Movie inspires pilgrimage

23:43, Nov 22 2012
Fiona Hughes and Gordon Bartlett
Fiona Hughes from Dunedin and Gordon Bartlett from Sydney are enjoying one he'll of a week at the Burt Munro Challenge.

Inspired by the 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian, one Burt Munro fan has finally made a long-awaited pilgrimage to the home of the Invercargill motorcycle legend.


Australian motorbike enthusiast Gordon Barrett, from Sydney, is enjoying the Southland sunshine and the early events of the Burt Munro Challenge with his Dunedin friend Fiona Heares.

Proudly showing his Australian heritage by bravely wearing a bright yellow Wallabies jersey at the Bluff Hill Climb yesterday, Mr Barrett said being at the challenge was a dream come true.

''I've wanted to tick this off the bucket list ever since I learnt more about Burt Munro through the Anthony Hopkins movie,'' he said.

Mr Barrett said there were probably many motorcycle fans around the world who did not know the full story about Burt Munro until the The World's Fastest Indian brought his story to the masses.


The challenge was a fitting tribute to man who appeared to have ''an interesting'' life, he said.

No stranger to a motorbike, Mr Barrett said he had a couple of bikes parked up in his garage in the Sydney suburb of Preston.

''I have a couple of dirt bikes, a XR400, DRZ400, a CB1000 for the track, and a BMW1200 for touring and a classic Sunbeam 500,'' he said.

Mr Barrett said he had spent some time on a bike touring the South Island and the roads and scenery were some of the best he had ridden on.

Both he and Ms Heares said watching the events was exhilarating but meeting the wide variety of people who attended the Burt Munro Challenge was also a highlight.

Ms Heares said the good nature and friendly spirit of the crowds was evident in the fact Mr Barrett could stand out in his Australian gold and live to tell the tale.

Her friend from across the ditch had been surprisingly well treated by the predominantly Kiwi crowds at the challenge, she said.

''People have been very polite. They probably feel sorry for him having to support the Wallabies.''

The pair said they were looking forward to the beach races today starting at 4.30pm.

The Southland Times