Munro challenge back up to full revs
'It's gonna be bigger and better than ever'TERRI RUSSELL
After the Burt Munro Challenge was thrown into the red last year, everything is back on track for next month's event.
Invercargill City Council was told earlier this year the challenge could be under threat if it failed to secure more funding after running at a $3000 loss last year.
The challenge, now in its seventh year, is one of the biggest events on Southland's annual calendar. Challenge Committee chairman Wayne Affleck said he expected about 25,000 people would attend.
Six events were expected to run including the Oreti Beach racing, Bluff Hill climb, Wyndham streetrace, Teretonga sprint racing, Ascot Park longtrack and the Oreti Park speedway, he said.
Mr Affleck said an impressive line-up of national and international riders would be on show, but he was keeping names under wraps for now.
"We're looking at top-notch riders from all over New Zealand and some from Australia.
"The competition standard should be very high," he said.
Heath Botica, who took home last year's Family Trophy, and Ryan Hampton, who won the "King of Bluff Hill", would both be back to defend their titles, he said.
"It's gonna be bigger and better than ever with a bit of luck; as long as the weather god looks after us."
Venture Southland event manager Jade Gillies said the
challenge brought in about $1 million to Southland when the last economic report was filed in 2008-2009.
"Now there are six racing events; I expect it to be significantly more than that.
"We're confident that it's the biggest motorcycle rally in Australasia and possibly even the southern hemisphere," he said.
Southland Motorcycle Club president Craig Hyde said the club was expected to be up $6500 and was grateful for the support.
The Invercargill Licensing Trust had contributed $40,000 and other local businesses continued to show their support.
Mr Hyde said Invercargill City Council started funding the challenge three years ago when it provided a $50,000 injection. However, it cut the funding back to $20,000 last year.
The city council's contribution had been lifted to $30,000 plus a $20,000 guarantee against loss which helped to get the show back on the road, he said.
Invercargill City Council finance director Dean Johnston said it was the most amount of funding they had put towards a single event. "We felt that it is an iconic event in Southland, it brings different people to town and gives our residents the chance to see some different events as well."
The challenge kickstarts on Wednesday, November 21, and runs until Sunday, November 25. Tickets are sold at Invercargill i-SITE for $10 per event or $40 for a weekly pass.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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