More than 100,000 attend 29th Summernats

Organisers insist Summernats remains purely an automotive event, despite being a boon for the local sex industry.


Reports emerged that more than 100 extra adult entertainers were brought to the ACT to meet the demand during the four-day street car festival, while Canberra sex shops also reported a spike in sales.

But event co-owner Andy Lopez said that had nothing to do with the family-friendly festival.

“We stage an automotive event and what people do outside of that is their own business,” he said on Sunday.

More than 100,000 people poured through the gates for the 29th edition of Summernats.

Thousands more tuned in online via a live stream, including a fan from Madagascar.

The event wrapped up on Sunday, with Sydney’s John Saad and his fully-customised 1972 Mazda RX3 crowned grand champion.

The car came close to winning last year, but a late failed alternator cruelled his chances.

“It was disappointing, but I came back and we finished what we started last year,” he told AAP, carrying his sword trophy.

Mr Saad spent five years – and an unspeakable amount of money – building the winning car.

He plans to bring his other love, a Ford XY Falcon, to next year’s Summernats but as a cruiser only.

“It’ll be more lapping and enjoying myself, not stressing over shows anymore,” he said.

Six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup made a guest appearance on Sunday, showing off his Holden’s 2016 Red Bull livery with a colourful burnout display.

The once-wild event was largely incident free, with ACT Policing reporting no major incidents.

On Thursday night, a contract worker was hospitalised with burns after methanol ignited at a refuelling depot inside Exhibition Park.

Two days later a restored 1970 Torana was reported stolen, but was later found nearby with minor damage.

Police also warned of a scam involving stolen wristbands, which were being sold for $20.

Overall, Mr Lopez declared Summernats 29 a success.

“What a fantastic event. We’ve had beautiful weather, amazing cars and terrific crowds,” he said.