British star revs up Invercargill's Classic Motorcycle Mecca

British star revs up Invercargill's Classic Motorcycle Mecca

When you think about Invercargill, you probably picture cheese rolls, the cold weather and motorcycles, thanks to Burt Munro.

But later this week, there will be more than just the World's Fastest Indian drawing motorcycle-heads to the deep south; it's the opening of the Classic Motorcycle Mecca.

Some of the bikes are more than 100 years old, and to help open the 300-strong collection is a British man who has become a reluctant superstar in the motorcycling world.

Motorcycle racer and TV personality Guy Martin is obsessed, especially with the Christchurch-built John Britten motorcycles.

Martin turned down the opportunity to race professionally or become a Top Gear host to keep doing what he loves the most - fixing trucks.

"In England, they do all that X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing and that's for celebrities, and I'm not into being a celebrity. I just want to fix trucks."

It seems like a quiet life for a man who has raced in the notoriously dangerous Isle of Man TT which has claimed almost 300 lives, but Martin says it's the tinkering he enjoys the most.

Joss O'Donnell is now the proud new owner of the motorcycle collection which was bought from a Nelson owner who wanted to keep them in New Zealand. Curator Dave Roberts moved from Nelson to Invercargill to stay with the bikes, and he says each has their own special story.

Ms O'Donnell's family opened the Bill Richardson Transport World last year full of her father's vintage trucks and cars collection.

Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will be drawn in from around the world later this week for the event which has been running for 10 years, and this year the rules have been altered so Martin can race his homebuilt supercharged bike.

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