Another Covid Victim: Canned Burt Munro Challenge


For the first time in 16 years, the Burt Munro Challenge has been canceled. Organizers blame uncertainty over Covid-19’s protective framework as the reason for the canning.

This will be the first time that the Burt Munro Challenge has been canceled since its launch in 2006.

Committee chairman Craig Hyde said the decision was made at a committee meeting this week and major funders and sponsors have been notified.

“We are absolutely sorry that it has come to this, but with an event of national significance of this magnitude, it is the right thing to do.

“The government’s new traffic light system policy is mandatory for events to follow, but it creates uncertainty, making it difficult to plan ahead. It does not guarantee that competitors and spectators will be able to travel from outside the region to the event. We also anticipate changes will be required in some of our management systems, including ticketing, check-in, security, and will include infrastructure changes. “

The committee considered postponing the event or reducing the size to include only part of the racing program, but in the end, cancellation was seen as the only option available.

“We know the Southland community will be disappointed that the event has been canceled. We receive a lot of support to run the Burt and in turn support many businesses and community groups.

“The biker community’s pilgrimage south from Cape Reinga to soak up the Burt experience, watch the races, socialize at the rally, catch up and tell a few stories is part of the experience.”

Great South GM Tourism and Events Bobbi Brown said the cancellation was completely understandable but would have a significant impact on the Southland economy.

“It’s a huge loss. We can only hope to return to some sort of normalcy next year, and the event will come back to full force in 2023.”

The Burt Munro committee would begin preparations for the event Feb. 8-12, 2023, after the government provided clarification to the events industry, Hyde said.

The cancellation is among the list of significant events in the South that have become victims of Covid, including the Alexandra’s Blossom Festival, the Dunedin Santa Claus Parade and the town’s Craft Beer and Food Festival.

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