Roger Donaldson remembers the first time he met Burt Munro. Burt Munro, however, did the unthinkable. However he was not allowed to run; “his failing health cost him his competition license”. Burt Munro’s name is known by shed builders across the globe and is the ultimate example of the gritty, adrenaline-fuelled pastime of expanding the limits of speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Burt thought he was already closer to the end than he actually was. “The World’s Fastest Indian” opened in 2005 in Invercargill starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro. Herbert James "Burt" Munro was born on 25 March 1899, in Edendale, Invercargill of New Zealand. The sculpture was created by Roddy McMillan and has been erected in Queens Park Invercargill as a lasting memorial to the legendary racer. Nevertheless Burt’s passion for machinery was peaked. He got his Indian under control and set off again to break a record. But Burt would not have been Burt if he did not find a way to solve the problem causing the wobble at least temporarily. When he purchased the Indian its top speed was around 50 miles per hour. That’s when Rollie said (…), ‘He’s gone back – back to whatever planet he came from, because he sure as hell ain’t from this one!’”. When his father passed away in 1949 Burt bought half of his parents’ farm property and built a racecourse, where he would test his motorcycles. The following extract follows Burt Munro's 1925 marriage to Beryl Martyn, and … The story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years rebuilding a 1920 Indian motorcycle, which helped him set the land speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967. Burt had high expectations to both himself and the Indian. He was a resourceful, unconventional motorcycle racer, who constantly pushed his bikes to new speeds, a traveller with many friends around the globe and a curious explorer. Burt knew he did not have a lot of time to modify or change his tyres which is why he made sure that the tyres were positioned in a way that the inspectors could not see the cords showing. “The Indian was actually a 1919 model,” says Burt Munro’s son, John. Donaldson’s interest into the Invercargill man’s life had been sparked after making the documentary “Offerings to the God of Speed”. So he packed up his things and travelled to the USA with the same bike – the same Indian he had bought in 1920. Answer 1 of 12: So sad to hear about the closure of the Southland Museum (, when a huge portion of our trip to Invercargill was to visit this motorcycle mecca. It was there that he first experienced ‘speed-wobble problems’ and had to jump off his bike midrace. In 1978 he finally succumbed to the heart condition that had troubled him for years. It was “all or nothing”. His requests got declined, which is why Burt settled for a single car garage where he lived and worked from then on. H Bauer Publishing are authorised and regulated for credit broking by the FCA (Ref No. They did not hesitate to award Burt with the Sportsman of the Year Award, for which he received 350 USD. It starred in a hit movie but the original ended up in a most unlikely place. Indian Summers, Sunday Star Times, November 14. In 1967, 68-year-old New Zealand native Burt Munro made motorcycle history by setting a new official land speed record - 184.087 mph with unofficial top speed of 205.67 mph—when he raced his heavily modified 1920 Indian Scout Streamliner across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, U.S.A. 845898). Instead of the recorded 183.586 mph, Burt’s average speed had been 184.710 on his North Run and 183.463 on his South Run. No one could put a stop to Burt Munro. that he build in a small shed in witch he lived too. Allen & Unwin, Auckland. In an obituary published in the Speed Week’s official programme Frank Oddo writes: “Burt Munro was one of those people, who has been most everywhere, done most everything and enjoyed the entire game of life to the fullest.”. Whether literally on-island or virtually off-shore (we call the New Zealand community that doesn’t live in Aotearoa "NEONZ"). Munro established six speed records in his native New Zealand before travelling to Bonneville in 1962 and setting a new 883cc class record of 178.95mph. In his free time the motorcyclist competed at the many New Zealand beach races on his Indian. Burt Munro’s arrival at the Salt Flats in 1971 – Permission Munro Family Collection. Burt nearly left his family in 1940 for the Second World War. After all these years he built a house next to his work shed and was keen to enjoy life. Power: By the end of its development, the original 18bhp Indian was pumping out 100bhp. A replica streamliner with a ThunderStroke 111 engine will also be on display at Bike Shed London this coming weekend to pay homage to the ultimate bike shed builder Burt Munro… Following several small jobs such as working at the waterfront or sawmill for instance, he went into partnership with one of his acquaintances: Mac Tulloch from Mataura. Salt was constantly being thrown up against his goggles. Burt Munro was a motorcycle racer, who set eight-speed records while alive, and one thirty-six years after his death.. Childhood and Early Life. Burt Munro and his Indian – Permission Munro Family Collection. Speaking to Roger Donaldson, Marty recalls a conversation with Burt about his health. I said, ‘Well, I should be dead long ago, but I’m so pleased to be alive I can’t help laughing!’”, One of the guys present, an air force officer made a remark, which according to Burt “saved (himself) twice later.”