Friday, November 7, 2008

What Can We Learn From "the World's Fastest Indian"?

Short entry today, but I’m a sucker for inspirational stories that feature odd-ball characters that tend to beat the odds just out of sheer determination and force of will. A few years back a movie was made to celebrate such a person, and of course, because of its tie-in to my favorite motorcycle in the world, I had to watch this. Somehow I hadn’t heard about this being originally released, but when I was in the library, I saw the title, read the back cover, and decided that I had to see this!

In The World’s Fastest Indian, we see the story of Burt Munro, a man in his mid sixties at the time from Invercargill, New Zealand. The story is set in the mid 1960’s, and is based around Burt’s continuous tinkering and improving his 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle to get leaner and go faster. Watching how he works, how he lives, and how he keeps at his goal, no matter what happens, is definitely an inspiration.

What I loved about this story was the fact that Bert faced opposition from just about everyone, yet he kept at it and received occasionally begrudging, and occasionally heartfelt, acceptance of his efforts. Watching him get from New Zealand across the ocean, and then from Long Beach to Bonneville Raceway was certainly an adventure, and a testament to a man’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. Here was an example of a man who made deals where he could, traded his services for help and accommodations, and stood strong to try to do what he felt he needed to do when everyone else thought he was nuts. Frankly, we need more stories like this, stories that prove that the can-do spirit is still alive and well in people (part of me would love to see what Burt Munro would be like today and with the nature of the motorcycle industry as it exists now; Burt died in 1978).

For more about Burt, check out his Wikipedia page HERE (caveat lector wiki, of course :) ), and about the movie The World’s Fastest Indian HERE (again, caveat lector wiki).

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