FOLLOWING online accusations that Tuff Street at Street Machine Summernats was becoming ‘Soft Street’, on 15 May the ’Nats team trialled a new skid lane between the Tuff Street car park and the cruise route with a dozen real-life Summernats entrants.
The 12 participants included Nathan Patterson and his Corolla burnout car, THELMA; Summernats 31 Burnout Champion Phil Kerjean in his VK wagon and the Street Outlaws Skidtruck; Mark Siracusa and Matt Cowan with their 511-cube LH Torana, ONIT; Ben ‘Mechanical Stig’ Neal in the nine-second Mighty Car Mods Toyota Cresta; Owen Rice with the FRIED CV8 Monaro; Michael Pratten’s blown VX Commodore; and Lisa Howie’s BRNRBA Torry.
The entrants weren’t just there to belt tyres – the Summernats crew sought their feedback to make the new skid lane as good as it could be, as well as their ideas about logistics and scheduling. The aim is to improve the concept long before the actual event, ensuring it will run smoothly when Summernats 32 kicks off in January.
“Summernats entrants and fans have been telling us they want somewhere at the event to let loose that isn’t on the burnout pad, so that’s what the team has developed,” said ’Nats co-owner Andy Lopez. “They want Tuff Street to be more fun. ‘Let ’em skid,’ they told us, so we’ve put the planning and infrastructure in place to make that happen.”
While the finer details haven’t been fully shaken out yet, the basic format is looking like a ripper. Running towards the Meguiar’s Judging Pavilion in a one-way format, the skid lane will see entrants who want to skid pull off the cruise route and down a concrete-lined chute where they can make some smoke and noise.
The ’Nats crew have developed the skid lane with regular entrants in mind – the guys and girls who bring their car to the event but don’t want to thrash it for three minutes on the burnout pad in front of thousands of spectators.
The skid lane will be open throughout the event, and entrants can choose not to enter the lane and just continue along the normal cruise route.
There is no limit to how many laps entrants can cut through the lane, but organisers have said that cars need to drive out with tyres intact. Apart from that stipulation, they are keen for punters to have fun cutting laps all day and getting their cars on the brake.
After a dozen tough burnout and street cars had tested the idea, the ’Nats crew were confident that the concept works, and it was backed by everyone who had a go.
Reigning Summernats Burnout Champion Phil Kerjean had only good things to say about the new skid lane. “It is a great idea because it adds a new dimension to the event,” he said. “I will definitely use it, and I think many of the burnout guys will, too. It was heaps of fun and the atmosphere will be amazing once the crowd has packed out Tuff Street.”
It wasn’t just the methanol-sucking pro skid guys having fun. Adam Mitchell brought his supercharged Nissan V8-powered ’64 Fairlane along to test out how a street car would handle the new lane. “This has been awesome,” Adam said. “It really is a fantastic addition, because you don’t have to queue up for an hour like at the burnout pad, plus there is less pressure than the pad and I will be able to do some skids with my car full of friends. It is perfect for all the street cars that cruise around and it is the perfect location. I am going to bring extra tyres with me for Summernats 32!”