27 Aug 2013

High Commissioner judges British Bonnies with a Kiwi twist

10:00 am on 27 August 2013

A convoy of Triumph Bonneville motorcycles customised with a dose of Kiwi ingenuity were showcased at the British High Commissioner's residence in Wellington on Monday.

Triumph named the bike in 1958 to commemorate breaking the motorcycle speed record at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats.

A farm bike Bonneville ridden by British High Commissioner,Vicki Treadell.

A farm bike Bonneville ridden by British High Commissioner,Vicki Treadell. Photo: RNZ

Monday marked 46 years since Invercargill's Burt Munro set a two-wheeled land speed record of 295.43 kms per hour at those Salt Flats in Utah on his American-made Indian motorcycle.

New Zealand Triumph dealers were challenged with customising a bike to a Kiwiana theme, to be judged by the British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell.

Invercargill dealer Greg Baynes rode the winning bike from the world's southernmost city to Wellington in about 12 hours.

The bike is a tribute to Munro, with the fuel tank covered in the many speed records Munro broke during his life time, and the bike customised to look similar to his Indian Scout.

Other modified Triumph Bonnevilles on display included a farm bike version capable of carrying hay bales, which caught the High Commissioner's attention.

Triumph Bonneville motorcycles sell from about $12,000 and Ms Treadell described them as a British engineering classic worthy of celebration.