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Fans back to worship at church of Summernats

Date

Stephanie Anderson

Summernats 26 starts with vehicle scrutineering at EPIC. Click for more photos

Summernats rolls into town

Canberra Times photographer Graham Tidy joined Summernats scrutineering on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Tidy

Summernats may not be listed as a religion, but Rodney Phillips' annual trip to Canberra has the fervour of a pilgrimage.

The 37-year-old Sydneysider was among the throng of enthusiasts who rolled into the capital on Wednesday before the long weekend of burning rubber and gleaming metal.

Mr Phillips has only missed one weekend since the festival began in 1988, having been drawn into the world of street machines that he now describes as his family's "church".


View Summernats City Cruise in a larger map

"It's just part of my life," he said.

"It's great to see the different cars, the designs and the hard work that a lot of guys put in. We've already booked our cabin for next year."

With his wife Belinda and two-year-old daughter Breanna also avid attendees, Mr Phillips said it was promising that the event had become increasingly family-oriented over the past few decades.

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"People think people with cars are hoons, but they're not," he said,

"They're enthusiasts. It's a real community."

The family took part in the scrutineering process on Wednesday, entering their 1955 Vauxhall Velox. Nicknamed Chitty, the car was a joint project between Mr Phillips and his brother, who also did the airbrushing of pin-up girls on the front and back of the vehicle.

Summernats 26 starts with vehicle scrutineering at EPIC. An entry, a 1955 Vauxhall Velox with air brushing on the bonnet.

Summernats 26 starts with vehicle scrutineering at EPIC. An entry, a 1955 Vauxhall Velox with air brushing on the bonnet. Photo: Graham Tidy

"It's a very expensive hobby, but you don't take much notice of the money you put in because it's a passion," he said. The annual festival will continue to feature the Miss Summernats competition, but the previous plethora of scantily clad entertainers has all but disappeared as organisers ditch the Saturday night strip show.

It is part of a move towards a more family-oriented festival, says Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez.

Up to 90,000 people are expected to walk through the gates over the coming days, and Mr Lopez says competitor numbers are also up from last year to an expected 1700.

The four-day event officially kicks off on Thursday with the traditional ''City Cruise'' along Northbourne Avenue, before competitions and performances by the likes of Rose Tattoo over the weekend.

4 comments

  • Of course its a religion, just because it does not have the blessing of the Watsonites etc, the pushie, pot plant and painting lobbies does not mean it is not someones life and their pride and joy.

    Commenter
    OLD DOG
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    January 03, 2013, 12:47PM
    • AFL is recognised as a religion, why not the unique car groovies.
      If the moaners and groaners took the time to study the average age, the family involvement, the hours and hours of labour and the $$$'s that went into this sport and it is they may take a different veiw.
      The majority of trouble makers are ten foot tall and bullet proof kids who have brought their bangers and have no conception of what its really about, I know I have seen it year in year out at the Summernats.

      Commenter
      Nitro Gangster
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      January 03, 2013, 2:28PM
      • YAY about time it came back :) Summernats all the way we have lost to much in Canberra because of snobby Pollies and sookie old farts. We need this sort of event in Canberra to keep people keen to come and visit. Well Done Andy Lopez

        Commenter
        TYPICAL
        Location
        belconnen
        Date and time
        January 03, 2013, 2:31PM
        • SUMMERNAT SONNET - Tim Grace Each year they arrive in seasonal swarms, They work in car-size packs of four or five: One driver, one chick, and his social norms: Leadfoot Larry, Sheila, Kevin and Clive. They stand over engines, argue the make, They ogle the curves with reference to style, They kick the rubber and burn out a brake; Allude to perfection with a wry smile. It's a Rev' Head's pilgrimage - 'Summernats', It's a week away from the girls at home; A petrol fuelled assemblage of cool cats, A homage to new 'tats' and polished chrome, Driven by the piston, the muffler's grunt, It's all about horsepower, and what's up front.

          Commenter
          gracetg
          Date and time
          January 03, 2013, 7:51PM
          Comments are now closed

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