Springnats 25

A QUARTER-CENTURY OF TYRE-TORCHING GOOD TIMES

STORY STEVE TITCUMB PHOTOS STEVE TITCUMB & TAMARA JANE PHOTOGRAPHY

SINCE it began in 1992, Shepparton’s Springnats has evolved from a one-day event into a three-day, action-packed automotive carnival.

Despite newer additions to the event like the EJ-EH Nationals, Springnats remains true to the old-school, with burnouts and all the best-loved driving events.

The 2017 25th anniversary event was particularly family-friendly. The site, in the refurbished Shepparton Showgrounds, included an awesome sideshow alley with a Ferris wheel and dodgem cars (where burnouts are not encouraged).

Burnouts were most certainly encouraged during Friday’s Expression Session, though. With no pressure of competition, it offered plenty of practice-and-play time for anyone wanting to start off their weekend by smashing a set of tyres.

It was in Saturday’s qualifying burnouts that things got serious. The hot humid weather had cooling systems pushed to their limits and beyond, so there was plenty of carnage. Rick Fuller in the LSONE Commodore was on a mission until a head gasket let go, while Craig Johnson’s DEFCTV panel van threw rods out of its LS1.

That became a bit of a theme; John Taverna Jr’s weekend also came to an abrupt end when the new big-block Chev in his Falcon threw a rod.

Sunday’s finals saw ominous dark clouds roll in and soon rain had soaked the pad, causing endless limiter bashing from LS-powered Commodores that were finally able to hold top gear. Once the rain cleared, the next few finals competitors soon had the pad dry, and the party continued.

Most importantly though, the 2017 Springnats saw its first-ever wedding, with Mario and Nat Montalto getting hitched out on the burnout pad. Congrats!