18 December 2020

2020 Year in Review: Motoring

| Kim Treasure
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From Mustangs to Kombis, we had plenty of stories to get your motor revving in 2020. Take a spin down memory lane as we rewind the top motoring stories of the year.

10. Herd of Mustangs take tourist spending back to Braidwood

A convoy of Mustangs in Braidwood.

A convoy of Mustangs came to town in Braidwood. Photo: Peter Norton.

A herd of Mustangs brought smiles to the faces of many people in Braidwood when a car cruise headed to the bushfire-ravaged town in early 2020. They were among many locals reaching out to help businesses and communities hit hard by the fires.

9. Webber’s homecoming gives hope to young racers

Mark Webber with ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry at opening of Circuit Mark Webber extension.

Mark Webber opening the new Circuit Mark Webber extension with ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry. Photo: Peter Norton.

Hometown hero Mark Webber returned to the nation’s capital to open a new track extension at Canberra Kart Racing Club named in his honour.

At the track, which is now named Circuit Mark Webber, where he began his racing career 30 years ago, the Queanbeyan-born racing driver said the new 1.1km stretch – which was only 400m long when he started – has made the circuit in Pialligo a fantastic place for kids to start their karting careers.

8. ACT to lead electric vehicle trial to drive power into the grid

Line-up of Nissan Leaf vehicles.

The Nissan Leaf bi-directional vehicles that will be purchased by the ACT Government. Photo: Supplied.

In a world first, the ACT is trialling how electric vehicles can improve energy resilience during peak demand times by providing power from their batteries back into the grid.

The $6.6 million Realising Electric Vehicle-to-grid Services (REVS) project is in partnership with organisations across the electricity and transport supply chains.

The trial saw the ACT Government purchase 50 new Nissan Leaf bi-directional vehicles.

7. If you like cars, Canberra’s just the place for you

Licence plate on red Triumph.

Historic Vehicle registration in the ACT is administered by the Council of ACT Motor Clubs. Photo: Supplied.

Registration reform made it easier and cheaper to put classic and modified cars on the road in 2020. James Coleman unpacked what the changes mean.

6. How you can satisfy your need for speed without breaking the law

Cars racing at Wakefield Park Raceway.

A track day at Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn. Photo: Supplied.

If you’ve got the need for speed, there are places in the capital region where you can test your skills and your car, and put the pedal to the metal – without falling foul of the law. James Coleman lays out your options.

5. Rideshare drivers secure amendments that allow them to touch their mobiles

John Burge standing with Uber vehicle.

One of Canberra’s first Uber drivers, John Burge, has pushed for upgrades to laws for rideshare drivers. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Until December 2019, the ACT’s rideshare drivers risked hefty fines for touching their mobile phones while driving. But one of Canberra’s first rideshare drivers, John Burge, was behind the push for amendments to legislation that now allows drivers to use their mobile device as a driver’s aid – for example, a dispatch system – while the vehicle is moving.

4. A day in the life of a Canberra Tesla owner

Tesla vehicle at charging station.

A Tesla electric vehicle getting a top-up at Majura Park. Photo: Supplied.

James Coleman made the mistake of having a dig at electric vehicles. Tesla owners then set him straight, dispelling five myths about EVs. He might even become a convert to the future of motoring.

3. A priceless Goulburn icon: The story of Kev’s Kombi

Kevin Thompson standing in front of VW Kombi.

Kevin Thompson, from Goulburn, stands in front of his pride and joy: a 1973 two-tonne VW Kombi. Photo: Supplied.

Early model VW Kombi vans in good nick can fetch $150,000 to $200,000 at auctions these days. However, for Goulburn’s Kevin Thompson, his beloved 1973 two-tone Kombi is priceless.

His interest in Kombis stems from his brother-in-law, Allan Apps, a VW mechanic who collected old Kombis and helped Kev restore the rusty, stripped out, former builder’s van.

2. Has Sydney carjacked our Summernats?

Black ute doing burnout at Summernats.

Summernats will be back in 2021, but with a very different look. Photo: Peter Norton.

Love it or hate it, Summernats is usually big business for the ACT.

During a quiet time in the nation’s capital, the event brings 100,000 people and $30 million to the territory.

However, in 2021, organisers will shift gears, moving the festival of fuel to Sydney Dragway from 8 to 10 January.

1. Auction of hail-damaged cars offers bargains but do your research

Yard full of hail-damaged cars.

Hundreds of hail-damaged cars in a Hume holding yard. Photo: Supplied.

Auctions of Canberra’s hail-damaged vehicles offered potential bargains to buyers unconcerned about dimpled bodywork.

But excitement at the prospect of a cheap car needed to be tempered with the knowledge that there were conditions and restrictions compared to buying an undamaged vehicle.

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