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Summernats logo.png
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Burnout at Summernats in 2005
Genre Car festival
Date(s) January
Frequency Annually
Location(s) Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Canberra
Inaugurated 31 December 1987; 29 years ago (1987-12-31)
Attendance 119,184
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Contestants for "Miss Summernats 2012"
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Summernats, is an annual car festival held in Canberra, Australia since 1987.[1] Summernats, which is usually held at the start of the year, is the best known car festival in Australia, and an event which attracts many tourists to Canberra, bringing in excess of $20 million in economic benefit to the ACT economy.[2] It has increasingly been promoted as an event for families. The Summernats spectator attendance record was set in 2017 with 119,184 spectators attending. [3]

Summernats features many street machines with airbrushed artwork, and restored and modified cars. It is held over a four-day period, with many events, with prizes in competitions such as for burnouts, parades of cars around the track, a Miss Summernats competition, fireworks at night and two outdoor concerts held on Friday and Saturday nights.

Promotion and partnerships[edit]

Between 1987 and 2009, Summernats' promoter and organiser was Chic Henry.[4] Henry sold Summernats in 2009 to a new company called Summernats Pty Ltd. The naming rights sponsor of Summernats is Street Machine magazine, and the presenting sponsor is Rare Spares.

The ACT Government has expressed its strong support of Summernats, praising the significant benefit it brings to Canberra's economy.[5]


Summernats is held at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), corner of Flemington Road and Federal Highway, Lyneham.


Many awards are given during the course of the festival.

Grand Champion[edit]

The most prestigious award is the "Summernats Grand Champion".[6][7]

  • 2017 Mark Williams
  • 2016 John Saad
  • 2015 Nathan Borg
  • 2014 Henry Parry
  • 2013: Mick Fabar from Orange, New South Wales, with a 1967 Ford XR Falcon sedan;
  • 2012 Ben Sargent
  • 2011 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 2010 Joe Lore
  • 2009 Darrell Leemhuis
  • 2008 Rob Godfrey
  • 2007 Zoltan Bodo from Ngunnawal, Australian Capital Territory, with a 1992 Holden VP series Senator;
  • 2006 Aaron Fitzpatrick from Australian Capital Territory, with a gold 1969 Datsun 510 sedan.[8]
  • 2005
  • 2004 Drago Ostric
  • 2003 Mark Course
  • 2002 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 2001 Anthony Fabris
  • 2000 Shane Burcher
  • 1999 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 1998 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 1997 Howard Astill
  • 1996 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 1995 Dennis Laing
  • 1994 Brian Willis
  • 1993 Peter Fitzpatrick
  • 1992 Howard Astill
  • 1991 Howard Astill
  • 1990 Rob Beauchamp
  • 1989 Rob Beauchamp
  • 1988 Rob Beauchamp

The Grand Champion award was introduced at Summernats 6 - with Peter Fitzpatrick being the first recipient (the first of Peter's six Grand Champion awards). Prior to this the top award was; Top Street Machine Overall.

Miss Summernats[edit]

  • 2005: Tanya Lazarou, from Sydney
  • 2006: Bree Fenton, 19, from Sydney
  • 2007: Jenelle Smith, 19, from Canberra
  • 2012: Sabrina Damiano
  • 2014: Danah Wheatley
  • 2015: Monique Dognan-Smith[9]
  • 2016: Amanda Beattie
  • 2017: Jazmyne Wardell[10]

Show and Shine[edit]

The Summernats holds one of Australia's most prestigious Show and Shine events. Vehicles from around the nation use the Summernats to announce their arrival on the Australian scene. There are the following categories:

  • Real Street, Street, Elite and Tuff Street
  • Top 60 cars, Top 20 cars and Top 10 cars
  • Top Judged Elite and Top Judged Street

In addition there are some awards that are highly coveted amongst the Australian vehicle modifying community:

  • Master Craftsman
  • High Impact
  • Artistic Impression
  • People's Choice

Air brushing[edit]

Custom Air brushing is also celebrated at the Summernats, where an exhibition occurs in the Meguiar's Pavilion.

