It was way after 1am but sheer determination overcame any lack of sleep, fear of walking the streets of a strange city late at night,unknown directions and a hoarde of bikers prowling the streets of Invercargill I was a man on a mission.
Well lets delete one unknown the horde of bikers, after all I rode my Triumph into Invercargill to join thousands of other like minded enthusiasts here to attend the Annual Burt Munroe Challenge over 5 days.
Burt Munroe should be known to all from the movie made of his life starting Anthony Hopkins in October 2005 grossing around $20mUSD sofar.
The value to New Zealand is far greater as this National Treasure is estimate to bring over $20m annually into the NZ economy a lot due to the annual challenge.
Herbert James Munroe (actually Bert was the correct spelling but Mr Munroe Americanised the spelling to Burt) was an Invercargill based motorcyclist ,born 25th March 1899, who knew no bounds as to how or what was the accepted procedures for achieving aims.
Burt was a self taught mechanic, rider, machanist and above all a dreamer who knew no bounds only how high to jump over obstacles.
Burt had two special motorcycles the best known one World's Fastest Indian a 600cc 1920's Scout that he massaged into a World Record land Speed 1000cc bike and his Velocette.
Many people have only come to know of Burt's achievements due to the movie "World's fastest Indian"which traces his 1967 trip to the Salt Flats of Bonneville Utah where his Indian became a land speed record holder that to this date 2018 has not been beaten. I have a 2016 Indian Scout with modern technology and it could not match his efforts over 4 decades ago on a bike 60 years older.
I wandered the streets and after a few wrong turns saw a Hardware store not any hardware store but E Hayes & Sons 168 Dee St Invercargill established in 1932. It is commonly accepted to be New Zealands most extensive independently owned hardware store, what Bunnings or Mitre 10 don't carry E Hayes & Sons do!
While they open 7 days a week 1am saw them closed but the window banners announced "You can't beat the Original. See Burt Munro's 1920 Indian Scout.
The World's Fastest Indian AUTHENTIC,ORIGINAL,LEGENDARY.
Free to view during normal shop hours.
The signs out front said Free Motorcycle parking
The windows showed many motorcycles and cars and Indian motorcycles even a pre release FTR1200 (the only one outside of the US) but Burt's were tucked away out of sight safely behind fireproof and anti theft doors.
Sleep was hard to come by and 7.30am opening saw me joined by many motorcycle riders eager to view this iconic machine.
A quick view and off I raced back to the motel to change into "real motorcycle gear" and ride the Triumph up to be parked outside E Hayes & Sons where most spaces were already taken.
While taking pride of place the Munroe bikes are joined by over 100 other iconic machines normally and this week two of the 10 Brittens (plus the prototype) are also sitting in the store gracing over 10 decades of motorcycle history in New Zealand along with snippets of automobiles.
They even provided a free lunch for all and sundry along with Indian displaying their 2109 models despite no dealership in Invercargill.
Those viewing had a range from kids usually with grandparents to world travelling motorcyclists here for the Challenge.
The Challenge is a five day event including Hill climbs, beach racing, street racing, drag racing to just "hangin out with other cool dudes"
I know I didnt bring my Indian but the Triumph has a new country on it's tally and still attracts more then it's fair share of viewers even the Harley Club have requested a segment on Challenge TV doco. Guess I will have to force my self into Harley Heaven a big white tent designed to stop rust I guess?
The hillclimb day was based at Bluff which afforded me the opportunity to visit the most Southerly point of mainland New Zealand and the resulting photo shoot once the triple barked at the "no speak English tourists"allowing access onto the boardwalk (er driveway?")
The Twilight drags provided a fitting finale for day one as a wide variety of machines extended their capabilities over 400m.