. In 1941 the racer suffered a bad accident, which forced him to take a one year break from racing and work. Burt Munro, known as the fastest man from New Zealand, became internationally known for the records he broke at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the 1960s. Used parts of motorbikes were lined up on a shelf, which he called “Offerings to the God of Speed”. Auckland Larry Becktold Burt Monroe, worlds fastest Indian Unfortunately it seemed that Burt’s luck had not returned fully when in his second qualifying run the Indian’s clutch gave him grief. Burt, 1962, and his Munro Special on the Bonneville Salt Flats- Permission Martin Dickerson. “But Burt bought it in 1920 so he always called it a 1920 model.”. Burt’s business partnership disintegrated three years later as it seemed he was more interested in his bikes than the business with Mac. Replica of Burt’s 1920 Indian, on which he broke the land speed record at TePapa – Wikipedia. Burt could not afford to buy new valves, so he collected every valve he could find and finished repairing his bike just in time to go for his final qualifying run. He never grumped at me (…) and I wasn’t too fussed on him patting me on the head with his greasy old hands”. When he finally was found Burt was lying in the shade trying to cool off. It was then that the typical Burt Munro luck struck and Mr McPherson, a solicitor, took on Burt’s case for free. – Burt Munro Munro’s story as the rider of the World’s Fastest Indian gained worldwide recognition when Sir Anthony Hopkins famously portrayed Munro in the movie of the same title. “We couldn’t find Burt anywhere – he was nowhere in sight. It was time for another record. This time things went surprisingly smoothly and Burt broke the record for the highest speed ever recorded by any timing apparatus at Bonneville or anywhere else for the Indian Munro Special with 190.06 mph. Motorbikes were his life after all. Burt Munro’s Indian at the Salt Flats stripped of its streamliner shell – Permission Richard Menzies, Burt Munro with his 1936 Velocette- Permission Munro Family Collection. As the bike was not suitable for riding on the beach anymore Burt did not test drive it with its modifications until he arrived in America again. He wanted to visit them. It stars Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, a fellow who reworked and modified a 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle over a period of nearly 40 years and then went on to set a world speed record for 1,000cc bikes at Bonneville with it in the late 1960s. It's called The World's Fastest Indian. He's my hero ! In the following year Burt started to work as a motorcycle salesman at Alf Tapper’s motorcycle shop ‘Tappers’. All registered in England and Wales. “At the time the council had a stipulated minimum stud height of eight feet in a domestic dwelling”, as described in Tim Hanna’s One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro. The 1919 Indian Scout was a 600cc V-twin with side valves and a three-speed, hand-change gearbox, capable of just 50mph. He “replaced the barrels, pistons, lubrication system, and flywheels with some of his own making (and) also designed a 4 cam to replace the original 2 cam design”. In 1967 Burt found that he was ready: It was time again to travel to America. If I’m going to die, I’ll go die in my car.’ ”. This garage was the maximum size of 20 x 10 feet allowed by post war building regulations. It was about being quick after all, and not about stopping. Little fella Herbert James Munro – Permission Munro Family Collection. I’m happy doing that. 15 miles per hour being the speed limit at that time. He had brought his bike and wanted to have one last run. more >, Aprilia gunning for superbike supremacy with 2021 RSV4 range, Aprilia are coming for the superbike crown in 2021 with an updated RSV4 range boasting more torque,... Updated record certificate, 1967, Permission Munro Family Collection. After the fire Beryl left Burt to move to Tauranga and took June, Gwen and John with her; only Margaret stayed with her father as she herself did not want to leave Invercargill. The machine was built by hand “by Jeb Scolman of Jeb’s Metal and Speed in Long Beach, California. I know (dad) is always breaking down, but he’s very happy working away (…). Do look up the story of 77 yr.old Burt Munro, who set world records on a sleek motor bike. Luckily he got help quickly and after securing a wheel and cleaning his goggles he was ready to go back. From then on record after record flew Burt’s way. On August 22, 1966 after enlarging the bike’s capacity to 61 cu. Burt Munro: I'm planning on going, not stopping. In the next attempt Burt pushed his Indian to its limits. He streamlined the Indian’s shell and rebuilt its entire motor. So - barring that; what Burt Munro things can we do/see instead? Burt made many friends on his countless trips to America – one of them Marty Dickerson. In 1975 he broke another record with an average speed of 136.15mph on the New Zealand beach, for the first time in four years. “There’s a lot of famous names at the museum, but he’s the only New Zealander here”. Colourful tales of a life well-lived. Marty Dickerson remembers the moment he and Rollie Free, Burt’s pushers, went looking for Burt in conversation with Roger Donaldson. When getting his bike checked Burt encountered another obstacle resulting from his unconventional bike building and modifying methods. “Like its eponym, the Burt is unique, combining seven forms of racing: beach, circuit, street, long track, sprint, hill