SNAKES AND SKIDDERS

NZV8 - - CONTENTS - Con­nal con­nal@v8.co.nz

Well, where did that year go? Re­mem­ber when you were a kid and it felt like an eter­nity be­tween Christ­mases! In this gig, our years seem to be struc­tured by Beach Hop, and it feels like only a few weeks ago that we were gear­ing up for the most full-on week in the cal­en­dar. Now, just a few weeks back into the work­ing year, we’re be­gin­ning to make our prepa­ra­tions for Repco Beach Hop all over again. It was nice to get a break, though. The pres­sure to pro­duce the best damn mag­a­zine we can, while stick­ing to un­re­lent­ing dead­lines, can and does get a bit hefty — sorta like a ger­bil on a spinny wheel, even though that cliché could also be ap­plied to many as­pects of nor­mal life if you were so in­clined. Any­way, time off over sum­mer: it was pretty neat; the high­light of it took place in that con­ti­nen­tal oven filled with snakes and spi­ders — ba­si­cally a few days at Sum­mer­nats in Can­berra, fol­lowed by a road trip up to Goldy in Joe Dirt’s VC Valiant. It was a good year for it — pos­si­bly the last time the Kiwi Car­nage team will go to the ef­fort and ex­pense of ship­ping a bunch of cars across the Tas­man. It must have been the year the Ki­wis took over; it seemed that ev­ery­where I turned, there was a Kiwi or an ex­pat Kiwi to chat with. Un­like last year, I didn’t take a cam­era, and went with no in­ten­tion of do­ing any­thing work re­lated … so I’ll apol­o­gize to those of you who liked the big event re­port we ran last year in Is­sue No. 142. I really didn’t want to deal with the stress of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for a bunch of ex­pen­sive cam­era gear. That, I think, turned out to be the right call. The ’Nats is a mas­sive event, and it’s sur­pris­ing how dif­fer­ent it felt to last year — be­ing able to cruise through it with­out feel­ing the (fu­tile) need to try and cap­ture it all. Since, true to form, I’m writ­ing this while we’re putting a mag­a­zine to print, I don’t really have time to get my gram­mar real good, so I’ll just bang out some bul­let points as to why: Through some un­known power, Liz of the ‘EV1L 69’ Ca­maro man­aged to wran­gle a cou­ple spots for the Ki­wis, in­clud­ing my­self, in one of the big mar­quees on Tuff Street — i.e. Sum­mer­nats cen­tral — with a bunch of pretty big names in the busi­ness. Not a cam­era-friendly en­vi­ron­ment! Since I wasn’t run­ning around the mas­sive venue all day, there was a lot more ‘right place, right time’ go­ing on. The high­light of that was … Be­ing able to ride shot­gun on the Sum­mer­nats burnout pad — not once but twice. First off was with Napier boy Arnie ‘Swizz’ Don­ald­son in his ‘LOLIFE’ Fal­con XC ute, and what a skid! The methano­lin­jected 410ci Gaerte sprint car mo­tor was on song, and Swizz man­aged to blow both tyres on the Nats pad for the first time, while keep­ing the ute off the wall — no doubt to his panel beater’s re­lief. Then Ian ‘Sambo’ Smith in­vited me to ride shot­gun in the ‘SAMBOS’ blown LS1 Mazda RX-7 on the Sun­day, and the crowd seemed to se­ri­ously love his per­for­mance — it’s pretty out there, hear­ing a crowd of that size, half-cut on VB, get­ting that revved up about some­thing. Break­ing down — old cars break down. It’s a fact of life. We had the mis­for­tune to leave Can­berra for Goldy on maybe the hottest day of the year, and the 41-de­gree ambient tem­per­a­ture and road heat ba­si­cally had the Valiant’s fuel boil­ing and vapour lock­ing. Not pleas­ant — but def­i­nitely a lot more fun than smash­ing out a two-day trip in some air­con­di­tioned palace on wheels. So, now that I’ve been able to in­dulge in a bunch of au­to­mo­tive de­bauch­ery with­out bring­ing work into the mix, it’s back to busi­ness as usual. As you’ll see in this is­sue, we’re not skimp­ing on event cov­er­age, and we’re just get­ting started — 2018 is look­ing good.

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