BURNOUTS, BABES AND BLOWERS – IT’S WHAT SUMMERNATS IS ALL ABOUT! After a few years of uncertainty, Summernats 24 was shaping up really well with increased entries and a lot of positive talk. Crowd figures were reported up a little on last year, which is positive but the real difference was in the cars and quality. There are always great cars there but this being the 3 year cycle we unveiled 9 cars and had the best top 60 ever. I stated before the Elite presentation that the top 20 would be the best ever and would be defined by the cars that missed out. Cars like last years Grand Champion, 2 hot rods that made Meguiars Superstars at MotorEx 2010 and several other top elite cars. Although these cars missed the top 20 the majority embraced the new successful cars.
There were several trends this year from orange / tangerine paint, more streetable cars and several father son teams building cars. There was 3 second generation cars in the top 20, Wayne Gima’s 56 Chev, Aaron Fitzpatrick’s Datsun and Nick Bartrop’s HQ Monaro. This is great for the custom car industry and shows a real coming of age and acceptance.
This is such a huge festival with so many events happening each day. As I’ve already stated the elite cars were awesome, judging going on over 3 days with Peter Fitpatrick’s Trilogy FC Holden taking out top Engine Bay, Custom Paint, Pro Street, Peoples choice and Top Judged car overall. With all that Peter decided to compete in the driving events which he place highly in and took out the Grand Champion Sword as well. From my recollection that is the most successful car ever at Summernats. There were also some other great cars with Sam Caruana unveiling his Cinnamon HJ sedan, taking several trophies, Wayne Grima’s teal and black 56 chev, King Kong Cuda was back along with heaps of new and older cars. The street section was well attended too with A awesome red LJ Torana with a 350 chev taking the top gong.
Another feature event was the increased focus and prize money on the Liqui Moly Burnout Masters. Liqui Moly Oil and Additives have got behind the Burnout and Go Whoa diving events at Summernats where 20 cars qualify throughout the year at events and the top 5 from eliminations at Summernats qualify for the masters. The run offs are Saturday with the 5 finalists closing the Summernats on Sunday. What a shootout with the King Gary Myers claiming the inaugural Burnout Master with an awesome burnout and receiving a $15, 000 cheque.
Summernats will always be about the cars but there were some good stories this year with people going out of their way to make the event. A guy brought 2 cars from Cairns, going 2000 klms out of his way to miss the floods, another guy left Mackay 2 days earlier so he could get through, we unveiled a car where the owner lost his son only 2 days before Christmas, another couple had a mishap on the way down, the battery caught fire, burnt the rear ¼ panel but still made it down and the car made the top 20.
Bernt Karlsson, the spraypainter from Boyd Coddington’s American Hot Rod also visited the Summernats. He had a stand where he was signing posters of the cars he painted at Boyd’s, Hes choice was Wayne Grima’s 56 Chev and Tom Keves bare metal HQ holden. This is the car being built by Chad Ackland the winner of the Troy Trepanier Scholarship, it will be a top car when finished and Bernt could see the potential. He also went for a ride in several cars including Victor Bray’s Burnout machine and said to me this is the greatest car event he has ever attended anywhere in the world and it should be called Summernuts!!
Tuff street was well supported again this year with some real tuff cars, the Supercruise went off well ending with a great fireworks display and then the Angels rocked the place till close. Summernats caters for so many different tribes, it truly is a unique event and hopefully will remain strong for many years to come.
Story: Owen Webb
Photography: John Churchill