The entry of legendary UK star Guy Martin is the feature of this year’s Classic Motorcycle Mecca Bluff Promotions Burt Munro Challenge Bluff Hillclimb.
The opening event of the challenge, the Hillclimb takes place in Bluff on Thursday 24 November starting at 10am.
The appearance of Martin is a coup for the Burt Munro Challenge committee and the Hillclimb will be the first opportunity for enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of the Isle Of Man star and media personality. Martin will ride his 320hp turbocharged Suzuki GSX R 1100 on the hill and has done plenty of homework as he prepares for his first appearance there. “He already knows how steep the hill is and how long it is,” says Garry Jamieson of the Burt Munro Challenge Organising Committee. “He has even spoken to Australian Cam Donald, winner of the hillclimb in 2014, about the event. Whenever Donald speaks of the hill he rates it as scarier than the Isle Of Man.”
Two local riders, Robert Goodman and Quinn Fowler, uphold Bluff pride in their home event.
The challenge will begin with the New Zealand Hill Climb Championships on Thursday (Nov 24) at Bluff Hill.
Although the event kicks off at 10am, hillclimb organiser Lindsay Beer recommends spectators arrive early to get settled in as practice starts at 9am.
Between 1000-1200 spectators turned up last year, and with Guy Martin featuring at this year’s event, more were expected, he said.
There would be a variety of spectator spots along the route, with a free courtesy bus to collect and drop people off throughout the day, he said.
A new naming rights sponsor, Classic Motorcycle Mecca, has come on board this year as the event looks set to be the best yet. Classic Motorcycle Mecca is an exciting new facility based in central Invercargill and is due to open just in time for the Burt Munro Challenge. The attraction features the motorcycles from the former NZ Classic Motorcycle Collection in Nelson.
There are three classes carrying New Zealand titles – the Bluff Four Square Supermarket Open Class, the Golden Age Tavern & Anchorage Cafe Bar Up to 600cc Class and the Challenge Service Station/Nevs Glass Super Quad Class while support classes include the Southern Suzuki/Mocha Rocka Coffee Classic Pre 63, South Port NZ Ltd Post Classic Pre 82 and Foveaux Dairy/Gasoline Alley Services Post Classic Pre 89.
Further support for the event comes from Osborn Engineering, Southland DisABILITY Enterprises, Bluff Bakery, Port Maintenance, Bluff Engineering & Welding and Kaye’s Bakery.
The hillclimb takes place on the road to the summit of Bluff Hill and is 1.4 kilometres in length. After a twisty section at the base of the hill competitors face a long straight before a steep climb over the final segment. Resealing of the road has taken place prior to this year’s event removing some of the bumps particularly from the lower reaches of the hill. Competitors receive two practice runs before three official timed runs to establish the fastest overall time of the day.
The event is signposted from Bluff’s main street, SH1, and there is food and beverage available on site while the town of Bluff with it’s cafes and attractions is just a few hundred metres from the entrance to the event.
For riders sign in is at 8am and riders briefing at 9am while for spectators entry fee is $20 while Under 15’s are free. No EFTPOS is available at the gate.