THE 2017 Summernats Burnout Masters promised to be the toughest skid fest Australia had ever seen – and rightly so. It’s supposed to be the best of the best, where anything less than perfection won’t cut it.
It was a long, hard road to even make it to the final, particularly if you were one of the 24 combatants battling it out on Thursday afternoon in the Last Chance Wildcard Shootout for one of only four spots remaining in the Masters comp. In the end, Nathan Sutherland in his blown LS-powered Commodore, Craig Whiddett in his new blown LS car MUTINY, Jono Kelly’s VK Commodore, and Summernats debutant Sam Surace’s blown and injected 408ci Ford-powered Capri scored the last four prized Masters golden tickets.
Saturday was when things got serious – a 27-way shootout that would see just 10 cars move on to Sunday’s battle for the $15,000 first-place prize. With such a killer field – 24 supercharged cars all making at least 800 neddies and three hard-revving aspirated combos – the action was insane.
And then there were 10 – Sunday afternoon had arrived and 10 of the most ballistic burnout beasts in the country were set to battle it out for the title of Burnout Master.
Darren Bromage from Victoria opened the show is his killer WB ute, SMOKINU, with a fresh blown 400ci combination from Adicted [sic] Performance in Victoria. It was a faultless skid that started with a huge smoke show as Darren steered it over the entire pad.
Craig Whiddett had his big WM Statesman ripping off helis in the tight confines of the narrow part of the track, the blown and injected 410ci singing its heart out. It didn’t take long to bang the bags, but while his skid was good, it was going to take more to taste victory.
And more the crowd got, as Steve Nogas launched the thundering Chevy-powered KILLA-B Camaro towards the pad, towing a mountain of blue smoke. It was a brilliant driving display and Nogas covered every inch of the pad, timing the double-rear-tyre explosion to perfection after returning from a heli down near the startline. His burnout was truly Masters-worthy and launched him straight into first place.
But there were plenty of big hitters still to come, and crowd favourite Andrew Lynch had produced the performance of the weekend in the eliminations.
Sure enough, for his finals tilt Lynchy produced the best burnout of his career – some say the best burnout they have ever seen – with a simply awesome driving display.
It’s unlikely that anyone has ever steered a wilder ride at Summernats, but with driving skill just 40 per cent of the total points awarded, he had to make up on a whole bunch of smoke on the blown cars.
Victorian Rick Fuller claimed the supercharged LS1 in his GM Motorsport-sponsored VK had a bog-stock bottomend, which had spectators shaking their head in amazement after he produced a faultless burnout with huge revs and bulk smoke. Ultimately he snared third place, another prize to add to his huge collection.
The mechanically injected dry-sumped small-block Chev in Leigh MacKenzie’s 1982 HiLux would have looked more at home in a sprint car, but once the hammer dropped all doubts stopped – the screaming ’Lux grabbed second place at the eleventh hour.
But once the smoke finally cleared it was Steve Nogas who stole the show, claiming the title of the best of the best – with a $15,000 wad of folding to boot!
1ST – STEVE NOGAS – 2011 CHEVROLET CAMARO 2ND – LEIGH MACKENZIE – 1982 TOYOTA HILUX UTE 3RD – RICK FULLER – 1985 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4TH – ANDREW LYNCH – 1981 TOYOTA KE55 COROLLA 5TH – COLIN BYRNE – 1986 HOLDEN SHUTTLE VAN 6TH – ANDREW POOL – 1979 HOLDEN COMMODORE 7TH – DARREN BROMAGE – 1976 HOLDEN WB ONE-TONNER 8TH – DOMENIC LUCI – 1978 HOLDEN HZ KINGSWOOD 9TH – CRAIG WHIDDETT – 2009 HOLDEN COMMODORE 10TH – MATTHEW COWAN – 1974 HOLDEN TORANA