As dense clouds of smoke cleared from EPIC, Summernats organisers say that this year’s festival of cars was marked by good organisation and good behaviour, with the lowest number of “forced evictions” from the event in recent history.
“The burnout world record was obviously the main feather in our cap,” Summernats spokesman Adrian Hodgson said. “Our entrants put on a show that’s already been seen by millions around the world on social media.
“That opened the event on Friday but on Thursday we had the biggest ever city cruise. The Canberra government gave us the opportunity to expand the number from 300 to 400, we showed that we can get through the event in the same amount of time, and we had great help from the police to make it happen.”
Organisers say that a diversified range of activities gave attendees plenty to do, including the Skid Row section of the cruise route for “people who want to blow off a bit of steam”. In the past, participants haven’t been allowed to do burnouts on the cruise route around Exhibition Park.
“We recognised that’s something people would like to do without entering the burnout competition, so we created a stretch called Tough Street, where they could pull into a one direction lane and do a partial burnout under more controlled conditions,” Hodgson says.
“That was met with great excitement by entrants, it took a huge load off security guards and managers in terms of managing behaviour and spectators were 10-15 deep for the duration of the event. Our event control and security people were in a great mood on Sunday afternoon.”
Professional drift drivers were also popular with the crowds – that’s a fast-growing and spectacular form of motorsport where drivers slide around a mapped out course without losing momentum, never accelerating in a straight line.
Motorcross backflips also contributed to the colour, sound, smoke, noise and excitement and Hodgson made the point that if spectators are occupied with “a slew of choices”, they’re less likely to create problems.
“We are very conscious of the impact Summernats has on the Canberra economy. We like all of Canberra to do well out of us being here, but we’re also aware of our social impact. Our goal is to have a very large net positive effect on the economy but we like to be good neighbours, so we take a lot of advice from government and the police on how to manage these things and debrief with all stakeholders afterwards,” Hodgson said.
And for the diehard motor fan, what were the standouts? “There was an absolute stunner of a Ford Cobra, a brand new build complete factory version of the last XE Cobra ever built. It was perfection.
“The other thing was the dyno competition where you attach a car to a device that measures its horsepower. This year we had some exhibition drag cars and for the first time, we had readings of over 3000hp, where an ordinary car reaches a couple of hundred. That was awesome!”
Did you go to Summernats? What were the standout features?