‘A bogan’s dream come true’: Summernats car festival kicks off

Not many little girls dream about owning a one tonner ute.

But for veterinary student Nadine Clifford entering a car for the first time at Summernats is a “bogan’s dream come true”.

She knew she wanted a HQ one-tonner Holden ute with twin headlights since she was four-years-old.

Ms Clifford bought it in 2013 and has been working on it ever since only finishing the final touches at 2am yesterday.

Nadine Clifford of the Central Coast finished restoring her car at 2am to drive to Canberra. Photo: Karleen Minney

She did all the work herself, learning from youtube tutorials and her family’s expertise.

“It’s bright yellow because I wanted it to be like the Disney princess Belle,” Ms Clifford said.

While most of her friends from university are a bit perplexed by her love of hotted up cars, she feels right at home at Summernats.

“Women are completely outnumbered but there are always women in the car scene you can chat to and look after you and the venue is really female-friendly,” she said.

“I’ve got older ladies who sort of treat me like a mum.”

She is one of thousands of car enthusiasts set to take over Canberra from Thursday when the four-day Summernats festival kicks off.

More than 100,000 people are expected to come through the gates with 2000 people entering a car.

Safety measures will be amped-up this year after aman died when he fell off a ute last year.

Revellers are now banned from riding in the back of utes.

Organisers have also tried to crack down on sexual harassment and cancelled theMiss Summernats competition in a bid to appeal to a more female-friendly crowd.

Anthony Brakel of Nowra finished working on his LX Torana on Tuesday night to exhibit it for the first time. Photo: Karleen Minney

While thousands of interstate visitors are expected to attend Summernats, co-owner Andy Lopez wants to see more Canberra locals check out the “one of a kind” event.

“Come along and have a look – it’s real spectacle, there’s so much stuff to do,” he said.

“It is absolutely a celebration of innovation and achievement of people who build and modify cars.”

Mr Lopez said the festival worked with the ACT government, ACT Policing, Worksafe and security to ensure attendees’ safety.

Thursday will feature the city cruise, with about 300 hotted up cars rumbling down Northbourne Avenue as well as burnout heats later in the afternoon.

The four day festival will feature live music from the likes of Wolfmother and Thundamentals performing.

And with scorching temperatures predicted for the weekend, festival goers are urged to be sun smart.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said Saturday and Sunday would see temperatures between 36 and 37 degrees and little relief on Saturday night.

“There’s a risk of people getting heat stroke if they’re outside all day and in the sunshine,” he said.

“It’s good to advise people to dress sensibly, hats and long sleeves and that sort of thing.

“Get in the shade and drink plenty of water.”

Road closures across the city will be in place at various time between Thursday and Sunday.

Stirling Avenue will be closed between Knox Street and the Federal Highway from 10am on Thursday to 7pm on Sunday.Lonsdale Street will be closed between Cooyong Street and Girrahween Street from 9pm to 1am on Friday and Saturday.Elouera Street will be closed between Torrens Street and Mort Street from 9pm to 1am on Friday and Saturday.with Han Nguyen

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