Canberra buzzed with the sounds of Summernats 26 over the weekend, the event once again living up to its reputation as Australia’s mecca for lovers of modified automobilia.
Touted as the largest car festival in the southern hemisphere, organisers claim more than 100,000 spectators over the four days, there to ogle 1767 vehicle entries - up 10 and 15 percent respectively over 2012.
The 26th running of the event kicked off on Thursday with the public Citycruise along Canberra’s main drag (Northbourne Avenue), where over 200 unique vehicles attracted an estimated 30,000-strong crowd.
Other traditional events included the Show and Shine on the main arena, Top 60 indoor show, the Burnout Comp, Go-To-Whoa, grass driving events, Horsepower Heroes dyno comp, and the Sound Off car audio competition.
A severe lightning storm forced the cancellation of Saturday evening’s ‘Supercruise’ on the main arena, but stage performances including legendary rock group Rose Tattoo continued once the storm cleared.
One unique event for Summernats 26 was the establishment of a Guinness World Record for ‘the most simultaneous burnouts’.
Guinness representatives stipulated at least 50 vehicles would be needed to warrant a record, but a total of 69 drivers volunteered on the Friday, all simultaneously spinning their tyres for over 30 seconds.
Individually, the best burnout was awarded to Peter Grmusa on the Sunday, with his EVILXA XA Falcon ute earning him the title ‘Burnout Master’ of Summernats 26.
The coveted ‘Grand Champion’ top overall honour went to Mick Fabar with his Zero’d XR Falcon sedan, for his prowess across both show and street criteria.
Fabar’s Falcon was built in conjunction with Bond University to maintain a neutral carbon footprint, using recycled or (somewhat) environmentally-friendly components where possible, and a relatively green 7.3 litre V8 turbodiesel drivetrain - still producing more than 450kW.
Traditionally, Summernats has a reputation for being all about burnouts, V8s and superchargers, but the modern-era event attracts an eclectic mix of cars to rival any car event worldwide.
Summernats 26 hosted entries ranging from a V8-powered FSM Niki, a 400kW Nissan-engined Holden Camira, a twin-turbocharged Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, to restored and original classics, muscle cars, hot rods, and drag cars.
Another sign of the event maturing was the praise from ACT Policing regarding patron behaviour, with no arrests or calls for police intervention recorded - a significant improvement on Summernats’ chequered past.
“The effective working relationship and cooperation between event organisers, police and ACT government directorates had been a significant contributor to the event’s success,” ACT Policing’s Rod Anderson said.
Further fruit of these efforts was recognised recently with Summernats organisers, ACT Government and the Exhibition Park venue signing an agreement to continue hosting the event until at least 2020.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Summernats 27 in January 2014.