Crusty Demons of Fog

Looking back on the world’s first – and possibly last – big-scale indoor burnout competition


The 400th issue of Street Machine is on sale this Thursday, and contains some cracking tales from years gone by, including Arby’s Crusty Demons of Fog. The idea of running an indoor, rock concert-level burnout show at Sydney’s Superdome was an ambitious one, but didn’t go quite to plan, as you’ll read below.

First published in the August 2001 issue of Street Machine

It had to happen sooner or later. Some crazy man was going to come up with the idea of filling a first-class venue with more than 10,000hp of screaming spastic bent-eights for the indoor burnout comp of the century.

The event, the Burnout Masters at the Homebush Superdome in Sydney’s west, had most people scratching their heads as to how the smoke would be expelled, but attracted a big bunch of entrants crazy to fill the joint with the acrid stench of blistering Bridgestones. Unfortunately, the crowd that turned up to watch the action was disappointingly modest.

“My vision has been that high-quality burnout cars and drivers deserved to be elevated to the status of, say, Sprintcar or truck racers, who are able to attract corporate sponsors,” said Burnout Masters event promoter Geoff Davies. “To do this, I wanted to combine muscle machines in a boxing ring with all the lighting of a rock concert in a venue with controlled weather elements, comfort and the facilities of a picture theatre.

“The Superdome provided this. However, convincing the authorities over an eight-month trial period and then controlling and extracting the smoke generated was always going to be difficult. And the overheads with such a quality venue are huge.”

A star-studded line-up was on hand to greet the spectators when the lights came on, including Summernats burnout regulars Tony DeOliveira, Peter and Debbie Gray, Gary Myers, and some bloke in a white Valiant hardtop. But the list of super-tough machines didn’t stop there, with plenty of designated burnout warriors, drag cars and demonstration vehicles champing at the bit to make the history books.

The centre stage was like a huge square fish bowl with two massive ventilator fans and a system of pipes to pump the smoke out, surrounded by a sand track for a full field of mini-sprinters to run around on to keep the crowd amused between burnout qualifying rounds.

At the end of the night – when all the smoke had cleared and Peter Gray had edged me out of the final of the Awesome class (the bastard), DeOliveira had wrapped up the V8 class in his blown Corolla, and Mark Dall’acqua had won Semi Pro in his 351 Clevo Ford Escort – out rolled more than 20 demolition derby cars onto the dirt track for what was one of the crazier and funnier smash-up shows I’ve seen.

What the event lacked in crowd (and profit for the ambitious promoter), it made up for in potential, with many competitors and fans wishing a bright future for a new generation of burnout competitions.