In 1920 a 21 year old Southlander stood gazing at a brand-new motorcycle in an Invercargill garage. His eyes roved over the neat little V twin engine, the cast alloy primary case, the leaf sprung front fork. His hand lovingly stroked the gleaming red paint and the sparkle of the polished nickel matched that in his eyes. The proprietor was spoken to, a deal was struck, and the young man bought his motorcycle, beginning a partnership which was to last until his death in December 1978. The man was Burt Munro and the bike was an Indian Scout, destined to become the world’s fastest Indian.
Burt Munro was born Herbert James Munro on March 25, 1899 in Edendale, Invercargill, New Zealand. From an early age, Burt had a need for speed and often rode the family’s fastest horse around the farm at high speed.
In 1915 he bought his first motorcycle, a Douglas, and by 1919 had saved enough to buy a Clyno with sidecar. This cost him £50 new. The sidecar was removed and the Clyno entered in local races. Speed records were set at the Fortrose circuit, near Invercargill, but the Clyno wasn’t kept for long when the Indian came on the scene.
The Indian Scout came from the board of Charles Franklin, an Indian employee since 1914 and the first trained engineer to be employed by the company. Franklin’s background well qualified him for the position. Born in Ireland in 1886 he graduated from the Dublin College of Science in 1908, securing a position in the engineering department of Dublin’s municipal government. He became interested in motorcycling, owning several makes of machine and becoming interested in Indian in 1910. He entered local competitions where his ability and success brought him to the notice of the sole British importer of Indians, Billy Wells. He was a member of the Indian team in the 1911 Isle of Man TT, gaining second place behind Oliver Godfrey, and in front of Arthur Moorhouse, both also Indian mounted, in the historic first 1-2-3 by the same make.
Franklin conceived the design for the Scout as early as 1912, through his studies of advanced motorcycle design and built a prototype, under Indian auspices, in early 1919. Tests were satisfactory and production started in September of that year on the,1920 models, commencing with engine number 5OR001.
The bike bought by Burt Munro carried engine no. 5OR627 and can therefore be seen to have come very early in the life of a machine which remained in production, in basically the same form until 1931. The Scout itself was a 37cu.in. (60Occ) 42 degree V twin with side valves. A helical gear primary drive was contained in an oil-tight, cast alloy case and a 3 speed, hand change gearbox with foot clutch was fitted. A double down-tube cradle frame was used, rigid at the rear, and a leaf-spring provided the forks with nearly 2 inches of movement at the front. Chain drive was used in contrast to the drive systems still commonly used on English motorcycles.
Burt began modifying his bike in 1926. His methods, to say the least, were unorthodox. He used an old spoke for a micrometer and cast parts in old tins although one American report has him casting pistons in holes in the sand at the local beach! He built his own four-cam design to replace the standard two-cam system and converted to overhead valves.
He made his own barrels, flywheels, pistons, cams and followers and lubrication system. In their final form he in effect hand-carved his con-rods from a Caterpillar tractor axle, and hardened and tempered them to 143 tons tensile strength. He built a seventeen plate, thousand pound pressure clutch and used a triple chain drive. He experimented with streamlining and, in its final form, the bike was completely enclosed in a streamlined shell.The leaf-sprung fork was dispensed with and what appears to be a girder fork from a 1925 – 1928 Prince substituted.
All this was done through half a century of work and development. Originally the Scout was capable of about 55 mph. In 1926 it was raced on the Penrith Mile Dirt Track in New South Wales with sidecar attached, the passenger being Wells. The outfit lasted one lap for a speed of 46 mph. Despite this inauspicious start, Burt still held the Australian sidecar record, as-late as 1977, with a speed of 90 mph, set at Inverlock Beach, Victoria.
A succession of NZ road and beach records followed. In February 1957 he set a NZ Open Beach record of 131.38 mph, raising this in 1975 to 136 mph at Oreti Beach. In April 1957 he set a 75Occ Road Record at Christchurch at 143.59 mph. In March 1962 he covered the standing 1/4 mile at Invercargill in 12.31 seconds.
Burt, then a grandfather, visited the Bonneville salt flats several times from 1962 onwards. In that year he set a then world record of 178.971 mph with his engine out to 51 cu.in. (85Occ). In 1963 a con-rod broke while he was traveling at an estimated 195mph. In 1966 it was displacing 920cc, when Burt, unhappy with some loss in top speed, completely rebuilt it again.
