A FESTIVAL of modified cars and speed machines, burnouts and roaring engines may not sound like a family outing but for the Spiers family of Echuca it was a dream come true.
Frank Spiers and his wife Janine won tickets to Summernats in Canberra courtesy of a competition in the Riverine Herald.
It was the first Summernats experience for Frank and it was well worth the wait.
‘‘I’d been wanting to go for a long time,’’ he said.
‘‘It was great. It was everything (I expected) and more, especially on the Saturday — it was out of control.’’
Out of control in a good way as both he and his wife soaked up the atmosphere of Australia’s biggest car festival.
‘‘She (my wife) goes with us to drag races so she doesn’t mind the cars,’’ Frank said.
‘‘We were both keen as mustard to go.
‘‘We were lucky enough to buy a few extra tickets because we thought it wasn’t worth going for just one day.’’
Frank has always been interested in cars, a trait he has passed down to his two sons.
‘‘Both my boys are into cars, particularly the younger one,’’ Frank said.
In fact, their youngest son Cody completed a rebuild on a HQ ute.
‘‘Now we’re working on a Valiant ute as a father-son project.’’
Cody joined his parents on the trip while their older son Mitch was already making the trek to Summernats.
‘‘We met him and a few of his mates up there,’’ Frank said.
The family travelled up Friday last week and took in all the Summernats action on the Saturday and Sunday.
‘‘We were lucky with the accommodation,’’ Frank said.
‘‘We won the tickets and the next question was ‘where do we stay?’.’’
The answer came from fellow Echuca-based Summernats fan Scott Hore.
‘‘Scott’s wife Simone got wind that we’d won the tickets and got on the phone to us,’’ Frank said.
‘‘They were going and had booked two rooms but a few of Scott’s mates pulled out so a room was up for grabs and we took it. So it all worked out well.’’
The Spiers didn’t have their own modified car for the trip but did go cruising the streets in Scott’s 1974 HQ Holden.
Unlike Frank, Scott is a veteran of about seven Summernats and believed the 2018 version of the event could well have been the best.
‘‘I don’t have the official numbers but there were probably about 2000 cars up there,’’ Scott said.
‘‘It was the best quality of cars for the Summernats that I’ve been to.’’
While Scott took his modified HQ to Summernats, he opted out of entering the car in any of the big events.
‘‘We didn’t go in the burnout competition because the engine was still so fresh,’’ he said.
‘‘We toyed with the idea of going in the Go to Whoa but I forgot to pack some long pants which you need to compete.
‘‘I could’ve gone in to buy some but the temperature was 37 degrees on Friday and 39 degrees on Saturday and I wasn’t interested in wearing long pants then.’’
Despite that, Scott had a great time in motoring heaven.
‘‘The car went well. We had no dramas with it,’’ he said.
‘‘We went cruising Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we stayed long enough to make sure we covered all the trade stands.’’
While his HQ was not in any official event, it did attract its fair share of interest.
‘‘On the Saturday evening we were at the Civic Hotel in the inner-city suburb of Braddon,’’ Scott said.
‘‘People came up to us and wanted to take their photos with the car.’’
For Frank, the highlight was ‘Tuff Street’ where cars cruise past hordes of motoring fans egging them on to do burnouts.
Frank said he probably would go again to Summernats given the chance but was not keen on the drive up.
‘‘Sitting in the car up and back was too long — six and a half hours each way,’’ he said.
However, there was an added bonus to winning tickets to the event.
‘‘I entered various competitions up there and I just got a call this afternoon telling me I’ve won $500 worth of suspension parts,’’ he said. ‘‘I was stunned. I’ve done really well.’’