No raining on Burt Munro Challenge parade

The rumble of thunder may have come from above or below in Invercargill this week.

A thousand or so combustion engines mixed with stormy weather as motorcyclists from near and far arrived for this year’s Burt Munro Challenge.

In what has become a sort of unofficial tradition, rain and lightning signalled day 1 of the acclaimed event — though wet weather could do little to dampen the spirits of punters, as good vibrations abounded in the campsite at Oreti Park.

Great South event adviser Hannah Wallace said about 1200 people were set up in the campground by Wednesday and the atmosphere was great. The weather was not so good but no-one was complaining.

Taking shelter from the rain are (from left) Dennis Leveridge, Hamish Dow and Brian ‘‘Cowboy’’...
Taking shelter from the rain are (from left) Dennis Leveridge, Hamish Dow and Brian ‘‘Cowboy’’ Lambert, at Oreti Park in Invercargill this week. PHOTO: BEN TOMSETT
"If anything, everyone’s making a good joke about it and they also know it’s Southland, so it’s fantastic. They have very positive outlooks, which is cool, and enjoying every minute of making new friends and catching up with old friends," she said.

North Canterbury motorcyclist Rob Squirrell had ridden to the event from Loburn, and though he was a bit past competing he was keen to watch the events.

"This the first time down here — we’ve been thinking about it for many years and finally get here and get the good weather," he said.

"The thunderstorm was good, and the hail was good, but I managed to stay dry inside the tent — just."

Brian "Cowboy" Lambert, Hamish Dow and Dennis Leveridge, of Nelson, Christchurch and Whangarei respectively, had installed a tarpaulin under a row of trees to keep dry while they relaxed with a beer.

It was Mr Dow's second time at the event, while it was a first for the other two.

All three said it was an event they had always wanted to attend, and the weather was just part of the fun.

They all agreed Invercargill had been welcoming to the bikers and the people were friendly.

"I had an absolute ball last night. Wound up with a bunch of guys hanging around in my little shelter and drinking [beer] and telling lies — it was a damned good night," Mr Lambert said.