28 Jan 2022

New footage of Burt Munro unearthed in Invercargill

From Afternoons, 1:30 pm on 28 January 2022

Rare footage of motorcycle legend Burt Munro has been unearthed in Invercargill.

Local department store E Hayes & Sons is now home to Burt's World's Fastest Indian, and discovered the footage while preparing for the store's 90th birthday celebrations this year.

The store is home to a host of Munro memorabilia, marketing manager Nick Hawes told Jesse Mulligan.

“It’s home to private collection of classic and vintage motorcycles and cars including Burt Munro’s original 1920 Indian, the famous Indian that he broke the speed record on.”

Munro the 1920 Indian Scout over a number of years, he says.

“He modified the bike from its original capacity and started time trialling it around the country and making it faster and faster.

“Until he reached the point where he was able to take it over to Bonneville for the Speed Week in the United States.”

Munro set a class world record at the Bonneville salt flats.

“On 26 August 1967 he took the bike up to 184.087 miles an hour on the salt flats.”

Munro became good friends with the original owner of the store back in the late ‘40s Irvine Hayes and eventually the store acquired Munro’s bikes and associated items in the late 1970s.

“in 1977 when he was in failing health, he sold the Indian his 1920 Scout, plus his 1936 Fellowship and other motorcycles, and a number of his workshop bits and pieces.”

The footage emerged by chance, he says, when the MD’s assistant said she had some old film which might help with material for the 90th birthday celebrations.

“I was expecting to find hopefully some footage of the buildings that we're in at the moment, the shop and the development of the store over the years and that sort of thing.

“And as we were going through it, family film footage of Burt Munro and some of his early time trials, racing on Bluff Hill, and various other bits and pieces presented itself.”

There's a couple of hours of footage, he says.

“We’re in the process of chopping it up and re-presenting it so that we can roll it out throughout the year to interested people and people can share in what we found.”

The Burt Munro story has huge appeal, he says, the store gets thousands of visitors a year.

“We get up to 10,000 visitors a year just coming to the store to see the Indian on display. It's 100 percent free for anybody to just walk into the store as a normal shopper would and walk around and see the Indian and all the other memorabilia that we have in store from Burt Munro.

“And of course the whole collection that the Hayes family has collected over the years of their other motorcycles and classic cars. It's an incredible experience to come in and enjoy.”