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BOWTIE THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER

While the majority of North America has been suffering one of the worst icy winters in some time, Australia has been hit with unprecedented scorching temperatures and catastrophic fire warnings. The nation’s capital, Canberra has not immune, but the recent Summernats, Australia’s largest street machine show, saw scorching action of a different kind as Jon Van Daal explains.

The beauty of the Summernats is that you can see all manner of cars including the Chevy based products of Gil Stoken and Joe Psaila. Stoken’s blue ’70 Chevelle SS is seen here driving around in the Supercruise and is in complete contrast to Psaila who won Top Sedan with his yellow and white ’58 model FC GM-Holden.

Now in its 23rd year, the Summernats car festival would go close to being one of the largest outdoor high performance shows outside America. Held over four days in early January, some 1750 cars, trucks, street rods and Summernats specials took part in this unique acceleration circus. I say circus because it literally is a ten ringed high horse-powered hippodrome. This sees hundreds of entrants pitting themselves and their cars against each other while completing a myriad of automotive disciplines.

A purpose built burnout pad with massive bleachers hosts the cream of the crop when it comes to tyre screaming burnout competitions. This strip of asphalt also hosts a go to whoa contest to see who is the best at accelerating from a standing start to stopping on a dime at the finish-line at the far end of the track. The one with the shortest time is the winner and you don’t have to have the most powerful car on the property.

There are also three different grass events – Grab A Flag, Motokhana and Slalom. Unlike the white smoke that wafted all weekend long over the bitumen, it was the brown bull dust that obscured a range of entries. While some thought it an excuse to carve up the grass others took it seriously and recorded ever lower times.

Greg Young in his ’67 Chev Impala sedan is one of the few competitors who had competed at all twenty three Summernats events. Despite his co-pilot getting excited he had to settle for a runner up position in the Burnout Masters bracket.

In the Elite Hall the best of the best were lined up to go under the judges’ scrutiny. Sponsored by Meguiars and the House of Kolor, twelve brand new cars were revealed to the immense crowd on Friday night of the Summernats festival. Star of the show was former Top Fuel and Funny Car racer and team owner,
Graeme Cowin, who debuted
his street registered
1970 King Kong
Plymouth Barracuda.

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