In 1967, with his engine punched out to 58 cu.in. (950cc) he set a class record of 183.586 mph. To qualify he made a one-way run of 190.07 mph, the fastest ever officially recorded speed on an Indian.
His visits to the salt were not without incident. In issue no. 1 of Motorcycle New Zealand, published in 1973 Burt is quoted as follows:
“At the Salt in 1967 we were going like a bomb. Then she got the wobbles just over half way through the run. To slow her down I sat up. The wind tore my goggles off and the blast forced my eyeballs back into my head – couldn’t see a thing. We were so far off the black line that we missed a steel marker stake by inches. I put her down – a few scratches all round but nothing much else”.
At the time Burt was traveling at close to 206 mph!
After a blow-up. The original engine no, 50R627 is visible. Rumor has it that Burt made his barrels from pieces of cast iron gas pipe, which he scrounged from the gas company after they had been dug up for replacement. He reasoned that, after some years in the ground, they were well seasoned. He then made aluminum slices which he shrunk over the pipe to make fins.
Bull, Maureen, New Zealand’s Motorcycle Heritage,
Masterton Publishing House 1981
Hatfield, Jerry, American Racing Motorcycles,
Haynes Publishing Group, 1982
Motorcycle New Zealand, Issue 1, 1973
New Zealand Sunday Times, April 27, 1975
Sucher, Harry, The Iron Redskin, Haynes Publishing Group, 1977
Burt Munro Challenges
He purchased his first motorcycle at the age of 15 and had his first Indian Scout in 1920 – the bike he would continue to modify (with his own custom made unique parts) for the rest of his life. After setting a number of New Zealand land speed records in the 1940s and 1950s his next goal was to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, United States. His first trip to Bonneville as a competitor was in 1962 (Burt was 63) and there he set a land speed record of 178.97mph. He travelled there a further eight times to compete and set two more world records. His 1967 record of 183.58mph still stands today, and on this trip he also managed to hit 190.07mph during a qualifying run which is the fastest ever recorded speed on an Indian motorcycle.
Burt Munro was an extraordinary character that represents real and positive kiwi attributes such as ingenuity, dogged determination, and a laid back and humorous demeanour. Following the success of the 2005 movie about Burt Munro’s inspirational life – “The World’s Fastest Indian”, the Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge to honour Burt, his ingenuity, determination, and love of speed and motorcycles.
The inaugural event was held in 2006, and it has since forged a name for itself as one of New Zealand’s major motor sport events. It has a strong local and national following, and rapidly growing international interest. It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as all the weekend warriors, all provided with a variety of exciting events, fantastic entertainment, and famous southern hospitality.
Burt Munro corresponded over many years with his friend John Andrews in England, an American V-Twin enthusiast. John found Burt’s letters had no equal for showing the determination, ingenuity and persistence in trying to make, both the Indian and the Velocette go faster. This article is compiled from a letter to John dated 21st March 1970 which has been edited slightly as it was a bit rambling! But it does express Burt’s style and of his trials, tribulations and success in the quest for more speed.
as originally Published in New Zealand’s Veteran and Vintage Motoring Magazine ‘Beaded Wheels‘ #188 Feb – March 1991
Well it is a bit hard to cram a brief history and spec of a bike I bought new in 1920 for 140 pounds cash and have been developing since 1926. it has gone 3 ¼ m.p.h. faster each year for 44 years which is about average for some factory bikes over the same period. I have been riding since 1915 and owned a Clyno v-twin in 1919- 1920 which I sold to a blacksmith and then bought the 1920 Scout, engine number 5OR627. I have made 5 heads for it, countless pistons and conrods, carburetors, magneto parts , scores of cams, fork changes, many wheels built as tyres and rims changed. The last one was for the front wheel last July when I changed from 19” to 18” as I cannot get high speed from 19 x 2.75 tires anymore. This I cut the tread off with a knife then smoothed down to the bottom of the non-skid groove.
