OPINION: Motorvation Memories

As we head towards Motorvation 36 at the Perth Motorplex this weekend, we thought we’d take a look back at Motorvation 35 which saw Summernats take up the challenge of breathing some life back into the event which actually spawned Summernats!

Quick flash back to the mid 90s and this guy (the one writing this dribble) is standing in the hot sun of the Burswood Casino (as it was back then) waiting for the Bandag Bullet to fire up and put on a burnout show like no other. Soon enough, the engine roars into life and a loud “WHOMP. WHOMP. WHOMP. WHOMP.” can be heard and felt through my body. I knew I was in for something special.

Sure enough, the tyres lit up very quickly and the smoke filled the entire carpark to the point we couldn’t see the truck, apart from the occasional flame from the exhaust and a glimpse of the front lights. We got showered with rubber as the truck flung around close to the barriers, how close? I couldn’t tell you. But it was close. Close enough to feel the heat of the truck.

Check out this video for the Bandag experience. Not the same as in person, but you’ll get a good understanding.

But anyway, the events back then were PACKED. The trade hall and show cars were located inside the Burswood Dome and the outside area was a smoke filled rev heads heaven.

Fast forward to 2021 and Friday was competitor only day for Motorvation 35 and as cars were mainly towed in and dropped off, there was some excitement about the air as the entrant numbers were up to around the 500 mark and some very unique and amazing cars were tipped to be on show, including the People’s choice winner KINGKRUZA and the Grand Champion Stuart Vernon’s 1969 Camaro.

For media, mostly a day to get bearings, figure out what we want to look at when its all setup and talk rubbish with as many people as possible. Given the temperature it was also a day to figure out where all the ice cream and slushy vendors were.

For me, the highlight of the day had NOTHING to do with cars, but it was sitting down listening to James Wilson perform at the end of the Friday, although I couldn’t partake in a beer, I imagine for those who spent all day setting their vehicle displays up the beer and music combo was amazing.

Saturday was a big blur of burnouts, cruising, unveils, witty (or cringe) number plates, and more while on the Mullet Industries stage, what would be more appropriate than to have a mullet competition? .. Ages 4 to 60 something entered all vying for Junior Mullet or Mullet champion.

Another memorable moment was the marriage proposal! After throwing the car and his (now fiancée) around the Snake Pit for a bit of rubber burning fun, Garry in his JOKER Commodore leaped out of the car, to the other side and got down on one knee to propose.

At the time this happened, Bridget Bell was standing next to me and I saw out of the corner of my eye as she half knelt in surprise and then jumped the burnout safety wall to go chat with the happy couple.

I asked Bridget what was going through her head and outside of the “It is a trap! Don’t do it! RUN!” replies, she said it was “Probably the smartest move ever. They’ll never forget the day he proposed!”

Moving on to Sunday with the final judging happening, burnout comps and more I was asked to do an impromptu photoshoot with Bridget Bell. I’d never met her before a video about Motorvation that we did up for Behind the Sport and got to see a different side to the knowledgeable engine head.

The burnout pad was where the fire was, literally and figurately has car after car threw flames of some sort as they attempted to wow the crowds and the judges in their allotted time.

All in all, a great weekend out, being the first Motorvation on the other side of the fence for myself it was interesting to see just how hard people worked, especially track side with the officials, to keep it all going smooth.

The verdict from most people seemed to be they had a ball and the announcement came that Summernats would be back with Motorvation for Motorvation 36 in 2022… Which is where we are heading in just a few days.

The biggest announcement for Motorvation 36? …. Summernats’ infamous Skid Row is coming to Perth ….

For more details on Motorvation head on over to their website!



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