Sprints pull big crowds

04:23, Nov 24 2012
Neco Richter and Leo Munro-Heward
Neco Richter, 9 and Leo Munro-Heward, 12, who is a relative of Burt Munro, climb aboard a replica of Munro's Indian Scout at Teretonga Raceway.

Spectators lined the circuit at Teretonga Raceway as the sprint events got under way at the seventh annual Burt Munro Challenge today.

Petrol fumes filled the air when motorbike fans got an opportunity to watch some of the country's top riders and a host of other competitors tear up the track.

Familes lined up next to bikers on the fence, all eager to get close to the action.

Among the crowd was 12-year-old Leo Munro-Heward, a relative of Burt Munro, who was enjoying the challenge named after his famous family member.

Taking the opportunity to climb aboard a replica of Munro's Indian Scout before racing got under way, Leo said he was proud to be related to the motorcycle legend.


"It is pretty special to have Burt Munro as a relative,'' he said.

With Leo was his dad ''Possum'' Heward and the rest of his family, Mr Hewards' partner Fiona Campbell and Neco Richter, 9, who all came from Wanaka for the challenge.

Ms Campbell said she and Mr Heward had met on the back of a motorbike.

''I started riding bikes to meet a good man and it worked out well,'' she said.

Also at the Teretonga sprint races were three generations of the Larby family. Grandad Daryl, a former Southlander, his son Stanley and his grandkids Jerrica, 10, and Asher, 5, drove down in a bus from Gisborne for the challenge and something extra special.

''It was my mum's 80th birthday a wee while ago but she held off the party until the Burt Munro Challenge so we could all be here to help celebrate,'' Daryl Larby said.

''She is not out here today but she loves the bikes. All her boys ride and plenty of her grandkids and great grandkids do as well.''

Stanley Larby said his grandmother still enjoyed jumping on the back of a motorbike.

For 10-year-old Jerrica, the highlight of the Burt Munro Challenge has been watching the female riders.

''I got my first motorbike a little while ago so it's great seeing the girls racing with the boys,'' she said.

Southland Motorcycle Club vice-president Gary Jamieson said the crowd numbers were fantastic.

''This has been the best ever Burt Munro Challenge,'' Mr Jamieson said.

''So far all the events have been well attended by people from near and far.''

The Burt Munro Challenge will continue tonight at 5pm with the Speedway Spectacular at Oreti Park Speedway and tomorrow from 10am, the Wyndham Street Races bring the curtain down on the 2012 challenge.

The Southland Times