A selection of bike parts Burt Munro sold to the Hayes family. In 1941 the racer suffered a bad accident, which forced him to take a one year break from racing and work. When Burt and his Indian were underway on their first record attempting run, the “tank slapper” came back and got stronger and stronger. It was then that the typical Burt Munro luck struck and Mr McPherson, a solicitor, took on Burt’s case for free. The Southland Times, the local Invercargill paper, recorded that Burt had to take his first driving test in his entire life at 70 years old in 1969. In his book “The World’s Fastest Indian – A Scrapbook of his Life”, Donaldson published excerpts from Burt’s scrapbooks, which he kept in fear of losing his memories due to the concussions he suffered during his career. “We (were) greeted by a scruffy elderly gentleman with a wicked twinkle in his eyes and a broad, winning smile. This stylish... Date of experience: February 2020. In New Zealand the Southlander was known as Bert for his entire life. 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. Burt was an old'ish absofuckinglutely brilliant bloke who went 200 mph /320 km/h [ .. LET THAT SINK IN ! Cheng, Derek (2006). At first sight, Munro drew every cent of his savings out of the bank and bought one. When he finally was found Burt was lying in the shade trying to cool off. Again salt had been thrown up in front of him from his shaking tyres. In 1957 he left New Zealand again to travel to the famous salt flats at Bonneville, Utah in the United States. H Bauer Publishing are authorised and regulated for credit broking by the FCA (Ref No. His Indian already had been strained from the high speeds and going even faster now was an additional strain on the engine. If you don’t put an effort in at anything you might as well be a vegetable.”. ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ movie release posters, Bond St, New York City.Photo Brian Sweeney, 2005. In the race Burt pushed the Indian to its limits. He is said to have tested his health by running up an escalator going down – if he could beat the escalator he was still fit to go for races. Another story has that Burt saved the brakes on his car by opening the doors as natural brakes to not run them down. Burt Munro, however, did the unthinkable. 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’. In 1951 Burt purchased new land on Bainfield Road, Invercargill. It was time for another record. Despite advice from others Burt did not want to improve his brakes. Burt Munro Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. In June 1930 his daughter Lillian Gwen was born and the family moved into a new home, built by Burt on part of the land of the Munro farm ‘Elston Lea’ in Invercargill. 15 miles per hour being the speed limit at that time. With that it was settled: Burt could stay. Anthony Hopkins stars as Burt Munro, a man who never let the dreams of youth fade. From then on record after record flew Burt’s way. 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. Five years later – and with the Scout now bored out to 1000cc – Munro set a new world record in the 1000cc class of 183.58mph. We are the community “living at the edge of the universe”. Burt Munro was born as Herbert James Munro on March 25, 1899 in Edendale, Southland near Invercargill. 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’s Indian, 1953, before attempting a New Zealand beach record – Permission Munro Family Collection. The greatest underdog stories in New Zealand Sport. “But Burt bought it in 1920 so he always called it a 1920 model.”. In 1915 the farms horses were not enough anymore. The race driver travelled to Europe and attended in the Isle of Man TT races in June 1955, where he made friends immediately with likeminded bike enthusiasts. Again – he could not repair the bike in time to have a go at the record 24 hours later. To pay tribute to The World’s Fastest Indian, America’s first motorcycle company has created a homage to Burt’s old bike using the new Scout as its base. Burt had a set of shelves in his shed, where he kept the parts he hand-made for his bikes. 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. The store’s late owner, Irving Hayes, bought his old friend’s bike after Munro passed away and put it in his shop – E. Hayes & Sons Ltd. His grandson now continues that tradition. With the additional time spent to modify his bikes, he quickly got back into serious competitions. 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. Knight, Kim (2004). – 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. He goes out and blows up an engine and it keeps him busy for weeks – he’s very happy, he really is.”. 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. When Australia was struck by the Great Depression in 1929 Burt and his family had to return to New Zealand. Burt went on to immediately rebuild the house which still stands at 314 Tramway Rd. He was accompanied by the two world record breakers Russel Wright and Bob Burns when he fell in love with America, its people, its culture and of course the Salt Flats in Bonneville. He got his Indian under control and set off again to break a record. In 2005, director Roger Donaldson made a movie about his childhood hero and The World’s Fastest Indian became a global success. “He made cylinder linings out of cast-iron drain pipes and fabricated con-rods from steel Ford-motorcar axles. Donaldson’s interest into the Invercargill man’s life had been sparked after making the documentary “Offerings to the God of Speed”. Singapore “The most authentic Munro Special is here in Invercargill,” John Munro says. We’ll never forget him.”, Burt Munro – Permission Munro Family Collection, “You can live more in five minutes on a motorcycle in some of these events I’ve been in than some people do in a lifetime.”, “I’ve always been working on my bike – even when it blows into hundreds of pieces – I just wade in again and start all over again. Following that time he took a job in at Arthur’s Pass working on the Otira tunnel. Burt lived and worked in his shed. Apart from speed and machinery, Burt also is said to have been quite a ladies man. Unfortunately it seemed that Burt’s luck had not returned fully when in his second qualifying run the Indian’s clutch gave him grief. One of those legends is Burt Munro and the 50-year-old tale of chasing speed on his shed-built bike. Burt, 1962, after being given the Sportsman of the Year Award in Bonneville- Permission Munro Family Collection. As described in George Begg’s book “Burt Munro: Indian legend of speed”, the New Zealander was told that he would have to pay 