28 October 2020

Has Sydney carjacked our Summernats?

| Dominic Giannini
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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 territory.

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

Next year, however, organisers will shift gears, moving the festival of fuel to the Sydney Dragway from 8 to 10 January.

READ ALSO Kicking off the New Year in top gear – Summernats in 2020

The scaled-down COVID-safe event is expected to attract just 15,000 revheads across the three days and generate between $4 million and $5 million.

Summernats organiser Andy Lopez said current restrictions on large events meant the Territory would lose about $25 million worth of economic activity from the postponement of Summernats 34.

However, he moved to reassure fans another version of the event would return to Canberra on 5 to 7 March as Summernats Rev Rock and Roll, and would return in full as Summernats 34 in 2022.

OPINION Time for Summernats to change gears again, or go

The Rev Rock and Roll event will include the Burnout Masters Grand Final, cruising, show and shine, dyno, a retail expo, unveils and an elite show.

“Canberra is the spiritual home of Summernats and Exhibition Park is the perfect location for the marquee festival,” Mr Lopez told Region Media.

“The Sydney event is a new event in our calendar but it is not the full bells and whistles Summernats. What we have done is create two brand new events that are purpose-built to fit within the COVID-19 guidelines.

“Our absolute priority is to bring Summernats back to Canberra next year and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

READ ALSO If we’re really a community, tolerate Summernats

Attendees can expect some new events at the Sydney show, including the use of an international drag strip for straight-line racing – something Mr Lopez wants to bring to Canberra in the future.

The smaller event will be welcomed by many Canberrans, who may see it as a first step to cancelling the event entirely.

The noise, smoke and increase in colourful characters in the capital have been a constant source of debate since the event began more than three decades ago.

ACT Policing issued 180 traffic infringements across the 2020 Summernats weekend, including to four drivers caught going more than 45 km/h above the speed limit. One driver from NSW lost his vehicle for 90 days after he performed a burnout in front of police in Braddon during Summernats.

For more information on the new events, or to book tickets, visit Summernats.

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I have not been to the Summernats for a few years now. Maybe I grew out of it.
However I am disappointed that it cannot go ahead as it brings a lot of joy to a lot of people as well as a lot of money into our region.

Same with our lack of a drag way. Personally seeing two cars go down a track side by side does not appeal to me one bit but a lot of people get enjoyment out of it.

If we had a drag way we could have had the festival of fuel to make up some of the loss.

As much as the noise, disruption and burnout smoke is trying for nearby residents, it does bring money and something different to the city that shakes off our staid, dull stereotype. Best would be if they did the drag racing and burnout stuff somewhere else further away eg Sutton Rd? but still had the show/festival at EPIC

Just moved here are are really bummed about it not going ahead. Went last year and was the best. I hope the smaller events later on work out and it doesn’t encourage a smaller one next year .

bev hutchinson7:26 am 29 Oct 20

Who would be surprised if the Nats moved on? The Canberra government hampered car movements and even the ability to watch burnouts etc to the point where it wasn’t worth attending. It’s a great boost for the community financially, doesn’t cost much and gives people a reason to visit Canberra.

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