The hills of Western Victoria were alive with the sound of angry skid rigs at the inaugural LOO5EFEST

Photographers: Simon Davidson

Nestled in the ancient sandstone amphitheatre of the Burrong Basin, east of the Grampians in western Victoria, the Stawell Motor Sports Club reverberates to the 150dB din of angry engines. A throng of tough cars have assembled here, and their drivers have but one thing on their minds: murdering tyres. Spectators sit on rocky outcrops amongst the shady trees, heads and shoulders silhouetted against the dense fog of atomised radials. Welcome to the inaugural LOO5EFEST.

First published in the July 2022 issue of Street Machine

The event is put on by Russell Harris, famous for his blown and injected VL Commodore burnout beast, LOO5E. He also organises the annual LOO5ENATS, which takes place at the same venue over the Melbourne Cup weekend. LOO5EFEST was a last-minute addition to the calendar this year as a warm-up for the main event in November, and for the burnout faithful of the region, it’s a much-appreciated inclusion. Except maybe for Russell’s missus, who first threatened divorce, then became a lynchpin in organising the event.

While burnouts are front and centre, LOO5EFEST somehow has the atmosphere of a country fair, complete with jumping castle, kebab truck and a caravan serving up coffee and doughnuts.

Friday night is open pad night, with a simple ‘kill as many sets as you want’ directive. All comers are celebrated and everyone’s a winner. Camping overnight is allowed, and fireside yarns punctuate the night once the action’s over.

Saturday is comp day, and the tribes mingle as spectators fill the hillside in anticipation of the day’s action. The skies are pristine blue, the lines at the merch stand are long, and business at the bar is steady. Spectators greet each other like old friends with handshakes and hugs. Current Summernats Burnout Master Tim Brown and LSONE pilot Rick Fuller are among them, keeping hydrated from the back of a ute with a bunch of good mates. The vibe is more akin to a party than a sporting event.

LOO5EFEST features two competition classes, Street and Elite, with extra trophies for Young Gun and Carnage, and the field of competitors is overrun with LS-powered Commodores. Their drivers and passengers extend index fingers out the windows, tapping to the heavens in rhythm with the bouncing limiters of these frothing sidewall-shredders. The crowd shows its appreciation in kind.

Throughout the day, Russell Harris loads his blown, pinker-than-pink VL with another mind-blown grommet from the crowd for a joyride. “Sign here and put on this helmet,” is all that is said beforehand.

Andrew Lynch is here, too, and kids ask for photos as he walks around the pits. He has time for all, and no one is turned away. Lynchy’s infamous Corolla is just back from the panel shop and looking its best, and once on the pad, he puts on a typically insane display. Sadly – for his wallet, at least – he puts the front into the wall and sets the rear end ablaze. Everyone goes ballistic.

But if there’s a moment that truly sums up the event, it is the aftermath of the Elite-class final.

As the trophies are about to be handed out, everyone comes down from the hill, materialising from the smoky soup to be welcomed onto the pad. Punters mingle with littered shards of steel belt, rubber and bits of engine. Russell is standing on the back of a ute to announce the winners. Matt Addinsall in BLWNVL takes third and Matt Watts’s BLO-UP Corolla clinches second. Then comes the rub.

“We’ve done a countback, but we’ve still got a tie for first place,” Russell announces. “It’s Tyson Smyth [KRAZZY VH Commodore] and Gerard Fredrickson [FELONY VX SS]!”

The crowd, intoxicated from the day, burst into cheers. From somewhere behind the tyres, or maybe even up on the hill, a chant begins – quiet at first, but quickly becoming deafening: “Skid-off! Skid-off! SKID-OFF!”

The boys look at each other. “Yeah, we’ll do it. Skid-off!”

The crowd erupts. “Winner takes all,” announces Russell. “Five-kay first prize!”

Both cars go off to the pits to prepare. The pad is scraped. Past competitors mill about with random gearheads, mums with prams, and farmers. The commentator, Lloyd from Lloyd’s Engines, who has entertained the crowd all day on the mic, waves the novelty-sized cheque above his head, keeping the energy high.

First up is KRAZZY, and Tyson goes thermonuclear. He finishes, drives off the exit ramp and barely makes it to the dirt before he bursts from the car and loses his mind in celebration. The crowd goes full Chernobyl. “Holy shivers, he’s won it,” says a voice from the bar.

But then, before you can even blink, FELONY comes out fast and early. A fire marshal is still on the pad and leaps over the wall to safety. Gerard does a textbook skid; perfect even. But was it quite as crazy as, er, KRAZZY?

Debate rages throughout the crowd. Time drags. Tension rises. Rival crews begin to chant: “KRAZZY! KRAZZY! KRAZZY!” “FELONY! FELONY! FELONY!”

Lloyd makes Tyson and Gerard hold the novelty cheque between them, and starts on the consolations. “Look, before I go ahead, just so you know, I’m just the messenger,” he says. “Whatever I say from this point onwards, do not come at me. “Now Tyson, mate, you did an awesome skid. It was off the charts,” he continues. The crowd cheers. “But we reviewed the video, and you put a tyre off the pad. That’s going to work against you.”

The Tyson camp is furious: “Gerard didn’t even drive off the pad! He should lose points!”

“How could he drive off the pad? Tyson was parked on the ramp!” the Gerard fans shoot back.

“Quiet!” Lloyd barks, and turns his attention to Gerard. “Mate, you did a great skid too. Phenomenal. But there was a firey on the pad when you started, and that’s going to work against you, too.”

“And so, reviewing the footage, and the points – it’s a draw!” Absolute ecstasy and bedlam rain down. The sun has now set. The beer keeps flowing. The vibe continues.

LOO5EFEST may be just an appetiser for larger burnout events, but it’s equally a celebration of community. Russell Harris’s homespun festival has offered the region some much-needed smoke-filled release after two years of cancelled or postponed events, and the burnout faithful are thankful.



1st Tyson Smyth (KRAZZY) & Gerard Fredrickson (FELONY)
2nd Matt Watts (BLO-UP)
3rd Matt Addinsall (BLWNVL)


1st Craig Paxton (FIVE7)
2nd Robert Whelan-Knight (FALCONOATH) & Jessie James (HA8TED)
3rd Kevin Farrugia (HA8TED)


Jayden Kobelt (FKN AU)


Andrew Lynch (LYNCHY)