Burt Munro’s 50-year unbroken land speed record will be honoured – not broken – by a special Scout Streamliner at Bonneville Speed Week in August 2017.
Indian Motorcycle has modified a new Scout into a Streamliner to be ridden by Munro’s great nephew, Lee Munro, on August 13.
The attempt will not break Burt’s 1967 record of 184.087mph set in the SA 1000 class on his 1920 Indian Scout streamliner.
The record remains unbroken to this day, although the class is now called S-AF 1000cc.
Lee was born and raised in Invercargill, New Zealand, where his great uncle Burt lived. Lee started downhill mountain bike racing and was second in the NZ national championship and has moved on to motorcycle road racing, winning the vintage class at the Methven Street Races this year on a 1941 Indian motorcycle.
Burt’s son John and daughter Margaret will also be special guests of Indian Motorcycle at the event.
Actually, the record was originally inaccurate.
The record on his Indian 953cc Fuel Streamliner in the American Motorcyclist Association Land Speed Record in Class S.A. 1000 was originally listed by the American Motorcycle Association as 183.586mph.
That was supposed to be the average of his north run of 184.710mph and his south run of 183.463.
However, John told us at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2014 that the average is actually half a mile-per-hour faster at 184.087mph.
Only a couple of days earlier, John was notified by the AMA that the record had been adjusted.
“So, he’s dead for 36 years and he just broke another record,” he told us.
Burt’s Scout is on display in a glass case in the Hammer Hardware store in his home town of Invercargill, New Zealand, among the E Hayes Motorworks Collection.
We recently visited the store where rare and historic bikes such as the Munro Special sit among nuts, bolts, screws, tools and cans of paint.
The 1967 record was set on his seventh trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, not on his first trip as depicted in the 2005 movie The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins.
Burt also set records in the 55 cubic-inch class at 178.971mph in 1962 and in the SA 1000 class in 1966 at 168.066mph.
There are only four AMA unbroken records older than Burt’s 1967 record: the 500cc S-AF class record set in 1958 of 212.288mph by Jess Thomas; the 650cc A-AF class record in 1961 of 159.542mph by Gary Richards; the 650cc S-AF class record in 1962 of 230.269mph by Bill Johnson; and the 650cc APS-AF class record in 1965 of 161.793mph also by Gary Richards.