Burt Munro Challenge crowd-puller

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 18/11/2011
Burt Munro Challenge
NICOLE GOURLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

OBSESSION: Sculptor Roddy McMillan at the Queen's Park site of his statue of Burt Munro on his motorbike. It took McMillan two years to make and tomorrow is unveiling day.

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More than 250 bikers will compete in next week's Burt Munro Challenge, with an event manager predicting the city could be just as busy as it was during the Rugby World Cup matches.

Venture Southland event manager Jade Gillies said thousands of spectators were set to attend the annual Burt Munro Challenge, which features six events from Wednesday to Sunday.

He had received 600 entries from the bikers, with most entering more than one racing event.

Tomorrow, the two-year obsession of McMillan Art bronze sculptor Roddy McMillan – a sculpture of Burt Munro crouching down on his 1920 Indian motorcycle doing about 321kmh – will be unveiled at the Gala St reserve..

The statue is 4.5m long and is about 7 per cent larger than real life.

Mr Gillies said the statue was another attraction for city visitors.

"I think it's marvellous. I think that Burt Munro is the most well-known Southlander ever ... It's so cool that the region has really got in behind promoting Burt."

The Burt Munro Challenge will kick off with the New Zealand longtrack championship and New Zealand Grand Prix longtrack on Wednesday. Mr Gillies said riders were coming from throughout the country and Australia.

Other events are the Bluff Hill Climb and New Zealand Hill Climb Championships, Oreti Beach racing, Teretonga sprint races, Oreti Park speedway and the Wyndham street races.

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