Following in Burt's Bonneville bike tracks

Once in a life time opportunity

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 04/01/2014
Karen Sim
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
DREAM RIDE: Invercargill woman Karen Sim is travelling to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to ride in the Flying Kiwi team competing at the flats.

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She will be following in the footsteps of a Southland legend, and Karen Sim couldn't be happier.

The Invercargill woman has been chosen for a once in a life time opportunity - to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, just like legendary Burt Munro.

The mother of two said it was a dream come true to get the call-up to the Flying Kiwi team, which is heading to the United States for two weeks in August.

The New Zealand representative team will compete in the BUB motorcycle speed trials in August.

"I am hugely excited."

Four New Zealanders have been chosen to travel with the team.

Ms Sim, who has been riding all her life, applied for the opportunity last year after seeing it on Facebook.

"I said to my partner that I was going to win this."

After being diagnosed with an incurable kidney disease in February, Ms Sim said she was just trying to make the most of every opportunity.

She told the doctors of her plans, and they thought she was crazy, she said.

"The specialist thought I was crazy and my doctor sort of laughed a little bit."

The disease, fibrillary glome-rulonephritis, left her unable to ride her bike for several months, but after months of building up her strength to ride, and learning to manage her condition, nothing was going to stop her from getting to Utah.

"It's a good reason to stay healthy."

Ms Sim has to raise $20,000 for the trip and along the way she hopes to raise money for the kidney foundation and nephrology department at Dunedin Hospital.

It was about showing people you don't have to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, you can get out there and do it," she said.

"I sat around and felt sorry for myself for a little bit but life goes on. To do something like this is incredible."

Christchurch sidecar world speed record-holder Phil Garrett, who headed the search for the four New Zealand riders, said it was fantastic to have a Southlander in the team.

"There's a tangible link between what I am trying to do and what Burt Munro tried to achieve," he said. Mr Garrett said Ms Sim's application clearly displayed her love of bikes, even explaining how she named them.

Ms Sim was upfront and honest about her kidney condition and had been through a lot already, he said.

"If she can . . . use this project as a way to overcome that and help others while she does it, then that's great."

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