ACT News


Summernats City Cruise comes to Canberra

In the improbable event someone ever chooses to make a movie about Friday's Summernats City Cruise through Civic an excellent working title would be "Gone in 300 seconds".

Just over five minutes elapsed before the arrival of the first vehicles at the intersection of Northbourne Avenue and Alinga Streets at 12.10pm and the departure of the last, with the 200 participating vehicles flashing past at a rate of almost 40 cars a minute.

Summernats event control manager Richard Holder said he was not sure why the ACT Policing escort vehicles had set such a cracking pace but that at meetings leading up to the street parade, a high priority had been placed on ensuring normal traffic was disrupted for the minimum possible length of time.

Spectators who had witnessed the 2014 City Cruise, which had 175 vehicles, said the pace was higher this time and the interaction between the people in the cars and the crowds lining the street had been missing.

An ACT Policing spokesman said a "top and tail" escort had been introduced for the first time on Friday with police units bringing up the rear as well as setting the pace.


Nicole and Stephen Gray, of Ngunnawal, were among the hundreds of Canberrans who had turned out to line Northbourne Avenue for the event.

They had seen the police and SES crews setting up the barriers earlier in the day and decided to bring their three-and-a-half year old son, Oliver, along for his view of Summernats.

"It [the City Cruise] was definitely faster than it usually is," Mrs Gray said. "It was very hard to take photos; I'll have to check and see if mine have come out blurry."

Mr Gray, who remembers the "unofficial" super cruises up and down Northbourne 20 years ago, said this year's event had been a far cry from them.

"You don't see people doing burnouts in the street anymore," he said.

Monash resident and modified car enthusiast Joey Pargalli said this year's City Cruise had been super quick.

"The parade was certainly fast," he said. "It looks as if they [the police] were concerned about how long the streets were going to be closed for."

The Ford enthusiast, who plans to take his XR6 to Summernats in 2016, admitted to being a little disappointed.

"It [the City Cruise] was good to see but it would be better if it was slower so you had more time to look at the cars," he said.

Asked why he hadn't taken the XR6 to this year's Summernats, Mr Pargalli said "I will be there next year; we got married this year and couldn't afford to do both."

His wife, Keira, said the couple's favourite City Cruise car had been a heavily modified XD Falcon with a Mad Max-style blower sticking out of the bonnet. "It made a lot of noise," she said.

Their son, Jayden, said the experience had been awesome.

Despite the concerns over the speed of the parade, Summernat's Mr Holder said it had been a success and well supported by the entrants.

"We've had no complaints so far [from drivers].The annual Shannons City Cruise is proof that for at least four days of the year Canberra is more than just politicians, art galleries, museums, flower festivals and public service excitement," he said.

This year's city cruise was the third in the modern history of the event and takes the place of the unofficial "super cruises" that attracted police attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"It is intended to help the event engage with the city population," Mr Holder said. "The Supercruise still takes place but it is an off-street event in the main arena."

Saturday Summernats highlights:

  • 8.30am - Gates Open
  • 1pm - Burnout Championship Eliminations
  • 2pm - Miss Summernats Finals
  • 3pm - Body Ink Competition