AGROUP of New Zealanders dubbed Kiwi Carnage came to share in the Summernats 30 experience and went away with a ton of great memories, new mates, and a collective desire to give the burnout scene across the Tasman a good kick in the pants.
“New Zealand tends to get forgotten about when it comes to doing burnouts, but these guys here have got too much talent for us not to come here and show that we can do it as well,” said Liz Gracie, who did a lot of the heavy lifting to pull this team together and get them and their vehicles across the water.
Their 40-strong crew of family and friends were camped around five killer burnout cars – Liz and husband Ryan’s EVIL 69 Camaro, Shane ‘Arnie’ Donaldson’s LO LIFE chopped XC ute, Ian ‘Sambo’ Smith’s SAMBO FD RX-7, Ricky and Jenn Ireland’s ENVEED HZ ute, and Braden Smith’s HAUNT U VF Commodore.
“Everyone in Australia has been so supportive, especially other burnout guys, they’ve just been f**kin’ unreal,” Liz said. “Even to the point where they’re offering us tips. You wouldn’t expect that, because at the end of the day we did come over to compete. Not that we were coming here expecting to win, we just had the desire to rub shoulders.”
While none of the Kiwi cars made it through Thursday’s Last Chance Shootout, and a couple of them wore dings after smacking the pad wall – they don’t have concrete barriers back in New Zealand, bro – nothing could dampen spirits in their camp.
“I haven’t met a bad Australian yet,” Arnie said. “I think it even took five days of being here before I had to congratulate someone on a sheep-shagging joke, so it’s been pretty special!”
Ricky reckoned the trip was bucket-list material for all of them.
“We’ve been to Summernats before but we never thought we’d have our car here,” he said.
“The atmosphere alone, you just can’t replicate it. Just being here is great, so having a car here is just top-notch. We’re happy-as.”
Sambo concurred, saying that getting the chance to stomp on it at Summernats fulfilled all his dreams.
“Ever since I was a kid, Summernats has been where it’s at. If I drop dead after this weekend, I’ll die very happy. Otherwise I’ll be going home and saying, ‘Guys, if you want to compete over there you’d better step it up!’”
This group of pioneering Kiwis left Summernats with their heads held high and their brains full of knowledge and fresh inspiration.
“We’re probably 10 years behind, and the level of driving over here is tenfold what we’ve got,” said Braden. “But build it and they will come – I guess that’s our mentality heading home. We’ve got five pretty serious machines here, so the rest of New Zealand has got to step up.”