TWENTY-three years is a long time for an annual event to continue. Talking to spectators and entrants around the pits and in the grandstands at this year’s Street Machine Supernats, many claim to have been coming to the event since they were kids; no doubt a few readers of this fine magazine weren’t even born when the first Supernats was held way back in 1994!
The performance car show landscape has grown and changed a lot over the ensuing two decades, with greater competition for punters’ attention, but Supernats has retained an enthusiastic and loyal core audience – no small feat.
For 2017, hundreds of entrant vehicles poured through the gates of Sydney Motorsport Park circuit from early morning, including many familiar number plates. With them came spectators keen to see the inevitable tyre destruction that was to ensue.
For the uninitiated, Supernats was one of the first car shows that placed a real emphasis on the driving experience for entrants, with a range of on-track activities for drivers including street-style racing, go-whoa and, of course, burnouts.
Most of the entrants we spoke to during the oneday event – including guys there to compete in the
Top Gun Pro Burnout competition – cited the cruise sessions as their favourite element of Supernats. It’s a time when drivers get to cut loose a little (sometimes a lot) with some impromptu drifting around corners and rolling burnouts down SMP’s main straight, past the spectators in the grandstands. For dyed-in-thewool car guys, the ability to do something like that can often be the realisation of a childhood dream.
Sydney bloke Danny Younis has been attending Supernats since he was young, and more recently entering with his mental gunmetal grey Capri, FUKYEA. “This is my third Supernats since I finished the Capri,” he says. “I actually debuted the car here three years ago.
But the cruising would definitely be my favourite part of the show – cruising and drifting around the track with my mates.”
Danny’s mates include Adam Ursino with the matching-colour Datto ute, FUKDAT. The pair entered the street racing event, but instead ripped tandem powerskids down the straight.
“I was only getting about a lap and a half to two laps out of a set of tyres. I went through about 120 litres of fuel over the course of the day,” Danny says.
One thing that was universal among the owners of the big-power cars and burnout competitors was the amount of preparation involved for an event like this. Winner of this year’s Top Gun Pro burnouts, Jake Myers with the S1CKO Mustang, says there’s a significant lead-up to each skid comp. “Dad [Gary Myers, 2017 SMOTY winner with his AGROXA Falcon] builds the engines and does most of the maintenance on both cars, but I fly home from Melbourne every few weekends and help out,” Jake says.
Craig Craft, owner of the HJ Holden ute SIKEST, placed second in the Pro category, which was a great effort considering it was
only the ute’s fourth burnout event. He agrees that there’s plenty of preparation that goes into making it to the show.
“I get a few mates over and we go over the car in the week before an event,” Craig says.
For the competitors in the burnout classes, there is often mechanical and cosmetic damage to repair later, too.
Craig ended up bending both rear quarters when the rear end got too low with popped tyres. Regardless, he says he enjoyed the day and will use his winnings to repair the panels so the ute can fight another day.
“The best part for me is the cruising,” he says. “When you build cars like this, you don’t really get to use them that much. This was my third Supernats and I ended up going through eight tyres – four on the cruise sessions and four in the burnouts.”
No Supernats would be complete without a demo burnout by event organiser and all-round skid nut Ahmet Sehirligil. Piloting his infamous HD ute, torso out the driver’s window, smoke pouring off the rear treads and rousing ever-greater applause, it is probably one of the defining images of Supernats and its long history. s STREET MACHINE 101