THERE is nothing on earth like the Street Machine Summernats to start the year with a bang, and this year’s event was a cracker. The centrepiece the new Skid Row concept, which promised to allow entrant vehicles a place to lay rubber along the cruise route with sweet abandon. And that promise was delivered in spades from the very first skid on Thursday. The entrants embraced it immediately. Some thought that the hardcore burnout crowd would stay away in favour of preserving their engines and tyres for competition, but this did not prove to be the case. Instead, the skid kids turned out in droves, splitting eardrums and treating the fans to an outlandish, up-close-and-personal show – an automotive lap dance, if you will.
And more importantly, Skid Row provided a venue for owners of tough-but-nice street cars to strut their stuff, while not subjecting them to the full brutality of the Summernats burnout pad. It was awesome to see these killer cars stretch their legs, without the pressure to blow their tyres or push their engines to breaking point.
Skid Row was just one of the many innovations at this year’s ’Nats, along with the first fully fledged Mullet Competition (so much fun), drift demos and rides (bloody awesome), and the Turbo Versus Blower Shootout in the MPW Dyno Cell (totally insane).
We entered two cars in the event this year, with Scotty road-tripping to Canberra in the Mr Dodgey Phoenix and me in the Turbo Taxi Falcon. With temps nudging 40 degrees, I was glad to be in the air-conditioned luxury of the Taxi. Both cars shook their booties on Skid Row and Scotty gave the Go-to-Whoa a shake in the Taxi. The Dodge was even used to give a just-married couple an exclusive tour of the ’Nats.
On the way home, I learned that LPGequipped Falcons can suffer stage fright at the servo pump when things get really warm. I spent a thrilling few hours at various servos in the Albury-Wodonga area trying to fill up. Even so, I think I got off lightly, with Scotty suffering in his jocks in the heat and battling various gremlins in the Dodge on the way home. I think we’ll be knocking up one of those MacGyver-style air-conditioning units out of an Esky and a 12-volt fan before our next road trip!
You can check out a good taste of the Summernats action on page 68. We’ve got heaps of action and car features from the event at whichcar.com.au/streetmachine. And if that isn’t enough, keep your eyes peeled for the all-new Street Machine Summernats Cop you later! 32 s mag, on sale 14 February.