HELD each year in the Shepparton Showgrounds on the last weekend of November, Springnats has grown over the past 23 years to become one of Victoria’s biggest and best performance car festivals, with ballistic burnouts, driving skills events, show cars and a street cruise.
This year’s event kicked off on Friday night with a ‘free time’ expression session on the burnout pad, which saw some of the most massive skids of the weekend. Without the stress of competition, everyone let their hair down and relaxed.
But come Saturday it was down to business, and with equal prize money on offer this year in both the Pro and N/A burnout classes, there was plenty of limiter-bashing and high revs.
When the finals were done and dusted on Sunday, Steve Edsall made it back-to-back wins in the Pro class in his blown VE Commodore, ROGUE.
Rick Fuller didn’t hold back in the expression session or the main event, taking both his Commodores out for a play and ripping off some massive skids for the crowd. He took out second place in Sunday’s finals in LSONE, its infamous blower scream howling everyone’s ears off.
In only his second-ever burnout competition, Brett Niddrie took to the pad in IMMORTAL like an old-time pro, coming third in Pro class. The tough 370ci blown alky small-block in his HZ ute was running 25psi of boost and making 1375hp. Brett had a grin from ear to ear as he pulled huge revs to torch the tyres, the pad, the back of the ute and anything else that got in his way. “This pad’s awesome, it’s bloody huge!” he enthused.
In the N/A class, Trent Brooks emerged victorious in his QUIET1 LS1-powered VS Commodore. “I killed the six-litre at Tread Cemetery; it did the rods and bearings in, so I’ve slapped a 5.7L together using the heads of the 6.0, just for the weekend,” Trent explained. The 5.7 was up to the job, punching out huge pink plumes of smoke and setting the track alight in the finals.
Scott Yates had a fire in his YATESZ Commodore in the expression session, when oil escaped onto the pipes, but the flames were quickly extinguished by the ever-busy fire marshals. Scott just shrugged his shoulders, got back in and finished the job, smashing the tyres and limiter with a rim-bashing exit. “We’re having a great weekend; there’s nothing like getting away with the boys for the weekend and doing this stuff!” Scott went on to bag second place in the aspo V8 class.
Saturday evening’s street cruise and display in the Maude Street Mall was jam-packed. Springnats has a permit allowing unregistered vehicles to cruise the street route, and it’s becoming a real hit with entrants, particularly those with young kids and un-registered high-performance beasts.
Over in the show pavilion, some of Australia’s top show cars and hot rods battled it out for the Springnats Grand Champion prize. This year entrants needed to compete in both show judging as well as the driving skills events to have any chance of snaring the top spot. In the end Ross Mayes in his 1932 Ford tudor BURNT1 took out the title, after putting in quick times in the go-to-whoa, spear-a-spud and motorkhana.