Another Munro sets land speed record
Fifty years after Burt Munro set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, his great-nephew Lee Munro has also set a speed record.
Lee Munro piloted his custom Indian Scout V-twin to 186.681mph (300.4kmh) to set a record at the El Mirage dry lake-bed speed trials in Southern California.
The record break was officially taken by the Southern California Timing Association, which also runs Speed Week in Bonneville, this year to be held August 12 to 18.
Lee Munro's machine has a 1297cc engine and he set a record in the MPS-G 1350 class. MPS-G class means modified partial streaming with a gas/petrol engine.
READ MORE: Following in Burt Munro's tyre tracks
His bike was a standard Indian Scout with its original parts having been "mildly breezed over", Lee Munro said.
Munro's grandfather's cousin was the famed Burt Munro, and was always known to the former Invercargill man as "great-uncle Burt".
But the 41-year-old, who has been based in Christchurch for the past two decades, is a winning motorcycle racer in his own right.
He had always had the same passion as Burt from a young age, he said.
A good way for him to understand or compare high speed was that: "its only fast if you fall off," he said.
Following in Burt's footsteps added no pressure but was rather an honour, Munro said.
"I'm super-proud, super, super-privileged," he said.
"It's a massive thing what Burt's done."
A lot of people in the industry knew of his great-uncle, which made Lee's connection with people more special.
"It's an awesome thing."
Perhaps getting a taste of what his great-uncle was feeling after his record break half a century ago, Munro said felt a lot of relief and was elated when his own record break sank in.
He said he knew he had broken the record while he was still on his bike and before officials had even come over.
El Mirage was about testing the bikes out and gathering data, so setting the record there was just "the icing on the cake", he said.
He had no mechanical issues in his test races but did have to alter the way he operated the gears. His bike was set up for the road so he had to move his gears backwards, he said.
Munro will return home to Christchurch for a few weeks before heading to Bonneville in August.
Racing at Bonneville would be different to El Mirage, with a different surface and shorter track, Munro said.
"A lot of people say it's harder to set a record at El Mirage because of the shorter track."
It could be more difficult to reach those high speeds with a shorter space to do so, he said.
But all he was focused on for now was attempting to go as fast as he could because every race was different for the individual.
"It's hard to know what it'll be like until we get there ... no two people ride the same," he said.
However, he was feeling comfortable on his bike and confident with his Indian Motorcycle team members, who he said had a few things up their sleeves.
"Everything's ticking along well."
His bike was set to go under further modifications before his runs in Bonneville but he was reluctant to spill any secrets of the "secret weapon" his team would pull out.
"We're trying things that haven't been tried," he said.
He felt lucky he did not have to face many of the same challenges as his great-uncle did.
"Nothing came easy for Burt."
It cost "a fair bit" to get to Bonneville, so Lee was thankful for his sponsors and the "great people" who had helped him out throughout his career to get him where he is, he said.
"They've pulled out the stops to get me here," he said.