Born in Edendale in 1899, Burt Munro’s dedication to motorcycles was enormous, and his life’s achievements are legendary. He purchased his first motorcycle at the age of 15 and had his first Indian Scout in 1920 - the bike he would continue to modify (with his own custom made unique parts) for the rest of his life.

After setting a number of New Zealand land speed records in the 1940s and 1950s his next goal was to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, United States. His first trip to Bonneville as a competitor was in 1962 (Burt was 63) and there he set a land speed record of 178.97mph. He travelled there a further 8 times to compete and set two more world records. His 1967 record of 183.58mph still stands today, and on this trip he also managed to hit 190.07mph during a qualifying run which is the fastest ever recorded speed on an Indian motorcycle. Burt Munro was an extraordinary character that represents real and positive kiwi attributes such as ingenuity, dogged determination, and a laid back and humorous demeanour


Following the success of the 2005 movie about Burt Munro’s inspirational life - “The World’s Fastest Indian”, the Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge to honour Burt, his ingenuity, determination, and love of speed and motorcycles.

The inaugural event was held in 2006, and it has since forged a name for itself as one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. It has a strong local & national following, and rapidly growing international interest. It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as all the weekend warriors, all provided with a variety of exciting events, fantastic entertainment, and famous southern hospitality.


The Munro family has generously donated a spectacular trophy which is given to the “Competitor of the Year” at each annual Challenge. The Munro family presents the trophy in honour of Burt to the winner each year. They attend each individual event, and look for competitors who exhibit similar traits to Burt.

Things they look for:

  1. Does the competitor compete in Burt’s speciality events?
  2. Does the competitor maintain their own machines?
  3. Does the competitor make their own parts?
  4. Is the competitor determined to give everything they have to win?

Past winners

  • 2020: Awarded to all Competitors and Spectators who were patience, resourceful and accepted the challenge of the wind, the rain and the flooding and made the pilgrimage South. 
  • 2019 Competitor of the Year: Butch Woods
  • 2018 Competitor of the Year: Neil Ritchie
  • 2017: Event moved from November to February
  • 2016 Competitor of the Year: Gary Wells 
  • 2015 Competitor of the Year: Doug Wood
  • 2014 Competitor of the Year: Francie Winteringham
  • 2013 Competitor of the Year: Alan Kempster
  • 2012 Competitor of the Year: Rhys Wilson
  • 2011 Competitor of the Year: Heath Botica
  • 2010 Competitor of the Year: Kevin Ryan
  • 2009 Competitor of the Year: Mitch Rowe
  • 2008 Competitor of the Year: Kevin Ryan
  • 2007 Competitor of the Year: Peter Jones