The smell of nitro in the morning

Canberra has just finished paying host to the annual Summernats meeting, in which petrolheads from across the east coast of Australia come here to show off their modified cars, and compete in the "burnout masters" and "go to whoa" competition. Although I haven’t been actively interested in all this stuff since I sold my wide-tired ’76 Celica a decade ago, there was something rather fun about the streets of Canberra filling up with magnificently shiny, ear-splittingly powerful cars. Our home is only a few kilometres away from the venue, so the dull throb of engines could be heard in the distance morning, noon and night.

Having hung out with illegal street racers, I’m a big fan of the view that giving car enthusiasts a place to race legally is a good way of keeping the streets safer.* There are many worse hobbies than being a revhead. And it ain’t bad for Canberra, either. In a piece of promotion that doubtless brought a tear to the eyes of the folks at Canberra Tourism, our Acting Chief Minister said: "It shows that Canberra isn’t just the dull, grey place that some of our critics paint it to be."

* So long as they stay within the perimeter fences, that is.

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6 Responses to The smell of nitro in the morning

  1. au contraire – it actually proves Canberra is a dull grey place that is brightened temporarily only by an influx of imported rev heads and assorted female slappers showing off their tits.

    It makes the streets safer in other parts of Australia whilst its on.

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Ouch. Just don’t call it “a nice place to raise children” — the standard form of faint praise used to damn the city…..

  3. ChrisPer says:

    Any slap at Canberra is shooting fish in a barrel. There is an old Adelaide quote which goes ‘The only cemetery in the world that’s lit up at night’, which would be far truer of Canberra.

    Here in Perth, we get that ‘nice place to raise children’ too. My own line is ‘its a great place to live but you wouldn’t want to visit there’. I like my holiday venues to have once had city walls, if possible.

    Summernats rumour: This is told by a person I have dealt with over some years, a company managing director who I find a bit strong in his attitudes but reliable on facts. His son just went to Summernats and was beaten up by a small group of males. When he got from Casualty to the police station with his witnesses and reported the attack to the cops they were sympathetic and took his report – until he described the appearance of his attackers as ‘middle eastern appearance’. Then they refused to further take the report and sent him away.

    Puzzling, if true.

  4. Canberra: petrolheads, pornography, journos, and politicians. A nice place to bring up children? Really?

  5. I won’t mention the fact that I used to own a Datsun 1600.

  6. Christine says:

    Peter McBurney: Too true – luckily neither Summernats nor sittings of Parliament last that long, so 3 of the 4 aren’t permanent destructive influences on the young’uns. And on the plus side there are the tulips and … er … it’s close to the skifields as well as beautiful beaches?

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