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Burnout at Summernats
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Contestants for "Miss Summernats 2012"
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Sabrina Damiano (Miss Summernats 2012) and Rob Shehadie
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Summernats, short for Summer Nationals, is a car festival held in Canberra, Australia since 1987.[1] Summernats is held annually, usually at the start of the year. Summernats is the best known car festival in Australia, and an event which attracts many tourists to Canberra, bringing about $12–$15 million to the ACT economy.[citation needed] It has increasingly been promoted as an event for families. The Summernats attendance record was set in 2005 with 119,000 people.

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, and fireworks at night.


Summernats' promoter and organiser is Chic Henry. The naming rights sponsor of Summernats is Street Machine magazine.


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". [1]

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, from Victoria[3]

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 numerous awards are handed out.

Driving Events[edit]

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

  • Burnout and Burnout Masters
  • Grass Motorkahana
  • 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 outright power reads of over 1000 and 1200 hp at the wheels have been registered.


A crash at Summernats 2006 injured a number of people (various sources indicating four [2], five [3] or six [4]).

Street cruises were stopped after the 2005 Summernats, following crowd control issues.

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." [5]

Violence Against Women[edit]

The festival has experienced frequent complaints and allegations of sexual harassment and other violence towards women by participants,[4] including having a history of women being shouted at to 'take your top off'.[5]

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 Chick Henry stated that he was happy with the performance of security.[6]

In 2011, another mob was alleged to have occurred.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fuller, Glen (6 May 2006). "ASMF History". Event Mechanics. Event Mechanics. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Summernats Elite Results at the Wayback Machine (archived April 28, 2006)
  3. ^ "Summernats 28 Official Results" (PDF). Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Summernats car festival: Canberrans vent frustrations about noise, sexual harassment on social media". ABC News. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Women abused at Summernats". RiotACT. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Maley, Paul. "Summernats 'could lead to rape'". The Australian. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Christopher, Knaus. "Summernats 'mobbing' denied". Canberra Times. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  • The Canberra Times, 8 Jan 2006 "Motor City"

External links[edit]