ACT News

With the launch of Summernats 2016 imminent the action at EPIC is 'in tents'

For many Summernats diehards the only way to experience the shock and awe of Canberra's biggest roadshow is under canvas.

And, thanks to the efforts of a highly experienced team of happy campers, their accommodation is ready and waiting for the gates to open to the public at 11am on Thursday.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez and camping manager Tracy Kennedy at tent city with a 1928 Ford roadster for company.
Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez and camping manager Tracy Kennedy at tent city with a 1928 Ford roadster for company. Photo: Melissa Adams

Summernats camping manager Tracy Kennedy, a Canberra real estate property manager for the rest of the year, said 51 two-person tents and 25 four-person tents had already been erected as part of the annual tent city complex.

More than 200 enthusiasts, the majority of whom are season ticket holders with no plans to leave the site for the duration, will have the luxury of "glamping" in pre-erected, fully furnished and surprisingly comfortable accommodations.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez and camping manager Tracy Kennedy admire a 1928 Ford roadster.
Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez and camping manager Tracy Kennedy admire a 1928 Ford roadster. Photo: Melissa Adams

"People love it because they don't have to bring their own camping equipment; everything, including stretcher beds, is provided," Ms Kennedy said. "They just park the car and it is all set up."

The creation of the tent city is just one part of the intense preparations for the event which is expected to attract more than 2000 cars, about 110,000 visitors and inject more than $20 million into the ACT economy between now and Sunday night.

Advertisement

With cars arriving in the city as early as Tuesday, there was no shortage of contenders for what is expected to be the largest, and most spectacular, City Cruise to date.

A legal tribute to the rebellious "drive-by hootings" of days of yore, Thursday's cruise will feature at least 300 cars.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez said some truly awesome machinery, including "big, bad, blown beasts", would be growling and burbling down Northbourne Avenue and into Civic just after midday.

Non-street legal cars are able to take part for the first time thanks to special permits made available by the ACT government.

A Tasmanian car will be that state's first representative in a city cruise this year.

Mr Lopez said interstate interest had received a boost from the first ever Red Centre Nats in Alice Springs last year.

Entries from Western Australia and the Northern Territory were well up, he said.

Ms Kennedy said the camaraderie among regular campers and visitors played a big part in the event's success.

"It is a once in a year chance to catch up with good mates even though people who have been camping next to each other for years still might not know each other's real names," she said.

Family, especially the number of fathers bringing their sons, was also a big part of an event that had matured considerably since its early days when illegal street cruises, bare breasts and politically incorrect behaviour made headlines.

Ms Kennedy said her involvement, which dates back 15 years to Summernats 15, had made a lasting impression on family and friends.

"My daughter, who is now 22, has grown up with this event," she said.

"There was no way her first car was going to be a four cylinder hatchback. It was a Nissan Skyline. Now she has graduated to a V8."

Mr Lopez said while the weather had been colder and wetter than normal earlier in the week the outlook for the weekend, when the burnout track needs to be slick but dry for maximum effect, was good. Predicted top temperatures for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are 29, 32 and 33 degrees respectively.

Daily highlights include the last chance shootout for wildcard burnout entries at 4pm on Thursday, the horsepower heroes shootout from 9am on Friday and the body ink competition from 3pm on Saturday followed by the burnout masters qualifiers at 4pm and the Hoodoo Gurus on the main stage at 9.30pm.

Sunday, as always, is the big one with the Summernats Grand Champion named at 12.30pm and the finals of the burnout masters from 3.30pm.