STREET Machine Summernats 29 was a massive event and we had a swell time.
We cruised, took a stack of great photos, chewed the fat with enthusiasts from far and wide created a bunch of cool video content – which you can check out at streetmachine.com.au.
But even as we drove out of the gates on Sunday night, we were thinking about the next one, the big 30. This year saw 1952 entrants pour through the door and event organiser Andy Lopez and the boys reckon they should top 2000 for 2017. Not that they necessarily want to get much bigger. “2000 is towards the top end of how many entrants we can comfortably handle,” he told me over a post-event slushie. And he reckons the crew are cooking up some big ideas to celebrate the momentous anniversary.
“For starters, we’d like to have another crack at the burnout world record,” he said. “There have been some attempts to beat our 103-car record overseas, but none have been verified by Guinness. Even so, we’re not going to rest on our laurels. We are thinking of adding another space in addition to the burnout pad and get some really big numbers, over 200.
“We’ll also crank up the music program. We can’t say exactly who it is just yet, but we are talking two really big names.”
Also on Andy’s mind was how to improve the running of what is probably the signature feature of the event – the cruising down Tuff Street. There isn’t another car event in the world that allows so many super-tough cars to strut their stuff in such close quarters to their adoring fans, giving Summernats its unique vibe. At the same time, it creates a unique set of safety and security problems for the organisers.
“We’re looking at ways we can let the drivers have some more fun on the cruise route, without making it unsafe. That might mean more fencing down Tuff Street, so the crowd can be close to the cars, but not able to touch them or get on the road.”
Another feature of Summernats 30 will be a celebration of the event’s heritage. “We’ve got a few ideas,” Andy said. “One thing we’d like to do is get as many Grand Champion-winning cars and car owners as possible for a display.”
Sounds good to us! For mine, I’d love to see a display of historic street machines in general. A mix of well-preserved time capsules (think Graham Cowley’s HR ute or Howard Bell’s SL/R 8000), famous cars that have evolved over the years (the Gary/Jake Myers Mustang) and even iconic builds that have suffered the slings and arrows of age (think Alan Cooper’s BLOBAK). They wouldn’t all have to be rides from the dawn of time either – it would be great to see cars like Anthony Sant’s ’57 or the Zelukovic Studebaker. If we can’t make it happen this year, it might be something for when Street Machine turns 40 in 2021.
One thing our Scotty is passionate about is getting more stout cars into the dyno cell to have a lash at Horsepower Heroes. “I talked to quite a few guys with tough cars – making 900 or 1000rwhp – who said they didn’t want to enter because they think they don’t have a chance at winning. I can’t believe that!” Scotty exclaimed. “For starters, anything can happen in Horsepower Heroes. It only takes one problem for a guy like Jake Edwards to be out of the running. Why not have a go?”
One way to lure more toughies to the dyno could be to make a dyno pull compulsory for entrants in, say, Best Overall Tuff Street, with the results on the rollers contributing to the finals points. It sure would liven up the competition!
No doubt plenty of Street Machine readers will have their own thoughts on how to improve the world’s greatest car event – drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. s