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Bikes, Pictures, Stories & more => Chat, Offtopic, Meetings & Everything Else => Topic started by: RichardL on 10.04. 2009 03:58

Title: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: RichardL on 10.04. 2009 03:58
Well, I suppose, right now, it's morning on Friday, Down Under. I was just thinking, with several Aussie members who have been around awhile (Trevinoz just mentioned he has been rewinding dynamos for 40 years), might there be any stories about meeting or palling with the now famous Burt Munro of "World's Fastest Indian"? I realize that New Zealand is not Australia, and Australia, alone, is huge, but sometimes it's a small world, and even a remote personal story about Burt Munro would be interesting, even if not A-seventenning.

Richard L.
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: fido on 10.04. 2009 08:23
As it happens, I've been exchanging emails with a bloke called Murray who lives in Invercargill and I'm hoping to stay with him for a few days when I go to NZ for the Inter. next year. It is indeed a small world, the same chaps wife is Scottish and I believe spent holidays in a village called Findochty which is just 6 miles from where I now live. Murray does not have an Indian (or even a BSA) but has a couple of Velocettes.
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: Brian on 10.04. 2009 10:31
Hey Fido, you spelt invercargil wrong, it only has one L !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: fido on 16.04. 2009 11:57
Hey Fido, you spelt invercargil wrong, it only has one L !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*conf* Not on my atlas is doesn't.
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: RichardL on 16.04. 2009 12:07
It seems to show up both ways. Wikipedia uses two. So I say, "To 'L' with it."
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: olev on 17.04. 2009 13:17
Manosound, is this what you're after?
The attached pdf isn't good but its the best i can manage.
Its Friday night when a few quiet ones are mandatory, so I'll send this early before I'm in the grip of the grape and succomb. The attached page is from the latest magazine of 'The Historic Motorcycle Club of Queensland'. The club has over 700 members in 10 areas and covers an area from Rockhampton in the north to Dalby in the west. Keith is the vice-president and I have permission to post his missive to this forum. My wife and I went through Invercargill about 18 months ago, didn't know this existed and missed the lot.
couple of items:
Pukekohe is pronounced pooka - coo-ee. I haven't been, but 'they' say it rivals Goodwood. (Fido -if you are in NZ in February make sure you make room for this.)
Invercargill has 2 'Ls' like villiers (sorry Brian)

and for a lighthearted look at the place check out the attached hitchhikers guide