climb and speedway. Singapore Random House, New Zealand. The stature is worth a brief stop at Queen's Park. As usual things weren’t easy for the Kiwi rider. Was he still racing in the right direction? Ian Johnston, another one of the kids who spent his time at Burt’s shed told Roger Donaldson: “I always had confidence in Burt and thought of him as the nicest, kindest man in the world. Contact | Privacy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Google+ © Copyright NZEDGE 1998-2021, World’s Top-Ranked Team Shaped by Kane Williamson, EDGE #410 Holiday Edition – Richie McCaw World Rugby Player of the Decade + 24 Global Kiwi Stories, Roger Donaldson On ‘Sleeping Dogs’ And ‘Cocktail’, New Fastest Indian for Burt Munro’s Great Nephew, Limited Fashion Collection Honouring Burt Munro, ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ Film on Sir Archibald McIndoe in the Works. His Indian already had been strained from the high speeds and going even faster now was an additional strain on the engine. Still stopping was no option. A large part of Burt Munro’s story (made famous in the 2005 film “The World’s Fastest Indian” starring Anthony Hopkins) was how he built his Munro Special by himself in his shed, spending upwards of 16 hours a day on his pet project.Munro built his own parts, casting his own pistons from old gas pipelines and filing his own cams by hand. However, he was unable to turn the Indian quickly as it did not have proper brakes. From then on Burt took things a bit easier. 101 ingenious Kiwis: how New Zealanders changed the world, Reed, Auckland. NZEDGE.COM EXECUTIVE EDITOR BRIAN SWEENEY, Economics has a reputation for being a boring topic but the life and career of New Zealand born economist A W H Phillips was anything but boring. He made barrels from pieces of cast iron gas pipe which he scrounged from the local gas company after they’d been dug up; he hand-carved con-rods from an old tractor axle, and even carved the tread off normal tyres with a kitchen knife to make high speed slicks! I’m happy doing that. He knew, however, that repairing his bike would be costly. In the same year of 1951 Burt raced at the NZ Open Beach Championship on December 8 at Oreti Beach. Burt wanted to build with a height of seven feet as otherwise he would have to pay for extra heating. In the same year he was approached by Aardvark Films and its producers Roger Donaldson and Mike Smith who wanted to produce the documentary “Offerings to the God of Speed” and later on were responsible for the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian”. Over the next years Burt became more known for his constant speed improvements and records on New Zealand beaches and roads. Burt Munro’s First Motorcycle In 1917, a local dealer started importing British made Clyno motorcycle and sidecar outfits. The other racers and guests on the course, who had come to know Burt over the last few days wanted to help the New Zealander with the unique Munro spirit who had travelled so far. Either way, the shelves are now located in the hardware shop. His parents owned a farm east of Invercargill and it was here that Burt discovered his love of and need for speed on the back of the farm’s fastest horse. Burt Munro to join Hall of Fame, The New Zealand Herald, June 05. Great story to go with world record holder, Burt Munro statue, but a very brief stop. Burt was responsible for truck maintenance and the mechanics of the business, whilst Mac worked on the accounting and business side. His passion for machinery became visible when at 14 years of age he built a working cannon to protect the farm from the Germans in WWI. Burt’s father did not share his son’s passion for speed and had hoped for his offspring to learn how to be responsible with money rather than buying motorbikes or parts to be added onto his bikes with every penny he owned. He was told by his friends Marty Dickerson and Rollie Free that his tyres would never be allowed on the race course as “the cords were showing” in some places. Burt Munro Statue, Invercargill: See 33 reviews, articles, and 32 photos of Burt Munro Statue, ranked No.12 on Tripadvisor among 35 attractions in Invercargill. It was in 1920 that Burt bought the motorbike love of his life – his Indian, which he would ride until his death in 1978. Burt, 1962, after being given the Sportsman of the Year Award in Bonneville- Permission Munro Family Collection. Beryl had tripped with a pot of boiling caustic soda for soap making and Burt caught most of the pot contents on his chest. If you don’t put an effort in at anything you might as well be a vegetable.”. In the late 1960s, after a lifetime of perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle, Burt sets off from the bottom of the world, Invercargill, New Zealand, to clock his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Again nothing was easy. Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT. Helpful. With a In addition to Roger Donaldson’s acclaimed movie “The World’s Fastest Indian”, Burt Munro has been honoured with many exhibitions in New Zealand museums such as TePapa and the Southland Museum & Art Gallery. Te Papa also holds one of two replicas of Burt’s record-breaking Munro-modified Indian used in the making of ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. Burt made them a cup of tea using the water tank on the outside of the shed. In 1957 he left New Zealand again to travel to the famous salt flats at Bonneville, Utah in the United States. Warren: Jeez, last seen springs on motorcycle had to be in the 1920s. In 1955 Burt decided that it was time for him to travel the world. Our thanks and appreciation to John Munro, Burt’s son, for his time and contribution, and for the use of family photos. He had no idea how his run had been and had to fix up his bike before he could go for the return run. In 1915 the farms horses were not enough anymore. In 2011 Polaris Industries bought the brand, because they wanted to build something to commemorate the Kiwi racer, Burt’s son John recalls in an article on The Spirit of Munro was born. From then on the travel bug had truly bitten Burt. 1945 was also the year that the Munro’s family home went up in flames when Burt was in hospital himself recovering from three degree burns from an accident. Burt spent the following days repairing his Indian. Just like on his previous runs, he lost orientation. In 1953 he and his Indian raced to 124.138 mph at the NZ Beach Open Capacity Flying Half-Mile, which he would raise to 131.380 mph on February 9, 1957. The loss of job did not devastate Burt. Everybody thought he would crash. The World’s Fastest Indian – Burt Munro – A Scrapbook of His Life. Engine: Originally a 600cc, Munro bored it out to 850cc, then 920cc, 953cc and, ultimately, 1000cc. However when attempting his ride, his bike did not run well as he had to change the shell of his Indian because of last-minute rule changes and he was not able to demonstrate what he and the Indian could do for the film crew. A storm made a race impossible and caused the Speed Week to be delayed. He broke the National Speed record – 61 cu inch 1000 class with an average speed of 168.066 mph. Those who love speed can also relive and honour Burt’s achievements when taking the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill, which has been named one of the 5-must do events in 2013 by Time Magazine. “It’s pretty amazing, quite a privilege” said Burt’s son John when he was told about the honour. In July 1975 Burt Munro travelled to America for the last time. Burt had a set of shelves in his shed, where he kept the parts he hand-made for his bikes. Roger Donaldson (2005). He goes out and blows up an engine and it keeps him busy for weeks – he’s very happy, he really is.”. In one of his scrapbooks Burt recalls that his father was not happy about his attempts. Murray Thwaites – one of the kids of the neighbourhood, who used to watch the bike enthusiast work in his shed – remembers his visits in an interview with The Times New Zealand. Working in his garden shed for 16 hours a day and only ever taking off a half day for Christmas, Munro developed his Scout over a period of 46 years, always seeking ways to make it go faster. Blu-ray Video Quality – The presentation is decent for the most part although some of the scenes set in the dark of Burt Munro's shed are thick with grain. He opened up his bike again only to find that the Indian’s valves were ruined and that he would need new ones. This, however, did not remain the only obstacle the fastest Kiwi had to face as many of Burt’s friends recall inter alia George Begg in his book “Burt Munro: Indian legend of speed”. Burt, 1969, in front of his shed with his “wee friends Denise L & Heather Butler” and his 1936 Velocette – Permission Munro Family Collection motorcycle enthusiast passed with flying colours and everything was set to return to the Speed Week. The following year, Burt was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing, Burt didn’t give up. Jan 5, 2015 - This Pin was discovered by jimmy me. Hanna, Tim (2005). One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro, Penguin Books, Auckland. He was 68 at that time. Typical for Burt, he waited until he felt better and then simply kept on driving according to his friend Marty. Burt forgot to pull up his landing gear and it seemed that he lost control over his bike. Burt Munro, 1977, with his beloved Indian – Permission Norman Hayes, Neville Hayes Collection. He had burnt his leg on the exhaust pipe. motorcycle enthusiast passed with flying colours and everything was set to return to the Speed Week. One time the spring catch on the bonnet let go and flew up so that Burt could not see anything in front of him. Again he was lucky: No one seemed to have realized and Burt got the permission to start, qualifying as a high speed bike with 174.75mph. The greatest underdog stories in New Zealand Sport. In the years after that it seemed that Burt’s luck had run out. Burt’s Indian, 1953, before attempting a New Zealand beach record – Permission Munro Family Collection. Sell, Bronwyn & Sheehy, Christine (2014). The record was previously set by his great uncle Burt Munro … That was before Burt had even modified his Indian or entered his first official motorcycle race in Australia on the Penrith Speedway. But for Burt this was still not fast enough though not all races had a happy-ending for Burt. This time one of the Indian’s pistons blew up during his qualification ride, where he recorded 184 miles per hour. In 1934 the Munro family was complete with the birth of their son Herbert John. He had accomplished and done what he had wanted. Burt on his Indian qualified with an incredible 190.06 mph. Burt Munro: The Lost Interviews is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $35. Scopri (e salva) i tuoi Pin su Pinterest. Burt Munro: Indian legend of speed, Begg & Allen, Christchurch. Burt Munro, 1967, in his fireproof pants in Bonneville – Permission Munro Family Collection. If you don’t put an effort in at anything you might as well be a vegetable.”. He had made many friends on his 14 visits to the Bonneville Speed Week.