Tram Road Speed Trials


NZ motorcycle speed record holder Russell Wright gained the World Land Speed Record at Swannanoa reaching 184.83 m.p.h. on a Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle on 2 July 1955, on the Tram Road. A plaque unveiled in 1975 near the Browns Road intersection has been built to commemorate the achievement.

Bob Burns with a sidecar, also set a World Land Speed Record of 162 miles per hour on the same day.

Burt Munro also did speed trials on this section of the road. His Canterbury records with his Munro Special Indian are:
Flying half-mile, Road, Unlimited Class, 99.45 mph. 27/1/1940.
Flying half-mile, Road, Open Class, 120.8 mph. 27/1/1940.
Flying half-mile, 750 cc Class, 143.6 mph. 13/4/1957.
The South Eyre Road near “Claxby” has also been used for car and motorcycle speed trials.

Tram Road, the main road through Swannanoa, is an almost dead-straight, ten-mile-long public two-lane highway. It has proven a popular location for speed trial events.

These World Records are unusual as most that were officially recognised were achieved in the USA where presumably more financial incentives and space existed.