Rev heads unite! Rockynats is coming to town
LADIES and gentlemen start your engines because in a Queensland first, the Summernats is coming to Rockhampton.
Rockynats will race into town for the first time in June 2020 as part of a three-day event that will see burnouts, drift racing and show cars take over the city.
More than 500 cars are expected to be showcased in the different events throughout the weekend.
Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow was ecstatic to make the announcement, alongside one of the Summernats Festival owners Andy Lopez.
"The beauty of Rockynats is that our event will be the one and only Summernats event in Queensland pulling an audience," Cr Strelow said.
It is anticipated people will travel from across the country for the event, which runs from June 26 - 28 next year.
For Mr Lopez, the decision to brings Summernats to Rockhampton was an easy one.
"The Summernats (in Canberra) after 32 years has had 2000 cars and more than 100,000 people in four days," he said.
"It has grown to be the biggest car festival in Australia and the wildest car festival in the world, so buckle up."
The conversation to bring Summernats to Rockhampton first came about during the council's bid for the Supercars.
Cr Strelow said Rockynats would prove to be much more cost effective for the council.
"We've been having serious conversations for about six months," she said.
"We have only got 14 months until this thing happens, so it is time to roll it out and get excited."
Street drags, burnout masters, drifting, show and shine, cruising, and a street parade will be the main events with other elements still being developed.
Yesterday, the council revealed the riverside locations to host different events.
"The drifting will be on the low bank car park on Victoria Parade in front of Empire," Cr Strelow said.
"The Show and Shine will be on Quay St, the burnouts on the northside around the boat ramp carpark, and that will be a ticketed event.
"The drag racing will be on Quay Street, starting around the Heritage Hotel and heading towards Depot Hill.
"It's all right in the middle of the city so it's accessible to everybody."
The Rockynats three-day festival brings elements that aren't seen at other Summernats events so organisers are confident there will be widespread interest.
"It brings great life, colour and diversity to a city," Mr Lopez said.
"The cars are coming and it is going to be huge."
Having witnessed the success and growth of the festival over the past 32 years, Mr Lopez knows first hand of the huge flow-on benefits to the region.
"At the Red CentreNats in Alice Springs, punters spend an average of 10 days travelling across the region," he said.
"Our punters are going to love the add on tourism that is here.
"It is not just about coming to the event, spending two days here and then shooting out of town.
"It is not just the event, but it's also about whether they stay after and go fishing, do the walks, visit Mt Morgan, spend money elsewhere in the region, have a fat time and come back again."
With over $3.5million spent by ACT Summernats entrants, just to get their cars ready for the event, Mr Lopez is confident the same economic impact will be felt across this region.
The ACT government measured a $28.5million impact from its four-day festival.
"What we will set out to do is create a really fantastic event, bring a pile of cars and a lot of people and fill these hotel rooms and if we do that than we have done our job," Mr Lopez said.
He said the target had been set for more than 500 cars for the Rockhampton festival.
Hopeful to see the Rockynats in the city for years to come, Cr Strelow said Central Queensland will be a hot spot for motoring enthusiasts.
"For Queenslanders who want to experience the excitement of Nats without having to go to Canberra, we are the place to be and will be for some time to come.
"This is a really great event for us and it is great for our economy," she said.