Rockynats 2021 day one

Rockynats opened with a bang, including a massive street parade, showcar unveils and skids for days

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

For an event that was seriously under threat as Queensland battled the latest Covid lockdown, the opening day of the inaugural Rockynats was a celebration of freedom, fast cars, a spectacular parade and Rockhampton’s skies filled with the glorious smell of burning rubber.

Even though most locals had half their mugs shielded by mandatory face masks, the eyes had it and you knew there were smiles under those coverings. Photos: Ashleigh Wilson

There were a stack of killer cars unveiled, including reigning Red CentreNATS Grand Champ Graeme Miller’s epic new EH van that somehow made the event after serious damage just a week out.

Watch next: Rockynats 2021 day two

Billy Shelton’s SICKO VL Commodore with LS1 and Proboost GTX 45 Turbo also had our eyes out on stilts.

Dressed in ‘Sicko Red’ by Custom Mix by Concept Paints, the interior continued the theme with custom red leather racing seats, red carpets, red dash, red trim, red headlining, red steering wheel, and yes, red roll cage.

Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams was strongly behind the three-day long-weekend event, pulling covers off Judith Menso’s 1977 LX Torana. Her first car, owned since 1992, now uses a VR Stateman’s blown 304Ci and is finished in Holden Morpheus Purple. We’ll have more details on the other unveils in the next update.

Watch next: Rockynats day three

With businesses closed for Easter Good Friday, the empty streets were suddenly filled by a parade of 800 cars, watched by locals coming out in their thousands along a 14-kilometre parade route. Rocky’s attractive historic buildings in the CBD served as a beautiful backdrop for the street machines, hot rods, old school muscle, retros and late model bruisers rolling past.

Matt Okell’s ’64 EH Ute TUFF64, Nathan Sutherland’s KILLASET VK Commodore and Mark Schwarz’s HANFUL HQ were just a selection of those who lit up the pad at Round 1 of the Burnout Masters down by Rocky’s riverside. With Round 2 and the Final still to come, the competition is going to be shattering.

The Rocky locals were keen to chat to Street Machine, making a point of how special if feels to have such an event in their backyard. Local Daniel Flynt said: “This is the first car event my kids have seen, as normally we’d have to travel down to Brisbane (seven hours drive) to see this. There’s nothing better than seeing these classic cars coming through our streets like this. It’s amazing.”

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson