Oamaru man John Munro continues to ensure father Burt’s legacy lives on 50 years after the latter’s finest hour.
John Munro has been in the United States, where he has been involved in the build-up to a special event at Bonneville Speed Week between August 9 and 21.
It was at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1967 that Burt – immortalised in a movie, The World’s Fastest Indian – set an under-1000cc class record of 295kmh on a highly modified 1920 Indian motorcycle.
At the same location during speed week, Burt’s great-nephew Lee Munro will pilot a new 1131cc, 170 horsepower Indian Scout, specially created by Indian Motorcycle, to mark the occasion.
While Burt’s under-1000cc record would not be under threat, other records could be, John said.
“The motorbike that Indian have modified for our Bonneville attempt started as an off-the-line Indian Scout like Dad’s did. It has created great interest and admiration.
“It is a different class from Dad’s record so there is no attempt to eclipse his record. From the recent trials that we have done at El Mirage [California], this bike will achieve speeds more than anticipated. We believe it will reach 230mph [370kmh] under the right conditions.”
The idea for Lee’s ride had been in the pipeline for three years, after John was invited to the official release of the then-new Indian Scout at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
It was there John met some of the company’s senior executives and, in 2016, wrote to them highlighting the 50th anniversary of Burt’s record-setting ride was fast approaching.
That resulted in a project to create a new Indian Scout to be ridden by Lee, who has won several national titles including the national superbike-B crown and three Burt Munro Challenge titles.
John said his involvement was a way he could ensure the “continued recognition” of his father’s achievements.
“It’s something I always figured I would like to happen but never thought it would be possible; a commemoration .. worldwide recognition of what my dad achieved.
“I still ride occasionally on one of my three bikes but not too often. I will be doing a bit of a ride at Bonneville Salt Flats in August during speed week there.”