Indian Motorcycle Honors Burt Munro at Bonneville
The 69th annual Bonneville Speed Week hosted an Indian Motorcycle tribute to Burt Munro’s historic achievements on a 1920 Indian Scout, featured in the popular film “The World’s Fastest Indian.” The recognition was highlighted by commemorative land speed runs by Munro’s great nephew Lee Munro on a modified 2017 Indian Scout appropriately named “Spirit of Munro.” The weekend’s curtain call included a moonlight screening of the movie for Speed Week campers.
The film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, immortalized Burt Munro and the historic under-1000cc world record run of his 1920 Scout Streamliner in August of 1967. Director Roger Donaldson, Burt’s son John, and Burt's grand nephew Lee Munro shared anecdotes about the making of the film, and the impact Burt’s achievements have had on Indian Motorcycle and motorcycling in general. The talks and screening drew throngs of Speed Week attendees who were captivated by the feature film, cheering and clapping throughout as they watched under an immaculate starry night sky.
“I’ve seen the movie countless times. But to watch it with Speed Week attendees, the Munro family and the film’s director on the very Bonneville grounds that the film was based upon, was a surreal experience,” said Reid Wilson, Indian Motorcycle Marketing Director. “It was a special way to honor Burt and the perfect way to compliment the efforts of Lee Munro and our Spirit of Munro racing team on the Salt Flats that weekend.”
A team of engineers worked nights and weekends to create and refine Lee’s “Spirit of Munro” Motorcycle, a modified and partially streamlined 2017 Scout. The team’s goal was to match Burt’s land speed record of 184 MPH to fully pay tribute to his run, and Lee achieved his speed licenses through runs at El Mirage Dry Lakebed in California, securing a land speed record of 186.681 MPH in the MPS-G (Modified Partial Streamliner) 1350cc class during his rookie run and surpassing the team’s original goal.
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The team’s goal at Bonneville was to eclipse the 200 MPH mark, but Lee’s runs proved to be a battle against the elements. His first two runs were on the five-mile short course, resulting in his top performance of the weekend at 191.28 MPH. The following day, Lee and team made gearing changes and took the Scout out on Bonneville’s nine-mile long course. Unfortunately, high winds and rough overall conditions hindered the motorcycle, resulting in 186.415 MPH in his lone run of the day. On Monday, the team took another attempt on a newly-routed long course, yet rough surface conditions forced Munro to exit his run before completing the timed section.
“It was my greatest honor to represent Indian Motorcycle in such an incredible tribute to my great uncle on this historic 50th Anniversary,” said Munro. “We may not have had the results we were after, but piloting a modified Indian Scout on the same salt as my great Uncle Burt will forever be one of my most-cherished experiences. I’m looking forward to future runs and more success with my teammates and friends at Indian Motorcycle.”