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CARnage at Summernats

By johnboy - 8 January 2006 91

The Daily Telegraph has got a story about trouble at Summernats last night.

FIVE people, including a five-year-old boy, were injured when a stunt driver crashed into a crowd at a car rally in Canberra last night.

No, not Lawrence Legend gone astray (as everyone first assumes on seeing the headline) but some sort of bizarre mishap in the super cruise (grand parade).

Any witnesses in the readership want to clear up what happened?

FURTHER UPDATE: JR has sent in a pic of the Summernats Plus aka Braddon on Saturday night, full of ACT number plates.

Braddon by night during Summernats

What’s Your opinion?

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91 Responses to
CARnage at Summernats
colsim 10:11 am 09 Jan 06

I’ve been a bit disappointed with Summernats this year to be honest, I’m not a car culture type personally but I appreciate the effort and passion that people do put in. But the times I’ve taken a stroll down Lonsdale St this weekend there has been sfa in the way of cool looking cars cruising about. Am I just going at the wrong time??

(And yeah, I’m another Northsider who doesn’t mind the whole thing)

(And I’m going to let the whole SGS thing go because he’s young and respects AM talkback djs – the brains trust of Oz)

Ahhh, Saturday night, what was I thinking, of course that’s the time to go.

johnboy 9:50 am 09 Jan 06

And as someone who lives facing Northbourne I think it’s great. An invite to sit on my balcony becomes a prized possession. We get to watch the police pull over countless hoons and later in the night we get the parade of footsore drunks trying to walk into civic.

Sure i don’t want it every night of the year, but for a few short days a year it’s just good fun.

johnboy 9:47 am 09 Jan 06

Sam, if only your opinions were leavened by any sort of life experience they’d have a lot more value to anyone but yourself and the other trolls living at the back of the talk-back radio cave.

RandomGit 9:10 am 09 Jan 06

A 2CC sycophant levelling the word ‘pointless’ at other people. Priceless!

seepi 9:06 am 09 Jan 06

I thought Summernats was much quieter this year. The organisers have made a lot of efforts towards making it less intrusive for locals and I think it has worked.

Thumper 9:03 am 09 Jan 06


It’s a few days a year. A bit like New year as well. About time to get a life pal.

So you don’t like it. Too bad, get used to it. The world does not revolve around talkback radio.

I don’t like flowers, but I don’t complain about floriade.

jr 1:17 am 09 Jan 06

Having gone into Braddon (mistakenly) on Friday night I can attest that the majority of the cars doing the kerbside crawl from one end of Lonsdale Street to the other were predominately ACT registered cars.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 12:01 am 09 Jan 06

Funnily enough, the rest of the year only brings the occasional (once or twice per week) loony car driver near my place in Reid. During Summernats they occur every 10-15 minutes for the better part of the late night and early morning.

I’m quite happy with my point of view and I’m sticking with it.

tallian 11:45 pm 08 Jan 06

Saw Chic Henry on the news tonight, He had the look of “shit, I hope the insurance covers this”.

vg 11:21 pm 08 Jan 06

“Given that they lock the gates at EPIC at 10pm during Summernats”

Factually incorrect

whodini 10:57 pm 08 Jan 06

As another north Canberra resident, who is within spitting distance of the top half of EPIC (the noiser end during summernats) I can echo what JKR said. Apart from the increased littering on our street, which organisers have already cleaned, the event itself has been progressively quieter over the last few years to the point that the Canberra Show is significantly more audible from our house.

Whilst not a car enthusist myself, a significant proportion of the crowd visiting summernats are non-bogan, non-intoxicated families who go home in their non-hotted up cars when the gates shut at 10pm.

As JKR said, most of the people keeping SGS awake after 9pm are the same crowd who do the same thing all year round, particularly in Braddon and Civic.

I’d suggest before attempting an “editorial” again SGS (especially one which you insist on broadcasting here), that you at least attempt to have a less blinkered and better informed perspective on the subject matter.

jkr 9:07 pm 08 Jan 06

As an inner north resident (downer) I have no problem whatsoever with Summernats. I don’t go, I don’t want to go, but I don’t begrudge those who do.

Given that they lock the gates at EPIC at 10pm during Summernats, I think you’ll find the people tearing around the streets at 3am are locals, which you can hear any other night of the year.

Growling Ferret 8:42 pm 08 Jan 06


Its time for you to leave the cocoon and experience some of what life has got to offer. There is more to the world than Coma AM.

