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The strangeness of Summernats

January 8th, 2006 at 06:47pm

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!


Entry Filed under: Bizarreness,Canberra Stories,Lunacy/Idiots,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. cunninglinguist  |  January 8th, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    Sam, I’m right with you on this mate!

    Summernats is for genitally-challenged, single-brain celled bogan wankers. I say take down the fencing and let the bogans all wipe out each other, gladiator-style! The only ones I feel sorry for are the small children involved, like the small boy who ended up under that car.

  • 2. Some Guy  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    I knew it wasn’t great but I didn’t know it was that bad :-S

    Nice post.

  • 3. Kooky_Pound_Puppy  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Whenever anyone said to me im off to summer nats i thought oh god what crap, much more constructive things like, gardening
    washing dog walking and listening to classical music or pre 1832 tunes

    Sam what suburb are you in?

    What car do you drive?

  • 4. Samuel  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I can’t recall whether it was Seven News or ABC News which spoke with the family of the boy injured in the accident, but I do recall that they said they weren’t going back.

    Having a look at what some of the other blogs are saying about summernats, there have been a few which have mentioned the inadequate fences. I suppose it is good to hear that Chic Henry concedes that the accident could have been much worse, the footage certainly shows that it wasn’t “low speed”.

    Some Guy,
    Thanks, I was going to write about it last night, but I’m glad I waited until today as it gave me a few recent examples to work with, and gave me more time to consider the various viewpoints. Most people would probably be surprised to find out that my editorials are usually the result of many hours of thought, often spread over days, perhaps weeks.

  • 5. Samuel  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    Kooky_Pound_Puppy, I’m in Reid, which is just outside of Civic, and about 6KM by road from the Summernats venue.

    I don’t drive, I’m in a fairly central location within walking distance to shops and fairly decent public transport.

  • 6. Kooky_Pound_Puppy  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    Good that makes things so much easier for you!
    I know you walk Nattie daily so its a nice area to do so in

  • 7. viscous_fluids_burn  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Its slightly monotonous to suggest that all the people that attend summernats are single-brain-celled-organisms! besides there must seem to be a slightly professional aspect behind it.
    Realistically it is quite an achivement to custom build a car or to heavily modify it as lots of the summernat’s fans do. Could you picture yourself slaving over a car for years and years, isn’t it justifiable to want to show off your workmanship to gain a sence of pride? to test what you have made!

    Besides stoop to their level for a moment (and remember that there are actually more of them than there are of you(any high class intellectuals), and they vote!!!) what do you think they make of our Royal canberra theater or the art galleries?
    For the stupidity that summernats represents it is a part of our diverse australian culture, a great culture i might add!


    being kept awake till 3am in the morning is unreasonable, BUT you could have simply called the police … thats what they are for … keeping things civil
    so instead of blaming summernats blame your own inaction because your own little dilema could have been easly fixed had you been arsed to make one simple phone call, surely less effort than starting this post!


  • 8. Samuel  |  January 8th, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    Considering that it takes the police about five minutes or more to respond in this area, do you really think there is any point in ringing them when the cars are generally spaced 10-15 minutes apart? They aren’t going to be able to catch the car that I ring about, and they are unlikely to stick around long enough to catch the next one. I also don’t feel like defeating the purpose of trying to sleep by giving the police a statement about something they can’t fix at 3am.

    Apaprt from which, on my way home from some grocery shopping today, there were a couple of people verbally abusing each other, with one of them standing in the middle of a busy intersection. The police drove straight past…really instills a confidence that does! I wish I had been able to read the number plates on the police car…

    Anyway, on your original point viscous_fluids_burn, I did say “I’m sure there are some genuine car enthusiasts who can behave themselves”. Unfortunately it is always the noisy hooligans who are most noticeable, and there seems to be plenty of them!


January 2006

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