SpringNats a roaring, smoking, squealing success

Burnt rubber: The remains of a shredded tyre fly through the air as SpringNats hit the road in Shepparton on Friday, January 21. Photo by Megan Fisher

SpringNats brought the heat to Shepparton this weekend, to the delight of competitors and crowds alike.

While the final numbers are still being crunched, the January 2022 instalment of the Spring Car Nationals is shaping up to be one of the event’s biggest since it moved to the Shepparton Showgrounds.

"We won’t know the final tally until Wednesday, but everything seems to be looking like one of the biggest in the last five years,“ operations manager Les Adams said.

“Saturday was the biggest we’ve ever had since we moved to the showgrounds, and I’m guessing at this stage we’re talking 15,000 to 20,000 people.”

Mr Adams said the Saturday night burnout competition was a clear highlight.

“It was mayhem last night,” he said on Sunday, during the final hours of the three-day extravaganza.

“It was very fierce competition all weekend, but especially the burnout competition.

“The showgrounds wasn’t far off capacity and we had a huge police presence on-site.

“There were so many families and it was just a great result.”

The street parade on Saturday afternoon closed Fryers St, with onlookers lining the footpaths.

Some of the cars on show were vintage beauties puttering along, others were hot rod beasts with obvious engine power.

“The street parade was unbelievable, and the way we had to do it this year, without going down Maude St Mall because obviously it was closed — a lot of people were saying it was better, including myself,” Mr Adams said.

“Maybe we could continue that, it was great to see people in front of restaurants and cafes.”

Mr Adams viewed the parade from the Australia Hotel, which “was near overflowing”, and said the procession received high praise from the police.

“They were here in force thinking mayhem was gonna break loose and we proved to them we’ve got the event under control,” he said.

The SpringNats operation manager said burnout competitions were among the fastest growing varieties of motorsport in the world.

“It’s faster growing than Formula One and V8 Supercars,” Mr Adams said.

“And Australia is one of the leaders.”

The Shepparton event attracted competitors and spectators from across the country, and Mr Adams said it was pleasing to see local businesses benefit from the patronage.

Burnout competitions are all about a driver’s control, the amount of continued smoke that comes from the tyres, and maintaining constant revs of the engine.

“You’ve gotta appreciate, when they’re in there they can’t really see what they’re doing so they pick landmarks — it could be a tree, a light, something on a building,” Mr Adams said.

"It’s a pretty unique experience and anyone who’s ever done it understands.

"We had the deputy mayor Anthony Brophy and Cr Sam Spinks go in two cars yesterday — they couldn’t believe how the drivers controlled the cars.

“When Cr Spinks hopped out she said, ‘Now I get it’.”

SpringNats is set to return to Shepparton again this year in November, returning to its usual season.

Mr Adams said SpringNats 2023 would mark the competition’s 30th anniversary, and big celebrations would be planned to mark the milestone.

Click through the gallery below to get a whiff of the action.