The legend of Burt Munro is woven into the very fiber of world motorcycle culture. But particularly here in the US, where Munro made his most famous record runs on a 1920 Indian he campaigned and modified for more than 50 years, his red streamliner is instantly recognizable and an icon of the can-do spirit that is the foundation of success at Bonneville.
Fifty years after Munro set a record at Bonneville, Indian Motorcycle, using a 2017 Scout-based land-speed racer aptly called the Spirit of Munro, went to California’s El Mirage Dry Lake with Burt’s first cousin’s grandson Lee Munro and set a record of 186.681 mph in the Southern California Timing Association MPS-G (Modified Partial Streamliner) 1350cc class. This was the final test run of the bike before the Bonneville record attempt August 12-13, where Lee and the Indian team will attempt to set a record on the salt to honor Burt’s legend.
Lee, a 41-year-old New Zealand native, is an accomplished road racer in his home country who has run laps at Isle of Man. But he’d never done any land-speed racing, so his first trip to El Mirage in May was to make shakedown runs on the modified Scout, and also to get his SCTA license, the card that will allow him to shoot for 200 mph at Bonneville. The two-day event in May went off smoothly as the team sorted out tuning and the freshly built bike. Upon return for the one-day July event at El Mirage, Lee became fully licensed, bagged that record, and is set to attack Bonneville. The plan is not to break Burt Munro’s record, but to honor the effort by competing in a different class on the salt upon the 50th anniversary of Burt’s legendary run.
The Spirit of Munro
Spirit is a good name for the bike, for this is what Indian has shown pretty much across all its efforts in motorcycling. From the launch of the Thunder Stroke 111 (in a tribute Burt Munro-styled streamliner) to the production bikes to the Scout FTR750 to this grassroots internal effort to honor Burt…