There's only one Burt Munro bike, and it's here

11:59, Mar 26 2009
RIGHT: Neville Hayes, of E Hayes and Sons Invercargill, with the original Burt Munro 1936 Velocette and showing the bike's ownership papers.

A 1936 Velocette motorcycle and engine with links to Southland speed legend Burt Munro, which sold for $71,000 in Auckland this week, has created concerns for an Invercargill collector.

City businessman Neville Hayes is worried that media coverage of the sale had confused people about the provenance of his 1936 Velocette, once owned by Burt Munro.

Auckland businessman Kevin Harvey bought the bike sold by Webb's at auction on Wednesday night, which had been marketed as a "Burt Munro-Duncan Meikle Special Velocette drag bike" and its engine a "Munro Velocette power plant".

The difference between the two is the ownership.

Mr Hayes' had been owned by Mr Munro, while the Auckland bike had been Mr Meikle's.

Webb's managing director Neil Campbell said Meikle and Munro were close friends for 50 years and modified many bikes and engines together.


A TV3 Nightline report on the auction did not mention Mr Meikle's link to the one sold by Webb's and quotes the new owner saying "there is one and only one Burt Munro Velocette ...".

Mr Hayes is adamant his Velocette was Burt Munro's and has the ownership papers to prove it, although he did not dispute that the engine sold was a Munro motor.

He was concerned at the confusion created by the auction.

"Some people are saying to me now, `have you got Burt Munro's bike?'."

Mr Campbell said Webb's clearly marketed its Velocette as built by Duncan Meikle and Burt Munro.

It had never been portrayed as owned by Munro, but "has Burt Munro's DNA all over it".

TV3 News Christchurch bureau chief Phil Corkery rejected the story could have created confusion.

"We never said Burt Munro owned the bike."


Burt Munro/Duncan Meikle Special 1936 Velocette Bought in 1950s by Duncan Meikle

-Modified by Duncan Meikle and Burt Munro during the 1950s and 1960s

-Raced by Neil Neilson, who set a quarter-mile New Zealand record at Teretonga in 1964.

-Bought by Barry Irelands in the early 1970s

-Later sold to Tiger Lions, who owned it until the early 2000s and then sold it to John Sheehan, who sold it to Mike Thorpe Sold for $71,000 by Webb's auctions on March 18 to Kevin Harvey of Auckland.

-Burt Munro's "other bike", the original 1936 MSS 500cc Velocette: Neville Hayes and his late father Norman bought the Velocette and Munro's famous 1920 Indian Scout in 1977.

-The two Munro bikes and a collection of other Munro memorabilia is displayed at the family's hardware store in Dee St, Invercargill.

The Southland Times