For the first 22 years after 1926 it was weekends and nights getting ready for hill-climbs, trials and standing ¼ and flying ¼ mile events, and 1 mile dirt sidecar races at Penrith Speedway, NSW, Australia. Between 26 and 29 I had records in hill-climbs, standing ¼ and flying ¼, and petrol consumption runs, one of 116 m.p.g. This covers the start of my tuning efforts and has continued up to the present time. I rode second next to les Weatherby in the world’s first mile TT in Chatswood in North Sydney. The track was cut out of the bush with stumps and roots left, and a high jump out of a deep creek. This is now known as a scramble or motocross.
Then in 1927, solo on Aspendale Speedway, Melbourne, Australia, I jumped off at 90 m.p.h.+ when in a bad speed wobble at the end of straight with one hand on oil pump. We hit a deep gutter and took off on the bend, landed with the bars pulled round a little, and my heavy 29” oversize tire on front just kept the wobble and was heading for the post and rail fence. The 10,000 spectators were told in paper that I was unhurt but I was pretty sick in bed for a week or two with concussion and many bruises. The Saturday before this at Inverloch Beach in Victoria, my flathead Scout won a gold medal at 90.01 mph equal with a 1928 Chicago 61” Harley Davidson ridden by an airforce pilot from point Cook, Victoria, Australia.
From 1929 I returned to New Zealand after four years in Australia when work finally could not be had (this was the Great Depression). I spent the next 10 years as motor cycle traveler. This was finally given up around 1941 when one of my rare (by this time) crashes put me off for 11 months. When I returned to NZ I was invited to join the local motorcycle club and an now a life member and have been for many years. After joining I just lived for beach races, grass track, mile and also ¼ mile, hill climbs, speed trials, trials, road racing, drags and I think the beach was the greatest in 1940. About seven years ago averaged 83.43 m.p.h. in a six mile race which I won. This was on a championship fancied beach course a few miles from Invercargill. This is where I do most of my testing nowadays.
In 1948 I decided to give up work and concentrate on getting a good run out of my old bike as by this time I thought I was getting better at designing parts and would go to the Canterbury Speed Trials held each year north of Christchurch. Well I went there for 22 years, this was a 1,000 mile round trip from home. I broke the NZ records more than once, but was only three times satisfied I had gone as good as I could go at the time, and those three times their timer failed for me. The last time was 10 or 11 years ago and the ACU rep said, never mind, next year we will have cable buried in side of the road. Then they could not get it anymore because of increased use of this long straight road known as Tram Road, North Canterbury, NZ. I will try and give you a rough specification of the past and present of engine and cycle. I have and still hold some records in the 37 ci class, under 750 cc class, 55ci class and lastly 61ci class, all with my 1920 flathead Scout. My first major record was the NZ Open Road record established on the Aylesbury straight in 1940 at a mean 120.8m.p.h. This was held for twelve years. The under 750 cc Road record at 143.43 and NZ Open Road record at the same time. Also NZ Beach record in 1957. Although this is still attempted each year it remains unbroken at 132.38 m.p.h.
55 ci AMA world record 1962 at Bonneville, engine was 51ci at this time. 1966 engine 56ci 168.06m.p.h. American 61 ci record 1967 183.6. best run 190.07 qualifying. 1969 record number of runs for a streamliner, 14 in four and a half days. I had magneto and carburetion troubles and finally burned-up pistons when gas tap shut off on last chance of a qualifying run. I have hauled bike or engine to USA eight times in my attempt to get one good run but this has always eluded my greatest efforts.
The last 22 years has been full-time as I could never get enough hours to do things. After finally getting 94 m.p.h. from the flatheads and running on Borneo Aviation Gas I ahd a go at making ohv heads. A foundry told me how to go about making patterns and I finally had them finished after a year of work until the first day it ran. Believe it or not the first runs were slower than my best on the sidevalve but over the years I gradually got it going faster till in 1937 I was getting 110 m.p.h. from it, also breaking conrods. About then a mate and I were returning from a distant beach meeting and another pair of rods had broken, and he said why not write to the Indian factory and get special rods. This got me thinking and I acquired a broken Ford truck axle and carved out two rods in five months. These were in it for 20 years and were standing up to over 140 m.p.h. By 1950 I was getting 150 m.p.h unstreamlined.
I have had many terrific blow-ups, the last two were during this last 11 months. I will describe one I had at Muriwai Beach, Auckland in April 1969. I hauled my Munro Special up there 1130 miles and blew a piston ( I had just made thirteen new ones for 1969), the rod and pin toe up and down, put tram tracks and split both new cylinders, punched large hole in front of case, bent mag armature, broke slip ring and magnets on ML into five pieces. I hauled home and in eight and a half weeks had it running again. Eight more new pistons, two new home made rods, magnets cut form an old Bosch magneto.