Driving events[edit]

There is a multitude of awards handed out to entrants in cars, which are in the following categories: [11][12]

  • Summernats City Cruise
  • Burnout Championship and Burnout Masters
  • Grass Motorkahana
  • Circle Work
  • Heads-Up Go to Whoa
  • Grab a Flag
  • Best Cruiser
  • Slalom

Dyno challenge[edit]

In this competition cars are strapped to a device that measures horsepower at the driven wheels. During the course of the Summernats many awards in different categories are handed out in the 'Dyno-cell' and power readings of over 2000hp at the wheels have been registered. [13]


A crash at Summernats 2006 injured a number of people (various sources indicating four,[14] five[15] or six[16]).

Street cruises were stopped after the 2005 Summernats, following crowd control issues, however thanks to the support of the ACT Government and several years of exemplary crowd and entrant behaviour the City Cruise was re-introduced in 2014. The City Cruise is the first driving event at each Summernats and is limited to 300 entrant vehicles. [17]

However Summernats spokesman Chic Henry was quoted as saying "The situation could be compared to so many other situations in life where people may have been having a bit too much fun, maybe having a bit too much alcohol."[18]

Sexual harassment of women[edit]

The festival has experienced frequent complaints and allegations of sexual harassment and other violence towards women by participants,[19] including having a history of women being shouted at to 'take your top off', and men holding placards that read "tits out for the boys".[20][21][22]

In 2008, a mob of up to 400 men was observed by journalists surrounding and harassing women, leading Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick to comment that such conduct fosters an environment that may lead to rape. Security staff were described as "powerless" to stop the mob, although event organiser Chic Henry stated that he was happy with the performance of security.[23]

In 2011, another mob was alleged to have occurred.[24]

In 2017, Summernats announced its zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment. [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fuller, Glen (6 May 2006). "ASMF History". Event Mechanics. Event Mechanics. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Barr, Andrew. "Summernats returns to CBR in January 2016" (Press release). Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Summernats". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Exotic street machines in town for the Summernats". The Canberra Times. 31 December 1987. p. 3. 
  5. ^ "From Schools Spectacular to Summernats – Andy Lopez on big events". Australasian Special Events. Backalley Production Company. 5 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Summernats Grand Champion (PDF), Summernats, archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2006 
  7. ^ "STREET MACHINE SUMMERNATS – THE GRAND CHAMPIONS | 22 | Street Machine". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  8. ^ Summernats Elite Results at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 April 2006)
  9. ^ "Summernats 28 Official Results" (PDF). Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Jazmyne Wardell named Miss Summernats 2017". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 8 January 2017. Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Summernats". Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  12. ^ "Summernats". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  13. ^ Dyno Dynamics (2015-01-08), HORSEPOWER HEROES 2015- Jake's Performance 2083hp dyno run on Dynotech by Dyno Dynamics dyno, retrieved 2017-05-05 
  14. ^ "General News". 8 January 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2006. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Stunt driver crash injures five". The Daily Telegraph. 8 January 2006. Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2006. 
  16. ^ "Stunt smash prompts safety review". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 January 2006. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2006. 
  17. ^ "Summernats". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  18. ^ "Summernats organisers play down reports of violence". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 January 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2007. 
  19. ^ "Summernats car festival: Canberrans vent frustrations about noise, sexual harassment on social media". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Women abused at Summernats". RiotACT. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Ford, Clementine (16 January 2017). "Harassment of women by men at Summernats cannot be excused or ignored". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  22. ^ Noyes, Jenny (January 2017). ""The street where you don't go": It looks like something out of the 1970s. A world that many Australians though had disappeared. Think again". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 14 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  23. ^ Maley, Paul (8 January 2008). "Summernats 'could lead to rape'". The Australian. Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Christopher, Knaus. "Summernats 'mobbing' denied". Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 

External links[edit]