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Smoke and limiters: scenes from the Summernats burnout pad

16 January 2017

Forget about rugby — and do the same for cricket if you haven’t already — Australia’s national sport may as well be burnouts, and the annual Street Machine Summernats may as well be the world cup. Not only for burnouts, mind you, but as far as this particular article is concerned, tyre-shredding crowd-pleasing is all that matters. 

And in a country like Australia, at an event like Summernats, tyre-shredding crowd-pleasing is guaranteed. To rise to the top, you’ve gotta be good, but it takes more than just talent behind the wheel — reliability is paramount. Burnouts are enormously taxing, and if your engine’s internals can’t hold up to the punishment, well, good luck. Then there’s the small matter of cooling. At this Summernats, temperatures climbed to somewhere around 39 degrees on the Sunday, and, as much of the burnout is spent at high revs and low speed, airflow through the radiator can be limited at best. Summernats separates the men from the boys and the dreamers from the doers. 

We’ll have a bit more of a write-up in NZV8 Issue No. 142, but here’s a little insight into what went down. 

This ’48 Studebaker is piloted by Mick from Newcastle, and, no, your eyes are not deceiving you — that’s a twin-turbo LS stuffed into the engine bay, good for 530hp and 980lb·ft. Backed by a TH400 and nine-inch diff, plentiful smoke production is a given — we just really hope the geriatric chassis has been strengthened accordingly!

Mechanical injection is nothing new in the Aussie burnout scene, but in almost all cases, it’s merely the ugly duckling outshone by a towering blower and injector hat. Not so in this case, with beautiful eight-stack injection for screaming naturally aspirated power. And while most keep the revs right up in the danger zone, we were treated to a barrage of throttle-stabbing to hear just how quickly this thing got the revs up. 

Wherever Justen Brown’s ‘STRUGLIN’ Holden VE Commodore wagon is, fire is never far away. Of course, while fire’s what costs you points on the burnout pads, the crowds just can’t get enough of it!

You want smoke? You’ve come to the right place. Andrew Poole’s ‘IBLOWN’ Holden VC Commodore is a total weapon, and it doesn’t just smoke the bags like a champ — this thing sounds proper. Then again, when you’ve got a high-revving blown small block, it’s gonna stand out in a sea of LS engines. 

Ross Heasley’s ‘MRBADQ’ Holden HQ Monaro doesn’t need a sweet engine note to stand out from the crowd, but it’s got one anyway. The 6-71 supercharged 350ci small block was built by PowerHouse Engines, and while it makes all the noise and power needed to blow a set on the pad, the rest of the car is finished to the same high standard. 

Chris Genter’s ‘FROMHELL’ Holden VC Commodore is one staunch piece of kit. The blown and injected 515ci big block towers above anyone shorter than Shaquille O’Neal, and makes a noise that perfectly justifies the plate. After Fred Watson’s ‘FEAR’ Monaro was pulled out of the competition with a buggered crankshaft, Chris made room in the Commodore’s passenger seat for him, giving Fred the next best thing to being out there himself. 

If the plate says ‘BLO202’ what would you guess provides the power? Yep, the Aussies are pretty good at doing things different, and you should have heard the noises this supercharged 202-powered Torana was making … no six-banger has a right to sound this tough!

One for the Ford fans, kinda. Peter Grmusa had his ‘F-DIS’ Ford F-100 out to play, and if there was an award for angriest engine, he’d have cleaned up. Seven hundred cubes of blown and injected big block Chev will do that, and you better believe that this attempt at a photo was taken after he’d popped the tyres — there was too much smoke at any other time. 

The ‘UNWANTED’ Commodore ute is known for its high-temperature shenanigans, and melted what was left of the rear bumper after melting the majority of it earlier in the week. 

The ‘ONIT’ Torana had a bit of a rough time. Co-owned by Mark Siracusa and Matt Cowan, Matt gave it the beans and peeled off a wicked burnout, although Mark wasn’t quite so lucky. A monster tip-in looked promising, but with a little too much forward momentum, the Torana’s nose ended up crunching into the tyres on the corner. The Torana was repaired in time to hit the pad again on Sunday.  

Anthony Page has been skidding his ‘PAGEY’ Holden HZ ute for a while, and would wrap up Summernats 30 as the Summernats Burnout Champion — a very well-deserved accomplishment. 

And Steve Nogas finally did it, becoming Summernats Burnout Master after a series of top-tier burnouts throughout the course of Street Machine Summernats 30. He ticked all the boxes required of a burnout competition at this level, and walked away with a very well-deserved win. 

Even so, it seemed many thought crowd-favourite Andrew Lynch deserved the honours, after a monster skid in his ‘LYNCHY’ Corolla. Still, getting points isn’t quite the same as pleasing the crowd, and there’s no question that Lynchy does that exceptionally well. That’s probably the best way to close off this article, although we’ll have more Summernats madness up soon. Watch this space!