The brief history is almost impossible to put together but I should give you a rough idea of some of my best crashes. In 1916, out all day after landing on head. 1921, riding standing on seat of Scout waiting for Uncle Alf to get his King Dick going. I looked round and woke up that evening after a whole days absence from what was going on. In 1927, jumped off on a dirt track Aspendale Speedway at over 90mph. Concussion and bruising from feet to back of neck. 1932, stopped to get a rider going in Western Southland when on my traveling job. I told the guy I would follow him in case it stopped again. We came to a farmhouse at a cross road. A dog ran at him. I caught it on the rebound and came around later concussed and bloody from a deep scalp wound. 1934, crashed Clifton Gorge, struck a wash-out before could pull-up. Came around concussed. 1937, in 20 mile beach race, doing 110 when Hugh Currie, BSA Special, the last rider I had to catch, turned in front of me. I hit the 6” brake and tried to steer behind him as he banked over to turn. My bike climbed up and over his and sailed 120 feet clear of the beach before landing. He was knocked-out and had broken collar bone. My bash-hat was split from crown to rim in two places. Weeks later he told me what knocked me out and split the hat. The underside of his engine landed square on my head. When he was repairing his bike he found the varnish marks from my hat on the cases. I had all my teeth knocked out and my brother picked up numerous gold filled ones from the sand. This was one of the saddest moments of my life when I found my priceless teeth no more.
1940, running on home built gas producer. Still traveler for some motor cycle firm and running at top speed of 56 m.p.h. on coal. I hit a ridge of wet gravel and ran off to side of road but regained control on fence line. But before I could let go of bar and shut off gas and air lever I hit an 18” deep cutting into a farmhouse, the bike struck the far bank and shot right up into the air and back to the gravel road. My head hit the road, I was unconscious for one and a half hours and came-to blind from dried blood in eyes. I had hemorrhage of brain for a week and concussed, and was of work for 11 months. I had part concuss – ional headaches for about 15 years form this so I gave up the traveling as I did not care to travel by bus or car to sell bikes.
1959, was in a drag at Teretonga International track when at 110mph the bike got into a sudden fast speed wobble. I jumped off the side and rolled and skidded and bounced 15 feet high they tell me. I finished up in the hospital for seven and a half weeks. When I finished the crash I had bash hat still on, waistband of pants, tennis shoes and pieces of socks. I was only slightly concussed. It was missing flesh, and skin took building up again. One finger was ground half way through the bone but still works but one joint is crook. All the other crashes involved just bones or scars or burns and one arm ripped apart at the shoulder. In five and a half months it grew back but still hurts at rest when I lie on it.
For this year I have made the new cylinders and pistons to the largest bore ever, it is now 3.192 inches x 96mm giving 60.54 ci. For eight years I have carved out new rods, cylinders and pistons and cams, and work full time on either my 1936 Velo or the Indian.
For 10 years I worked 16 hours a day in the shed and was told to slow up a few years ago and now work 7 days and about 70 hours a week. The flywheels I made form 5” axle hammered out under steam hammer. Just finished pistons. I had these eight heat-treated for the first time. Crank in 1928 Scout turned down to ¾” and then sleeved. I made this from oil hardening steel and squeeze on and pull up with standard nuts. I leave the taper with ¾” hole in it to fit drive side flywheel. The rods of course now have bigger eye and smaller rollers. The main shafts right up to about three years ago were standard, about 13/16”; with four sets of caged genuine Indian rollers ¼ x 5/16” running on the shafts. Well, as speed mounted-up over the years I got visions of them breaking and in 1957 I had a new pin, crank-pin that is, given to me in Springfield on a visit to Indian factory. This I fitted to the timing side with big-end bearings. Then the drive side looked so thin. I looked around and had a spare gearbox mainshaft. So I ground the four outside splines off it and made up two drive shafts form it, then had them re-hardened and ground locally. I bored out the taper in flywheel in my three and a half inch Myford lathe. By the way, I completely made my new cylinder heads in the same lathe. The only change is to cut about one and a quarter off gap in bed for flywheels. This probably weakens it a bit but I still work it every day, and have since it was new 22 years ago. I am on my second set of back gears, worn out about 12 years ago, and my third lead screw is now badly worn.
