Challenge action takes to streets

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Motorcyclist Tony Campbell, of New Plymouth, lies on the track after crashing his Aprilia RSV...
Motorcyclist Tony Campbell, of New Plymouth, lies on the track after crashing his Aprilia RSV Mille 1000 during the Burt Munro Challenge Honda Invercargill Street Races yesterday. Photo: Southland Express
Four days of excitement at the Burt Munro Challenge wrapped up yesterday with the last day providing more than its fair share of thrills and spills in the street racing event.

The event began with the Hill Climb race on Thursday and the Drag Racing at Teretonga Park. On Friday, the beach racing on Oreti Beach took place, and on Saturday sprint races were held at Teretonga Park and speedway was held at the Oreti Park Speedway track.

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Tony Campbell is put into an ambulance. Photo: Southland Express
Tony Campbell is put into an ambulance. Photo: Southland Express
Yesterday, all the action was on the streets of Invercargill itself as the street racing took place.

At the time of writing not all of the results had been announced and the official prize-giving was due to take place later yesterday. During the street racing there were several spills and crashes, the most serious appearing to be that involving Tony Campbell, of New Plymouth. A duty manager said Mr Campbell had already been released from hospital.

"He walked in, got treated and walked out. He’s as good as gold."

A St John’s spokeswoman said six people had been taken to Southland Hospital with moderate injuries yesterday. Invercargill was inundated with motorcycle enthusiasts, most motels during the weekend were displaying the "No Vacancy" sign and bikes of all types and ages were seen parked at the events and down the city’s main streets.

Garry Jamieson, vice-president of the Southland Motorcycle Club, which organises the Burt Munro Challenge, hailed the event as a huge success.

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Grant Lightfoot and Phil Rooney, of Invercargill, speed to a win in a sidecar race at Oreti Park...
Grant Lightfoot and Phil Rooney, of Invercargill, speed to a win in a sidecar race at Oreti Park Speedway in Invercargill during the Burt Munro challenge on Saturday. Photo: Dave Loudon Photography
"It was fantastic. Everything started on time and it finished on time. We’ve never seen crowds like this."

Mr Jamieson, who also raced in the street race, said there was hardly a free space to be seen when he went around the circuit.

The good weather together with the fact there were two Britten motorcycles on display -  iconic bikes built by New Zealander John Britten which also did demonstration runs - were major factors making the races a success, he said.

"There were thrills and spills. We had it all. Nobody was seriously hurt although there might be a few dented egos. Wives and partners will be happy and they’ll all be at the prize-giving tonight."

giordano.stolley@odt.co.nz

 

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