Last weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to Canberra for SummerNats, Australia’s Biggest Horsepower Party. My role there this year was as a commentator telling the crowd all about the crazy and collectible motor cars and their drivers who are obsessed with all things wheeled. There were approximately 2,500 vehicles there ranging from high powered muscle cars, to exotic sports cars, to elite custom built cars, to crazy ride on lawn mowers and every day drivers that were not special in any way except for the fact that the guy or gal who owned them loved them and wanted to show them off. I have always loved cars and for nearly 20 years I have taken every opportunity I can to visit our nations capital at the start of the year to share my automotive passion with like minded folk.
One particular car that I fancy is the Mini Moke. Not a common car on the streets or at a horsepower obsessed show like Summernats. Finding a cool unmolested one is getting harder and more expensive every day. As I posted on social media about my adventures at SummerNats, people messaged me to tell me about a green Moke they had seen on the television coverage of the city cruise and in the show and shine at SummerNats. I set out on my lunch breaks away from the mic to find the man who was willing to take a tiny, basic convertible with a 1 litre engine into the throngs of V8 methanol fed monsters.
It took me 3 days but finally I met Keith and his son Reece as they waited to join the super cruise. His son was hot and bored by the whole show flopping about in the Moke while his dad and I enthusiastically went over the car discussing the modifications he had made, the plans for the future of the green beast and the support networks of other Moke lovers he had found upon his journey. Before long I had to depart to provide commentary for the super cruise while Keith and his son waited for their turn to join the other cars out in the main arena.
I saw them as they lapped the arena in the little Moke dwarfed by the lifted, the blown and the bagged. A tiny little car with a bored little boy who didn’t understand why his dad was so happy. It was at this moment that I was given the opportunity to entice young Reece Into our tribe of passionate car lovers. It was left to me to choose the Top Cruiser in the super cruise. Without a moment of hesitation I flagged them to the side of the track and in front of a huge crowd I presented Keith and Reece with the award for Top Cruiser.
Sure there were plenty of bigger and louder and shinier and more expensive cars there. There were mechanics and race car drivers and professional engine builders. There were cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and some who could produce more than 2,000 horsepower. And now there was one with a happy little boy who was super proud of his dad and their Moke.
From a bored little boy to a winner. Keith tells me when they arrived home after 4 days of SummerNats and awards for top cruiser and 2nd in the grass driving his son for the first time wants to know more. Reece leapt into action cleaning up the shed so that the 2nd project Moke could be worked on and finished. He is proud as punch and I for one can’t wait to see him on his learner plates driving with his dad in the Moke that they built together.
Cars are so much more than a way to get from A to B. They are a passion. They bring families together. They connect children with their parents. They provide a point of contact for people to connect and build stories for lifetimes to come. If you ask any person at SummerNats what their car means to them, they all have a story. Not just Jason Mansweto who won Grand Champion at SummerNats this year. Not just Tim brown who won the Burnout Masters and $25,000 in prize money. But everyone there who made the pilgrimage to the the World’s Wildest Car Festival. Even little 9 year old Reece who spent the weekend with his dad and a little green Moke.