island, is the largest city in the Southland region. New Zealand’s southernmost region is a sparsely populated area of sprawling farms, trout-fishing rivers, rugged coastline and untouched natural expanses.

Invercargill offers its legendary 'southern hospitality' and a base to explore beautiful wild destinations like the Catlins Coast and Curio Bay. 

Bluff, a fishing port south of Invercargill, is famous for its oysters - a traditional New Zealand delicacy harvested from the chilled waters of the southern ocean. Bluff is also the gateway to Stewart Island or Rakiura, New Zealand’s third largest island and a haven for native bird life such as the iconic kiwi, kereru (native wood pigeon), bellbird, tui and rare saddleback.

The Southland region has many diverse hiking routes, from short walks to multi-day treks and is one of New Zealand’s most pristine environments.

Travel Tips

Invercargill is New Zealand's most southern city. The airport is serviced by flights from major New Zealand airports but one of the most popular ways to arrive in the city is by road on the Southern Scenic Route which travels from Dunedin to Invercargill via the spectacular Catlins Coast.