Cams I made by file and saw since 1926 but now have built a cam grinder and make them in pairs as I spent 800 hours in 1963 making the engine into a four cam set-up. After I time them I pin them to the ¼” hole in the standard cam-wheels on Scout. Cam followers are filed from axle steel and I make a fork to take a ¾” x ¼” roller running on needles, and an oiler to keep a good flow from the 1933 Indian oil pump I had given me in 1956. This I modified to pump the oil to big end, and was when I made my steel flywheels.
The 1920 Scout frame and my third streamliner shell are still in USA. The first full shell I built tool me five years to hammer out of sheet aluminum. I could only work at it when I had my bike ready for testing then if it blew-up I would work on the engine until running again, then hammer away at it again, or suddenly think of some new scheme to get more speed. Of course these brainwaves often made it slower or just more blown parts. By the way, I have read of E Fernihough’s death and perhaps I can offer a reason for him running off the road that day. I have several times had similar experiences caused by a side wind of only two to three m.p.h. if one is traveling at over 180 as on most occasions with me, the bike steers over to one side but I start to steer it back at once. But I have had it go 12 feet over the outside of the black line before getting it back to the center of track. If this were on a road of course there is no chance of survival.
The first shell I took with me to Bonneville in 1962 was the second I had built. The first one of aluminum was too hard to ride, too neat a fit and I had great difficulty getting the gears. So I modified it and used it as a mould for number two of fiberglass. I had my first run on it at Bonneville in 1962, and was ordered to have a test run with officials following in a car. It just veered from side to side at all speeds. I said to myself I may as well ship it back home, they will never let me run a thing like this. When they came up with me they said, handles ok. I said, What! They repeated handled good.
For the next five or six years I had some of the worst out of control rides on record. The worst was five miles late in 1962 when in an effort to stop wheel-spin at 160 I built a 60lb lead brick and bolted it in front of rear wheel. By the time I got to three mile marker the top of the shell was swerving five feet and wheel marks were five inches wide and snaking thirty inches every 200 yards, measured and lined-up later. Well when you figure you can only die next skid you try anything, so I wound it all on for another one and a half miles and when I found out it would go on that way forever I rolled it back and got it stopped. When the gang arrived and found me laughing and asked me the joke, I said I was happy to still be alive. The cure is to sit-up and let the body strike the air. This shifts center of pressure back behind center of gravity. I learned this the hard way. Lead brick should have been in front of the front wheel and shell higher off the ground. At rear, air packed under tail and lifted weight off rear wheel and thus caused wheel-spin.
More specs. I have mods in clutch, the standard Raybestos plates are long gone and I have 17 standard steel plates, hardened and ground. I fit 24 standard clutch springs giving a pressure of 1360lbs on the pressure plate, and the standard thrust race and withdrawal screw haul this free for freeing and gear changing. I have a left hand lever and wire to operating arm and a small foot assist lever on the clutch worm shaft. I only use this for long gear engagement during test runs without shell. Over the years I made four chain drives having finally ground helical teeth off clutch body and filed out 46 half inch pitch teeth by hand and now run a three-row chain on a 22 engine sprocket and still the 46 clutch sprocket. This Reynolds in London told me 15 years ago would be impossible and would never work but it has run in there for the last 35 years or so in 10 SAE oil.
The gearbox is original, but I was unable to get new sliding dog and was visiting an old acquaintance in Sydney in 1948, he had bought out Mr Bidens stock of Indian parts. I bought a set of 1916 Power Plus Indian gears, lay shaft cluster and sliding dog. The cluster I shortened 3/8” and have run on them this past 22 years.
Cylinders I usually make from very old city gasworks pipe, cast-iron condemned, because of very large pits. I manage to get short lengths without too deep marks and because of the thickness, about ½-5/8”, I can have enough thickness for a base. The barrels are old pistons melted in a small pot on the two gallon can furnace I use for melting-down for making pistons. The muff casting I turn-down in the Myford, bore undersize then heat-up with blow-lamp and drop onto liners. Pistons I redesign every year and make about half a dozen or so and take with me to USA for spares. Some years I have used every one and even welded-up burned-out ones there. When Jim Enz and his wife wanted to help me with fuel, I said I would like to try alcohol and they bought me five gallons of best brand Mickey Thompson alcohol. Boy it sure was the best piston burner! I guess it had Nitro or TNT in it. Every run the pistons vaporized. No alloy heads on my heap.
