ACT News


Summernats 2016: Revs and smoke clouds all-round on super Saturday

It's the smell that first hits you at Summernats, and it was no different on the traditio0nal centrepiece day on Saturday.

Burnt rubber is always in the air, and your eyes soon confirm what your nose knows, with packed stands around the burnout track entirely engulfed in an often multicoloured smoke cloud which Kim Jong-un would be proud to boast about.

Spectators know what they are going to get at the largest car event of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and they keep coming back to Canberra for more as the event nears its 30th year in 2017.

Hayley-Jade Franke, 22, from Liverpool , has attended every year of her life.

"I like the smell - if they make an air freshener that smells like methanol I'd buy it," she said.


Crowds asking for a noisy spin of the tyres from exhibitors along Tuff Street or Main Street were not left disappointed, while the more discerning checked out the usually flawless paintwork and muscled up engines of the Show 'n' Shine area or Top 60 finalists' pavilion.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez said accurate crowd figures were not available until Sunday afternoon, but a combined four-day total of about 100,000 - down from 108,000 last year - was expected.

"There are over 1,800 cars in the venue already and we have two days to go (as of Saturday [morning]), so we are looking like we may go close to that magical 2,000 record this year," he said.

The Sabbagh brothers from Sydney had three cars on show this year, a 1970 Dodge Challenger, 1961 Holden Commodore and a 1969 Corolla "chop-top" convertible.

Abs Saggagh said the four brothers had been attending for about 20 years and it was a highlight of the year.

"Basically just spending time with the boys and the car atmosphere is great, and the weather is always perfect," he said.

Miss Summernats was taken out by a Canberran for the first time in five years, with 20-year-old Amanda Beattie, a second-year animal science student, awarded the title, trophy and sash, among a prize stash which also included two photo shoots and $1000 cash.

"I love cars, I don't know as much about them as I'd like to, but the aim of the game is to take apart an engine and put it back together myself," she said.

"My godfather has always had really nice cars, his 1969 Mustang is my favourite car ever, that's kind of where it started."

Saturday night featured the Supercruise on the main arena, followed by a fireworks spectacular and music from the Hoodoo Gurus.

Mr Lopez said Summernats was a "wild crazy event with a lot of moving parts" but the audience had been well behaved this year.

The event comes to a close on Sunday with the Summernats Grand Champion named at 12.30pm and the finals of the burnout masters from 3.30pm.