I haven’t been to summernats in 5 years or so, but its one hell of an event for a car lover. My parents, in their 50’s, attend most years as they love the incredible detail work on the custom cars.

Others love Summernats for the burnouts and driving events, others love it for the booze and the female flesh on display.

As for the accident last night, it was stupidity on the organisers part. They had 1000hp drift vehicles, designed and highly engineered to run sideways on a sealed race circuit, running two wide on the trotting track (gravel) when one lost control.

When the rally of Canberra had a superspecial stage there 5 years ago, the crowd was separated from the cars by 10 ton concrete blocks. For the drift blokes to be separated from the spectators by nothing more substantial than a few poles and some cyclone fence, it was an accident waiting to happen.

Luckily nobody was killed, and the injuries relatively minor – there is NO WAY any promotor or insurance company would run the risk of this happening again.

Ad it to the ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ list, and be glad that noone was killed.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 7:04 pm 08 Jan 06

Perhaps the best way for me to respond to this story is by mirroring my editorial about Summernats.

The strangeness of Summernats

January 8th, 2006

One thing I have noticed over the last week or so is that the people who think that Summernats is a good idea generally belong in one or both of the following categories:

1. People who don’t live in the inner north of Canberra.
2. People who think the only way to have fun is through loud noises, preferably whilst intoxicated.

I’m sure they enjoy this event and it’s inherent noise, smoke and pointlessness, in fact I’m sure they enjoy it, because they carry it out of the venue at the end of each day and continue it on suburban streets. The lovely loonies who bring their high-powered vehicles into Canberra each year aren’t content with watching others perform unusual activities in an enclosed environment, no, they feel a need to keep everyone else awake for many hours afterwards.

It is the general attitude of this group of people which becomes very annoying, they tend to think that the best way to drive a car is with a flat foot, especially when on a suburban road, couple this with the loud vehicles that these people generally drive, and suddently you will understand why I was still awake at 3 o’clock this morning, despite attempts to go to sleep.

I’m sure there are some genuine car enthusiasts who can behave themselves and not feel a need to wake up northern Canberra, and I’m sure Summernats does wonders for the local economy (especially the petrol stations), but it has a rather negative impact on those who live anywhere near it.

Organiser Chic Henry was on 2CC a couple weeks back telling us all that the people who don’t like Summernats don’t like noise and generally have something wrong with them…well sorry Chic, but you’re wrong. I don’t mind noise, but I’d rather not have it outside my window at 3am, I also don’t like the undesirable element which are generally attracted to your event, the ones who manage to drag Canberra’s road safety level to record lows (no pun intended).

Whilst Chic maintains that Summernats is a fantastic and safe event, reality shows it is anything but safe. For example, last night a ute in one of the parades managed to lose control and plow into a crowd, injuring four to six people, depending on your news source. Watching the footage it is quite clear that the driver was a goose and the fencing was completely inadequate.

According to Channel Ten, Summernats organiser Chic Henry says there’s always an element of danger associated with motor sports. Chic is right about that, but there is a vast difference between most motor sports and Summernats, the fencing. Most motor sports have a proper concrete barrier or similar with proper fencing above it, Summernats has a puny little fence that could probably be pushed over by an average grown human.

Add to that the fact that it was possible for a semi-streaker to get onto the arena under the location where a crane was about to drop a car on to a caravan (proper fences would fix that) and then they missed the caravan anyway, and you really have a very unusual definition of “safe” in Chic’s dictionary.

When Chic was on 2CC as previously mentioned, he was talking about how Summernats almost didn’t survive when they had to find a new location a few years ago…wouldn’t it have been brilliant if it hadn’t survived? Absolutely fantastic in my view. According to the ABC Television News, crowd numbers were down this year, which is fantastic as it might be spelling the beginning of the end for this strange annual annoyance.

News reports indicate that Chic will review safety procedures, well I’m going to give him some free advice. The best way to make the event safer is to not have it…there! Problem solved! Alternatively, move it to the middle of nowhere…that will, at the very least, make Canberra’s roads a bit safer…and let the loonies make as much noise as they want with nobody getting annoyed…won’t stop the injuries though.

If Summernats leaves Canberra I’ll be pleased, if it disappears altogether then I’ll be over the moon, as the world will be slightly more sane!


seepi 3:58 pm 08 Jan 06

Canberra Times says it crashed through a safety barrier. The Times has pages of Summernats pics today – not much else though.

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