Carburetor is 1924 Indian Chief. I have sawn a cut full length on top of it, bent it out and welded piece of brass in gap and run it in normal position with a T shape manifold made from one and three eights steel tubing. I have tuned five carbs for my bike since 1927 when I swapped the Schebler H for a Schebler deluxe, and all others I have tuned and modified have been deluxe Scheblers fitted to the Indians made later than mine.
This year since arriving home from USA five months ago, have put in 560 hours on the Munro Special. The main jobs were two new alloy rods- two weeks, two new cylinders and barrels- one week, eight new pistons and much work on old dies for same- three weeks. I am making two new sets of cams for this year. Making a 180 degree Bosch mag into a 42 degree by making new brass cam ring. From old ball race the two cams were made, filed and timed accurately then quenched in oil. As this 0 year old magneto rotated backwards I had to make up a drive different from standard. This I finally got working by taking out the two idler pinions, and fitting a big cam wheel from a late model Indian. This has four teeth more than my engine and by cutting 1/8” off base of mag and cutting into cases a little and jamming it back and boring new holes and tapping-out in same, I finally got the drive fixed. I also made a movable shaft to run the large pinion on and thus get a close tooth adjustment.
Since finishing the above I have been testing at the beach and have been out 17 times and had 11 blow-ups. This consisted of mostly broken pistons of older designs. I was testing out a steel rod and a new carb I had made these last two or three years. I ran it on 20 to 1 to test the rod, then built better pistons and ran three in it, one after the other, until I had one that should stand-up to 13 to 1. As soon as I lowered the compression to 13, the rod which had stood-up to all the broken pistons finally shattered top end when I was accelerating hard in top at 5,500. I took it down, the new piston was in many pieces, pin broken ib half, cylinder scored and split at skirt and hammered out wedge shape and locked in cases. One rocker arm broken, one twisted, one push rod broken, one buckled. Other breaks were cam follower I had made from magnesium four or five years ago, another rocker and pushrods bent and both valves bent.
Development goes on all the time and has been full-time these last 22 years. I would like to make another DOHC set up. I still have the one I made and ran in quarter-mile grass track races about 1951. This fitted out front cylinder and rear was blanked-off. It was just an exercise as everyone was talking double knockers at the time. It is only lately I have had ideas to try to fit-up one for the rear as well but have so far failed to get time. Pulled the head off this morning and am starting two new rods from DC6 B propeller. I hope to find it strong enough. It was sent to me from Auckland as I cannot get the 70-70 or 20-24 alloy in NZ. I like to improve design every year in cams, carbs (just finished a new one yesterday), conrods, pistons and sometimes valves and guides when they wear a little, and cylinders.
It is almost impossible for me to give you a true picture of the time I have spent on my cycles. The last 22 years has been full time and for one stretch of 10 years put in 16 hours every day, but on Christmas Day only took the afternoon off.
I have booked berth on SS P&O Oriana for USA June 15th but will not go if cannot pass the doctor.
Related Links on this Site The Munro Special
Burt Munro, 1899-1978 – A New Zealand Motorcycling Legend, Part Two
The Worlds Fastest Indian movie starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro
The Worlds Fastest Indian movie 22 more photos of filming at Utah
plus ‘Kiwi’ Mike on the filming on the flats
T.W.F.I Special Screening Movie Review Aug 30th 2005
plus ‘Kiwi’ Mike on the filming on the flats
Photos of the Ducati Powered Specials production at TurnTru Machining, Invercargill, NZ
Official TWFI Site | Official TWFI Site Movie Trailer (may require huge Quicktime download)
Simpler Alternative Trailer without Quicktime
As originally Published in New Zealand’s Veteran and Vintage Motoring Magazine ‘Beaded Wheels‘ #189 April – May 1991
In the Open Record on the Munro Special Burt did 120.8 m.p.h. (flying ½ mile) Main West Road, Canterbury 27/1/1940. Burt never again competed at Bonneville, due to declining health. But to this day he enjoys the distinction that his Indian is the fastest the world has seen, 190.07 mph at Utah in 1967.