Burt’s Fine Wine
“It was 1962 and Burt Munro had somehow managed to get his suped-up Indian motorcycle from New Zealand to the Salt Flats, where he hoped to set a record,” writes Tom Wharton for The Salt Lake Tribune. “‘I passed this old guy pushing his motorcycle across the salt,’ recalled 75-year-old Jeff Shipley of Upland who first came to Bonneville in 1958 and has more or less been involved in seeing how fast his vehicles can go across the salt ever since. ‘I asked him where his crew was. He didn’t have one. So I took the front wheel of his motorcycle and helped bring it back to the pit. He made three runs after that.’ Shipley suggested Munro try a blend of nitro fuel, a concoction that increased the speed of the Indian by about 10 mph. He gave his newfound friend about five gallons to take back to New Zealand. Airport security, of course, had a bit of a problem with that, so Munro drove to Shipley’s California home to return the fuel. That was near wine country, so Shipley talked to a friend who put the fuel into bottles and placed it in a case labeled, ‘Fine California wine,’ which was shipped back to New Zealand … Greg Carlson, another Salt Flats veteran remembered another New Zealand racer named Rollie Free who in 1962 raced across the Salt Flats in a Speedo swimsuit on an ironing board in order to cut down the friction and get more speed.” Edendale-born Munro set an under-1000cc world record, at Bonneville on 26 August 1967. The record stands today.