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Riders ready for wild weather

REBECCA RYAN
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2011

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Burt Munro Challenge

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Tents are going up, sound systems are being installed and merchandise is ready and waiting for the 2000 people expected to descend on Invercargill for the 2011 Burt Munro Challenge.

In its sixth year, the event officially starts at the Ascot Park Raceway from 5pm tomorrow.

The official rally campsite at Oreti Park was a hive of activity yesterday, with an eight-strong team from Allied Workforce and Party Plus putting the finishing touches on an 80m by 50m marquee.

Organising committee chairman Wayne Affleck said 1500 people were booked to stay at the campsite and many others had arranged their own accommodation in town.

"There isn't a bed in town that's free," he said.

Ascot Park Hotel is fully booked until Friday, with about three rooms left on Saturday. Coachmans Inn Motor Lodge was fully booked from Thursday until Sunday.

After strong winds claimed the marquee in 2009, the one for this year's event was designed to stand up to bad weather, he said.

And it was likely to be put to the test, said Metservice forecaster Marylin Avery, with "nasty cold southwesterlies" expected tomorrow and getting stronger by Friday.

Rally-goers could also expect showery spells throughout the week, but things should improve by the weekend for the Teretonga Sprint Races, Oreti Park Speedway and Wyndham Street Races, Ms Avery said.

Southland Motorcycle Club chairman Craig Hyde said he was crossing his fingers that Ms Avery's predictions were wrong.

"Too much rain on the long track could get quite messy and wind for the beach racing could keep the tides in and delay practising and racing". Most rally participants had yet to arrive and numbers were expected to explode by Thursday.

Burt Munro Challenge organiser Steve Winteringham said hundreds of T-shirts, caps and hats had been printed with Burt Munro logos, along with badges and beer-can holders.

Elmwood Catering manager Geoff Billows said the company was among several caterers and would serve breakfast at the campsite.

He expected to dish up about 500 eggs, 800 sausages, 80 kilograms of bacon and 25 loaves of bread throughout the weekend.

Speedway world champions Ivan Mauger and Barry Briggs will both appear at several events throughout the week and Mr Hyde said they would be a huge drawcard for the challenge.

One of the legendary Britten V1000 motorcycles built by the late motorcycle engineering master John Britten will also make an appearance.

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- The Southland Times

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