Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) is a sort of folk hero in his hometown for his friendly and charming personality and for being featured in Popular Mechanics magazine (May 1957 p6) for having the fastest motorcycle in Australia and New Zealand. However, that recognition is contrasted by his exasperated neighbours, who are fed up with his un-neighbourly habits such as urinating on his lemon tree every morning, neglecting his garden, and, most of all, waking up before sunrise to rev his bike’s very loud engine.

Burt travels by cargo ship to the USA to participate in the Bonneville Speed Week, his longtime dream. When Burt arrives in Los Angeles, he experiences bureaucracy, skepticism and the coldness of big city people. It is his blunt but gregarious nature which overcomes each hurdle. He wins over the hardened motel clerk, a transgenderwoman named Tina, who assists him in clearing customs and helps him in buying a car. The car salesman allows Burt to use his shop to make a trailer and later offers him a job after Burt fixes most of the cars on the lot. Burt declines the offer, however, and shortly afterwards begins his long trip to Utah.

Along the way, Burt meets many people, including a Native American who aids him when his trailer fails, a woman named Ada who helps him repair his trailer and briefly becomes his lover, and an Air Force pilot who is on a leave from his military service in Vietnam.

He finally arrives at the Bonneville Salt Flats, only to be turned away by race officials for not registering his bike for competition in advance. In a show of sportsmanship, however, various competitors in the Bonneville series intervene on his behalf, and he is eventually allowed to make a timed run. In the 8th mile, he achieves 201.851mph then falls with the bike and skids to a stop. His leg is burned by the exhaust, yet he succeeds in his quest and sets a new land speed record.

Comment Source: Wikipedia.com