“There are plenty of Burt Munro’s of cars and bikes out there in New Zealand.”
Those are the words of the President of the New Zealand Land Speed Association, John Seccombe, whose mission is to grow land speed racing.
Land speed racing is a unique facet of motorsport.
It challenges designers and engineers to develop a race car capable of accelerating to extreme speeds while maintaining that speed over a set distance.
Every year, many budding Kiwis take their homebuilt rockets over to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States to write themselves into land speed history.
Now, Seccombe and his team of land speed enthusiasts hope to foster the next generation of flying Kiwis in their own backyard.
The New Zealand Land Speed Association was formed in 2016 after Seccombe and three of his friends visited the Cliffhanger motorcycle event in the Wairarapa in 2012.
“After we did the Cliffhangers we thought we have to do something like this up in Auckland for cars and motorbikes,” Seccombe told Velocity News.
“It was then Racing Ray Williams that told us to do it on Goudies Road, where he set his land speed record in 1996.
“The road is about seven kilometres long near Reporoa and connects two forestries.
“But it took us about six months to find the darn thing.
“It was closed in 2009 and you can only access it through two side roads.
“Once we did, however, it was magical.”
Three events have been held on Goudies Road since Seccombe began the land speed association.
Cars and motorcycles get three kilometres to get up to speed before their run, which is measured at an average speed over a ¼ mile, one kilometre and one mile.
To ensure accuracy, $12,000 of Tag Heuer timing equipment records every run.
Seccombe says the event brings in some of New Zealand’s fastest supercars and superbikes, including rare finds.
“Last year, we had three McLarens, a Ferrari 348, and even a 550hp Bentley Flying Spur.
“We had a 1500hp Nissan GT-R that hit 358 kph, and that was even with a misfire. So, we know that we can go faster next time.
“With the bikes, we had a pair of Kawasaki H2Rs, which weigh 190kgs and produces 320 hp. That is a power-to-weight ratio of an F1 car.”
Seccombe, who is 72-years-old, raced one of the supercharged H2Rs and recorded an average speed of 330 kph.
Goudies Road is surrounded by several acres of farmland on one side and forestry on the other, which Seccombe says gives off an echoing howl.
“The road is elevated, and the trees down one side echo the noise.
“Some of the cars and bikes sound like a jet when they fly past, and can be heard from up to 4kms away.
“Some of the sounds are just amazing and you have to hear it for yourself.”
Seccombe hopes the sport of land speed racing will continue to grow over the coming years.
“It is a unique form of racing, something different.
“It is one of the only places people can take their road and race cars and bikes, and go as fast as they want without getting a speeding ticket.
“It is amazing how many Burt Munro’s there are that come out of the woodwork, and there are many more.”
The next land speed event at Goudies Road will be held on February 6, 2022.