cheers   ..... oops can't load the pdf will try a jpg or something ..jpg is too big if you want too read it ... woo hoo the clever scanners turned it to a word file ..just in time ...can't load that because its not a jpg.. will paste the lot. see below the thing reckons I've sent it already so I've copied the lot and here it is again. Is it me or the Guinness???
by Keith Canning
Recently Colleen & I were lucky enough to be part of an incredible trip to New Zealand. This would be the third time we have been over with the purpose being to attend the Velocette Rally & the famous Classic races held at Pukekohe. The time between these events was spent riding with our friends who organised a tour on the Velo's for the Hussies. Its always a great holiday as you can imagine. There is nothing better that riding classic bikes around this beautiful countryside with a great bunch of people.
This year the tour was a long one & very special as we had to ride down from the North Island & around the South Island as the rally was held in Dunedin. Now when you travel in New Zealand on motorbikes especially older ones, the conversation with locals usually ends up taking in their famous son, Burt Munro.
Burt's hometown was Invercargill so it seemed only fitting that our friends would arrange for us to feel a bit of the Burt "magic" when we visited here.
We left a place where we had stayed for a couple of days called Te Anau. We had stayed here as this is close to Milford Sound which is very spectacular & beautiful place but that's another story. The road south was fairly fast & a beautiful ride. There were 12 bikes followed by our backup van all making good time. We stopped at the Historic Clifden Suspension Bridge for a look & a stretch. New Zealand has many rivers & streams which the roads cross & recross. These rivers must have made early development of the land difficult. So there are many old bridges still today being used or being maintained for the tourist. This one was a beauty as it spanned a very wide river.
Back on the bikes we decided we were in need of some nourishment as it was about morning tea time. We arrived at a town called Tuatapere. It's just a small rural town but has a eatery called the Museum Cafe which is filled with antiques & exquisite food. The two delightful older ladies that run it baked all the tasty treats from gourmet pies to sweets & scones. To sit & feast among all the old goods & chattels certainly slows life down from the fast lane.
From here the road then followed the coast as we headed for Invercargill. This is a rugged coastline which is buffered by strong winds from south at times. So strong in fact, that the trees are permanently growing bent over. Once again some great riding as the road twisted in & out of each bay & over the headlands with farms on one side & the rough sea the other.
Once arriving in Invercargill we found our motel had a quick bite to eat, and then headed out to Bluff which is about 29kms south & is the most southerly part of the South Island. It's a fishing village famous for its oysters. Its also very old & rustic looking with very little development. On the way out & back we passed the turn off to the beach called Oreti which is where Burt raced & set some New Zealand records.
Now I said at the start that these New Zealander's are very proud of Burt so it is no surprise that each year, Invercargill holds the "Burt Munro Challenge" on Oreti Beach. This is bike racing on the beach as it used to be years ago.
When we got back to Invercargill which is quite a thriving city we rode up the main street to a Hardware Store called E Hayes & Sons, Hammer Hardware. No ordinary store but one that has motorbikes & old machinery on display mixed amongst all the
items on sale. It is a large well set out modern store just like any Mitre 10 we would see here but it encourages people just to come in & experience the old bikes. Neville Hayes is the general manager who just loves old bikes & cars. Why wouldn't he when his grandfather knew old Burt well & used to help him by paying his fare to the US so he could get to Bonneville in the 60's.
Neville took us on a guided tour of the store & all the displays which included a engine built by his father in 1980. The motor was made out of odds & ends. Its fuel tank was a pressure cooker, float bowl, a preserving jar, carburettor, 1/2 inch garden tap etc. Now it looked rough but Neville, then with another chap who normally sells chainsaws & mowers actually started the motor in the middle of the shop. Incidentally the shop also sells BSF, BSCY nuts & bolts as well at Whitworth tools & other treasures which would be so handy to have.
The display of Burt's bikes is just near the paint section & is complete with other memorabilia. Of course the Indian is there as a centre piece. Burt kept this frame in New Zealand & used to transport the motor back & forth to the US each year. There is also one of the replica's built for the movie. They actually built a static one with Indian mechanicals & also two Ducati powered bikes which were used for the racing shots. These bikes were actually built in Invercargill by a well respected local engineer & bike enthusiast. He also rode the bike in the action shots in the movie as one stunt man broke his collarbone and the other was not keen on riding the bike. Incidentally the actor Anthony Hopkins never rode any of the bikes as he couldn't fit in them. Any shots with him in were in a wider & more roomy static prop which was towed on a trailer behind a vehicle.
The other of Burt's bikes is the 1936 MSS Velocette which at 650cc, set a record of about 138 mph on Oreti Beach in 1972. Just when we thought the guided tour was over Neville asked if we would like to see what he had at home. So it was onto the bikes & down about 6 blocks to a lovely house with a very large shed at the rear. Inside were beautiful American cars as well as many more bikes.
Amongst the bikes was a 1919 Daytona Indian of which there are only 2 in the world. There were also other Indians,Vincents, Triumphs, Velos, BM's & many other classic collectable bikes. Then on shelves at the back of the shed was all of Burt Munro's gear that was seen in the movie. "Offerings to the God of Speed", these included pistons, conrods, cylinder heads. his sandshoes & different tail pieces & nose cones tried over the years. I certainly went through these piece by piece. There was the Lycoming Cylinder Head (from a plane) that Burt grafted onto the Velo for a while as well as the three fin tail piece he tried & discarded from the Indian in 1962 after stability problems on his firsttripto Bonneville in 1962.
We also met a chap, Ashley Bell who as a young apprentice was a mate of Burt's. There are photos of Ashley. as well of his association mentioned in the books about Burt. He can tell quite a few funny stories about this single minded old gent.
Ashley actually was an extra in the movie. He played an onlooker when Burt was carried away in the ambulance after spending a night with a lady at the shed. Ashley was quick to tell us that although Burt had an eye for the ladies he was always discrete & he never ever saw a lady at the shed. So I suspect a bit of poetic licence with the script. Ashley also told us when asked if there was a small boy who lived next door. that this was not correct either. But there was lad who had a father who used to beat him up & Burt used to hide the lad till it was safe to go home.
Sadly, Burt's old shed & his cottage have been demolished to make way for a new home which has been built where he used to live.
This had truly been a remarkable day & one both Colleen & I really enjoyed as well as our other Velo friends. We were made so welcome but that happens every day in New Zealand.

Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: RichardL on 17.04. 2009 14:19

Thanks, greatly, for posting Keith's story and, also, for the work to get done (but maybe you don't remember that). I don't know if Keith does a lot of writing, but I truly liked this piece for creating mental images of the NZ countryside and the inside of E. Hayes & Sons Hardware. I can't say if I'll ever get to NZ, but I'd like to, and meeting Neville would be a real bonus. While I'm not remotely close to Burt's level of obsession/devotion/commitment, the sight of all the homemade parts in the movie did make me feel a little more connected. I think it must be impossible to do an A10 basketcase restoration without making (or hammering  into submission) some of your own parts.

Thanks again.

Richard L.
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: Brian on 17.04. 2009 22:29
Fido and Manosound, neither of you worked out why I said Invercargill is only spelt with one L. (Burt Munro, Worlds Fastest Indian, think about it ! )
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: RichardL on 18.04. 2009 03:48
Maybe, saying "Burt Munro, Worlds Fastest Indian" is as good as saying "Invercarcill" and the former line only has the one "l" in "world". If this solves your riddle, let me know, otherwise, tell us to keep guessing and playing the game.

Richard L
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: Brian on 18.04. 2009 05:09
Nope, you still havent got it. You would save ink by spelling it with one L.

Whenever Burt was asked how to spell Invercargill he used to say he only spelt it with one L because it saved ink in his pen. They used the line in the movie and if you happen to get hold of the DVD there is some actual footage of him riding his bikes etc and he says it during one interview. He was definitely a legend in the motorcycling world.

Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: fido on 18.04. 2009 07:55
Ah, I see  *idea* There again, I should point out that no ink was used in the making of this thread  *lol*
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: Brian on 19.04. 2009 07:24
While we are on the subject of Burt Munro, have a look at this.
Title: Re: Members Down Under and thereabouts
Post by: olev on 28.04. 2009 12:54
I forwarded Keiths story to my brother-in-law who has pointed out the OCR scan made a mistake.
The word in the 4th line should be Aussies - not Hussies. (some may say there's no difference)