Burt Munro Challenge on global 'bucket list'
Challenge one of Time magazine's must-do events.LAUREN HAYES
Southland's Burt Munro Challenge has been named alongside the Eurovision Song Contest as one of Time magazine's five must-do events of 2013.
The challenge features at number five on the list, titled Five Festive Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2013, behind the Indonesian Pasola festival, the Guca Trumpet festival in Serbia, the ArtPrize competition in Michigan and the Eurovision Song Contest.
Southland Motorcycle Club president Craig Hyde said the endorsement was better global advertising for the event than the club could ever have afforded.
The list appears in the latest Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and South Pacific editions of Time, as well as on the magazine's website.
Mr Hyde said he had noticed an increase of global interest in the event.
The numbers of participants and spectators from Australia and England were growing each year, and he even knew of a man in India who hoped to compete, he said.
"We're getting a few people from different places around the world. More people, I think, are putting it on their calendars."
He believed the international attention would benefit the whole of Southland and Queenstown.
"People just won't come down for the five or six days for [the challenge], they'll tiki tour around a bit as well."
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the article was excellent publicity for the region.
"I think it's superior than us just putting an ad in . . . because it's someone else promoting us."
He was initially surprised the challenge had made it in ahead of the much larger Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota, but said Southland was better suited than Sturgis to handle the growing event tourism industry.
"People don't want to just travel to visit a museum anymore . . ."
The article's author, Ian Neubauer, who has worked as a contributor for CNN and Australian Penthouse, described himself as a motorcycle journalist.
After watching The World's Fastest Indian, he wrote a piece on Burt Munro and the challenge for Time, which then featured the event on its 2013 must-do list.
Neubauer said visiting Munro's bike in Invercargill was an almost spiritual experience, but he believed there was more to Burt Munro for people who were not interested in bikes.
"That motorcycle is the holy grail of motorcycles.
"[But] it's not about motorcycles. It's about human beings and what they'll do to meet their dreams."
Auckland PR agency Mango managing director Claudia Macdonald said it was hard to measure exactly how much the story was worth in advertising terms, but estimated it could be the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing.
"It will have put Invercargill on the radar and even if only one or two international tourists come to the Burt Munro challenge, others may add Southland to their bucket list."
- © Fairfax NZ News