8 January 2024

Police investigating Summernats incidents shared to social media

| Albert McKnight
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Summernats brawl

Police are investigating an alleged brawl at Summernats 36 on the weekend. Photo: Screenshot.

Several alleged altercations at this year’s Summernats 36 have been filmed and shared to social media, appearing to involve both patrons and security guards.

The alleged brawl apparently took place at Exhibition Park on Saturday (6 January) between attendees and staff who wore pink vests with the words ‘crowd safety’ on them.

In one video, a guard allegedly throws a punch at someone before jumping backwards and then beckoning forwards.

Another allegedly captures pushing and shoving and patrons being knocked over.

A third allegedly shows a yellow vest-wearing guard with the word ‘security’ on the back dragging a man on a road.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said police were aware of an incident that occurred on Saturday afternoon inside EPIC.

“Investigations into the incident are ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time,” the spokesperson said.

“No further comment will be made while investigations are ongoing.”

READ ALSO Police seek witnesses to alleged assault on security guard in Braddon pub

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez told Region the alleged incident was the last thing he wanted to see at the event.

“No matter what led up to it, the outcome was unacceptable,” he said.

“We will make sure that we learn from it.”

He said the event’s security were very experienced operators and “what happened is an outlier”.

“The incident that happened on Saturday arvo is not what we are about and certainly not what we want to see at Summernats,” Mr Lopez said.

He said Summernats had begun investigating the incident, which was a high priority for the organisers.

He expected he would publicly share whatever learnings came out of the investigation.

Mr Lopez said crowd behaviour was generally very good this year.

Out of 130,000 spectators through the gates and 2500 entrant cars, there were 20 spectator evictions and 84 car evictions.

He was pleased the car evictions had reduced from last year and said the low number of spectator evictions was “pretty remarkable” given the size of the crowd.

READ ALSO Police recover trove of stolen property from Gungahlin home

Aside from Saturday’s alleged incident, Mr Lopez said this year’s Summernats had been terrific. Saturday had been the event’s biggest day ever.

“It was such a good vibe over the weekend,” he said.

“She’s a wild old ride is the Summernats. It’s a big few days … so people go home, I think, feeling like they had an amazing weekend but a bit buckled!

“It’s a mega event and it comes together because so many people work really, really hard on it.”

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William Newby9:53 pm 09 Jan 24

Not my cup of tea but any event with 130,000 patrons is going to bring a certain number of idiots, this event always has.
All the Canberra snobs love to pile on the hate for this event but to pull such numbers into town, when most of us aren’t even here, can only be a good thing for the economy and the city.

Mouthy drunks throwing cans and bottles at the security staff. Hopefully ACT Magistrates will be kind and send them on a love-in-rainbow roundabout session. After all we cannot let people be responsible for their own actions.

You hold an event like this SummerNats and it attracts hoons and almost only hoons. Then you decry the very behaviour when the event basically shows what is master-class in hoon driving and other antisocial behaviour. The answer is simple don’t hold the event in the first place.

Agreed. Wouldn’t be so bad if hoon mentality was left at the venue, but the entire weekend has left Canberra with tyre burn out marks across most suburbs. It’s a bloody mess.

Agree! So many venues and suburbs had to endure poor behaviours outside the event causing damages to public and private property.

Michael Pless10:19 am 09 Jan 24

Agree very strongly. Media reports included hundreds of defect notices issued by police (on cars driven into the ACT from…); branding the attendees as a “sub-species” (by a police representative and who am I to argue with that?); assaults and loutish behaviour (seemingly much of it by the thugs in pink vests); assaults including a vicious and cowardly “king-hit” on an attendee (again by a thug in a pink vest); an influx of over $40million to the ACT. What hasn’t been commented on are the massive quantities of carbon dioxide and other toxic pollutants – including from burning tyres – spewed into the atmosphere at a time when caring for the environment is a real concern; and the quantity of earnings lost due to families (including mine) and others who stayed away from the area purely due to the event and its attendees. I have loved cars for a long, long time, and enjoy seeing and admiring the effort others put into their creations. But Summernats serves no useful purpose apart from putting money into Mr. Lopez’s pocket and demonstrating that it is acceptable to the authorities to set fire to tyres and pollute the environment so long as each attendee spends $323 (on average) in the area.

Summernats need to take a good hard look at how much alcohol they sell. They also need to take a look at the security companies they hire.

The “crowd protection” people may have been pushed to the limit by a drunken crowd but to coward punch one of them. Well that’s going to cost them some compensation $$$

Was it a security company or the rebels ?

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