LARDNER Park Motorfest is a bit different to a lot of burnout shows in that most of the proceeds go to charity. Run by the Gippsland Tuff Streeters and Drouin Rotary Club, the show raises tens of thousands of dollars a year for local, national and even international charities. In fact, over the past five years they’ve amassed over $250,000 – an amazing feat for a small regional show.
This article was first published in the May 2014 of Street Machine
Located east of Melbourne, and just a tad south of Warragul, Lardner Park isn’t really a town; it’s more a large block of land where they hold the local agricultural show and field day. But the difference between Lardner Park and similar facilities is they have a burnout track, and what a picturesque little track it is. They’ve got a great grassy hillside with nice shade trees on one side, and we reckon there would be nothing better than sitting up there with a couple of coldies and watching burnouts all day long.
As we’ve seen with quite a few events already this year, entrant numbers were slightly down, but we reckon that’s just a symptom of the sheer number of Melbourne burnout comps in February and March. High attrition rates and running costs are starting to put a dent in just how many events the average entrant can attend, but funnily enough the quality of the cars at Motorfest this year was better than ever.
Entrants travelled from Townsville, Wollongong and all around Melbourne to compete for a slice of the $15,000 prize pool – and have fun, of course.
It wasn’t just about burnouts, but we’d be lying if we said that wasn’t what most people were there to see. Still, the Go-To-Whoa and Stampede events gave those entrants with an ounce of mechanical sympathy a chance to go for it on the pad without the stresses a full two-minute burnout puts on a car.
Someone who didn’t seem to care about mechanical sympathy was Daniel Blok. His NASCAR-powered VG Valiant has reached near-celebrity status, but Daniel himself wasn’t ashamed to point out he needed more time behind the wheel, especially when it came to burnouts. Motorfest was a chance to get some practice on a tight pad and, with a 9600rpm chip plugged into the MSD, he wailed on it all weekend. By Sunday afternoon he seemed to have it sorted and the crowd was loving his 9000+rpm smoke-shows.
Another entrant who kept the crowd on their feet was Ryan Pearson. He made the most of his 980hp small-block and worked the pad hard with his flat-black HT Premier. It was definitely worthy of a Top 10 spot.
If burnouts don’t get the heart racing, you could wander through the show ’n’ shine. The arrival of 80-odd Commodores from the SS Holden Club put show ’n’ shine parking at a premium on Sunday, so organisers set up a secondary show area up behind the trees, and it was worth climbing the hill for a look.
Airbagged F-trucks, blown Monaros, cool Mustangs and classic street machines were hiding up there – there were more down the bottom.
For show ’n’ shine trophies, they try to do something a bit different at Motorfest. Because the show runs over two days, some entrants show up Saturday, but not Sunday. So rather than have a million trophies covering every possible combination of make and model, they award three top trophies on Saturday and three again on Sunday.
And it was an all-Holden affair, with Steve MacGregor’s very tidy 10-second HZ Premier outshining Robert Archer’s Chevy-powered LC coupe and Phil Kerjean’s blown TUFFST wagon on Saturday, while on Sunday Adam Burnett’s immaculate ProCharged Torana took the top spot ahead of Ryan De Prada’s HJ panel van and Brett Nautili’s VK Commodore. Which had us asking: where were the Ford and Mopar people?
On the burnout pad Holden domination continued, with the top 13 spots occupied by roaring lions. Then in 14th spot it was Bloky’s green Valiant, followed by even more hot Holdens.
When it was all run and done, a lot of people were talking up Warren Eustace and Rick Fuller – and for good reason; they were awesome. But Ross Heasley was absolutely flawless with his MRBADQ Monaro and took the win, and the $6000 first prize, by a narrow margin. Fuller’s VK Commodore came second and Summernats Burnout Champion Eustace finished third with his blue and blown HQ sedan.
We’ll be back again next year to see them do it all over again. Why wouldn’t we? It’s a great event at a great facility filled with great people, and they raised heaps of money for many great charities, both here and overseas. What could be better than that?
Aaron Doutch has been holding his own against the blown cars with his tunnel-rammed LC coupe for a few years now, but he told us he’s starting to think about getting himself a blower to match it with the big boys.
He didn’t quite make the Top 10, but Daniel Blok’s VG Valiant was definitely a crowd favourite after a few 9000+rpm burnouts. With a 9600 chip in the MSD, the NASCAR-powered Mopar howled on the pad all weekend.
Down from Sydney, Ryan Pearson gave his blown small block-powered HT Premier a thorough flogging and finished ninth overall.
Built way back in 1985, Colin Proctor’s FJ van still turns heads. Up front it’s got a tunnel-rammed 283 with twin 500cfm two-barrel carbs, and there’s a Mk10 Jag diff under the bum.
When we saw Ken Hibbert’s E2200 Mazda at Summernats it had small-block power, but it rocked out at Motorfest with 496 cubes of big-block grunt. A small fire cut things short, but it looked and sounded tough.
He hasn’t got all the bugs out of ATRISK yet, but Peter Grmusa always draws a crowd when he hits the pad with that massive blower up front. Unfortunately it didn’t go the distance.
Fresh from his Summernats burnout win, Warren Eustace managed to set the wall alight and destroy a set of treads to finish third overall.
Rick Fuller’s blown and EFI’d VK Commodore is one of the wildest-sounding cars on the scene right now, and he finished second, just a few points behind out of the top spot.
Ross Heasley did his best to give spectators some shade when he blotted out the sky. The 650hp HQ Monaro took home first place and a tidy $6000 for its trouble.
Steve Loader’s HG Premier looks pretty tame on the outside but under the bonnet there’s a twin-turbo LS1. The engine itself is stock except for valve springs, and it makes 461rwhp at 7psi .
TOP 10 BURNOUTS