Southern hospitality a winner for victor

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 02/12/2013
Dan Mckenzie
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
HOT WHEELS: Dan Mckenzie does a burnout after the race.

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Burt Munro Challenge

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Christchurch rider Dan McKenzie was grateful for the slice of southern hospitality that allowed him to get to the start line at the Wyndham Street Race.

McKenzie was driving down to the race on Saturday when his car developed engine problems near Mataura.

He pulled into a nearby farm and the farmer lent him a ute so he could tow his bike trailer to Wyndham for yesterday's final event in the Burt Munro Challenge.

"The Southland community are amazing," he said yesterday.

It was well worth the effort.

Despite qualifying second-fastest after being caught up amongst lapped riders in the Formula Wyndham class, he won all three races on his 2004 Honda Fireblade 1000 to take out the title under the dry, but leaden, skies.

It was a big-smile performance for the Cantabrian, who had previously finished runner-up behind Andrew Stroud and Hayden Fitzgerald.

"I'm pretty stoked with that," he said.

"It's been a long time coming, I've been down here with Andrew Stroud and Hayden Fitzgerald. I had my work cut out with them, but they obviously had other things on this weekend."

It has been three or four years since the motorbike and European cars mechanic had raced at Wyndham, but he's coming off a strong run of form that has also seen him claim street race titles at Methven and Greymouth.

Defending champion Ryan Hampton, who would have been racing for a fourth straight title, opted not to ride after getting low on tyres and seeing the forecast.

After deliberating for more than an hour on whether to race, he headed to his sister's place at Leeston yesterday and managed to shoot a deer.

McKenzie, meanwhile, is looking ahead to the Port Nelson Street Race on January 2.

"Hopefully, if I can get Nelson, that's the South Island street race championships. That would really be something else, it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I might get a go-kart after that, I think," he joked.

"The bike's going really good. I've had it for quite a few years and just been tinkering away with it. I've had a lot of help from Autotek Lotus in Christchurch and I couldn't really have done it without their help."

After winning his first two races, McKenzie needed only to finish in the top three in the last round to claim the title, but he led from start to the chequered flag to take the overall win convincingly.

"The weather was intermittent. It was looking like it was going to be wet, a 600cc is probably the bike to be on if its raining, but with [the weather] sort of holding out, that really paid off for me," McKenzie said.

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"You want to be out there, you want to win the races. I'm really rapt, I'm just over the moon."

- The Southland Times

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