10,000 USD bond in order to import his bike into the States when he went to pick up his bike in Seattle. inch 1000 class Burt could finally compete again. However, he was unable to turn the Indian quickly as it did not have proper brakes. Lots of people ask me when I’m going to give it up (and) I say ‘I’m never going to give it up till I get a good run” Burt said about himself. Over the years he would make his own barrels, pistons, flywheels, cams and followers, and even his own lubrication system – all on a shoestring. It was the challenge of seeing what he could do. 101 ingenious Kiwis: how New Zealanders changed the world, Reed, Auckland. When my friends got down there I was laughing like hell and they wanted to know what I was laughing at. VAT no 918 5617 01 Burt and his wife Beryl, 1937 – Permission Munro Family Collection, In 1926 Burt modified his Indian for the very first time. Burt had very clear ideas as to how his new home should look. On January 29, 1940 he became the fastest man in New Zealand when he broke the national speed record with 120.8 miles per hour. Every time he tried to break another record heavy rainfall made the salt unsuitable for races and he was forced to cancel his plans or even travel back to New Zealand without even riding his motorbike on the Salt Flats. 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. To date, no one has ever gone faster on an Indian – except Burt himself. Hopkins plays real-life motorcycle maven Burt Munro, a 63-year-old codger who lives alone in a shed on an overgrown lot in Invercargill, New Zealand where he tinkers endlessly on his 1920 Indian motorcycle, forging pistons in the quest for speed. In the following year Burt started to work as a motorcycle salesman at Alf Tapper’s motorcycle shop ‘Tappers’. Burt Munro’s First Motorcycle In 1917, a local dealer started importing British made Clyno motorcycle and sidecar outfits. From TePapa, Museum of New Zealand “A Bike, a shed, and Burt Munro”, http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/PastEvents/WFI/Pages/Burt.aspx, From New Zealand Tourism, “Burt Munro – a Southland speed legend”, http://www.newzealand.com/int/article/burt-munro-a-southland-speed-legend/, From New Zealand Tourism, “The World’s Fastest Indian”, http://media.newzealand.com/en/story-ideas/the-worlds-fastest-indian/, From the EHayes Motorworks Collection, ‘The World’s Fastest Indian”, http://www.ehayes.co.nz/Hayes-Motorworks-Collection/Burt-Munro-__I.517, From the Times, “Who watered Burt Munro’s lemon tree?”, http://www.times.co.nz/2006/who-watered-burt-munros-lemon-tree.html, From GearPatrol, “The Story of Burt Munro”, http://gearpatrol.com/2013/05/13/the-story-of-burt-munro/, From Indian Motorcycle, “The Spirit of Munro Streamliner”, http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us/stories/munro-streamliner-photos, From Invercargill.co.nz, “Burt Munro Challenge”, http://www.invercargillnz.com/Events/Burt-Munro-Challenge, From AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, “Burt Munro”, http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/detail.aspx?RacerID=381, From Motorcycle USA.com, “Burt Munro breaks record 36 years after death”, http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/321/18966/Motorcycle-Article/Burt-Munro-Breaks-Record-36-Years-After-Death.aspx. that he build in a small shed in witch he lived too. The burn itself was not reason enough for Burt to stop though. He's my hero ! Burt forgot to pull up his landing gear and it seemed that he lost control over his bike. That blocked his vision and Burt lost his sense of direction. Allen & Unwin, Auckland. Great story to go with world record holder, Burt Munro statue, but a very brief stop. Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing, Burt was responsible for truck maintenance and the mechanics of the business, whilst Mac worked on the accounting and business side. The record was previously set by his great uncle Burt Munro … Read more. Burt Munro, 1930, at the Oreti Beach Races – Permission Munro Family Collection. 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. 190.06 mph – the highest speed ever measured by any timing apparatus at Bonneville for an Indian motorcycle was also recorded by Burt and his Indian. The first test run on the salt was supposed to show that a racer could control his bike. The following year, Burt was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. 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. more >, F1 tech for future Hondas: Prechamber combustion to maximise fuel efficiency, Honda are looking to Formula 1 car racing to address the demand for ever-cleaner engines – with a... Engine: Originally a 600cc, Munro bored it out to 850cc, then 920cc, 953cc and, ultimately, 1000cc. Please leave a comment we’d love to hear your thoughts. Beryl had tripped with a pot of boiling caustic soda for soap making and Burt caught most of the pot contents on his chest. Unfortunately the Indian’s motor had enough and blew up so that Burt did not have any choice but to travel back to New Zealand. After a lifetime perfecting his classic 1920 Indian motorcycle, Munro sets off from New Zealand to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. To make a flywheel he cut a coin-sized slice from a hydraulic ram, and used a steam-driven hammer to flatten it out to about 180mm diameter… He made high-speed tyres by carving the treads off factory-made racing tyres.”. I don’t know what he paid for the Indian but it was somewhere in the order of $130-$150.”. Nobody knew what had happened when Burt didn’t return to the starting line. As described in notes to the Te Papa exhibition “A Bike, a Shed, and Burt Munro,” Burt always had been very creative when it came to modifying or fixing his motorcycles. So he went to a hospital, and they said, ‘Oh, your heart is bad. Burt had worked on his grandfather’s farm until 1919, when his grandfather sold the family’s land. It was about being quick after all, and not about stopping. Engineer, crocodile hunter, innovator…. He tested it by aiming at a packing case he had positioned in front of the shed. motorcycle enthusiast passed with flying colours and everything was set to return to the Speed Week. He had burnt his leg on the exhaust pipe. 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… No one could put a stop to Burt Munro. He had another engine here as well and when he sold a bike to collector Dean Hensley in the USA, he fancied it all up and chromed it and painted it. 5617 01 H Bauer Publishing are authorised and regulated for credit broking the! 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