The Atlanta Motorama
The Atlanta Motorama

Compiling and reporting event coverage is probably one of the most challenging tasks for me as a contributor to Speedhunters. Maybe it’s because I generally struggle to find an out of the box angle, and when I do it’s usually segued into a culture piece of sorts where you’ll find me enthusiastically ranting about my experiences. Though sometimes I’ll get lucky, as the event simply presents itself. Which was exactly the case for the second annual Summit Racing Motorama hosted by Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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Just like most things directly under my nose, I’ll admit that I’d never heard of the Motorama, and I certainly didn’t know what to expect. Yet a quick Google search instantly dismissed those feelings as I reviewed the event’s agenda, which included lawnmower racing, monster truck car crushing exhibitions, a swap meet, and burnout competitions.

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Lawnmower racing!? Monster trucks!? Burnouts!? It’s almost as if this event was made for the Matt Jones’s of the world. So I jumped in the car and headed south on a rainy Saturday a couple of weeks back to see what I could produce…

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Immediately, as I entered the parking lot and stepped out of my car, I heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album being projected over the grandstand speakers. At that moment I was assured that my efforts would be well rewarded.

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Once my entry fee was paid, I found myself walking towards the infield where I overheard a group of folks talking. “You here for the lawnmower racin’?” “Sure am,” another man replied. Regardless of the excitement bursting from my eyeballs, I resisted foolishly shouting something along the lines of, “Yewww! Lawnmower racin’! F yea!” and continued about my way.

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The situation in the heart of the event was no different: screeching tires, roaring monster trucks and even an overwhelming culture shock. I was fully in it.

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I even ran into an old buddy who approached me stating how he was about to do some hot laps in his stock Beemer. “Huh?” I said. “What’s the fee? Any inspection or regulations?” He replied with a simple, “Nope, it’s free – just pull up, get in line, inspect the car yourself and hit the track”. Sweet Jesus – this was almost too good to be true!

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As if it couldn’t get any better, the car show aspect of the event turned out to be an absolute goldmine.

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The infield was literally littered with glorious machines…

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Original classics, elaborate restorations, rat rods, exotics – you name it. But we’ll get back to that in a moment, because right now it’s lawnmower racin’ time!

The Carnage
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I know what you’re thinking – ‘lawnmower racing? Get out of here with that crap!’ I know, but come on – deep down inside you there has to be be a small child who flares up with excitement at the thought of a bunch of grown men ripping around a dirt track on ride-on mowers. And as the crowds started lining the fences, the child in me was exploding with anticipation.

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Though unfortunately, to my surprise, the track was deemed unfit for competition due to the wet conditions. Womp womp, I know. Maybe next time…

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But again, with this being my first opportunity to actually investigate the sport, I snuck behind the ropes and entered the pits to dig a little deeper.

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Turns out, most of these men have been racing mowers a great majority of their lives. Each machine tends top out around 50 to 60mph, and despite the amount of money poured into each mower, the participants only race for pride and friendship – and maybe a shiny trophy from time to time.

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And though the mower racing was cancelled, there was still a great deal of oddball entertainment to keep me occupied. Monster trucks doing donuts and jumping cars, for starters.

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What I wouldn’t do to be able to shoot a full feature on a monster truck. Can you image the carnage?

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The swap meet was also fairly amusing, as the lots were scattered with the upmost random parts and antiques.

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For instance – helicopter seats.

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And while jumping from one market to the next, I quickly found myself amidst the Motorama’s classic car auction, where more than a few dozen cars were accepting new homes.

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Although Speedhunters is solely dedicated to machines with at least three wheels, it would be a disservice for me not to mention the two-wheeled section of the event.

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Seriously, just look at the ingenuity on this CB550 – absolutely gorgeous. And this isn’t because I have an undeniable passion for motorcycles that I’m secretly trying to blend into Speedhunters… I promise.

The Cars
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With the oddities out of the way, it was time to circle back to actual car show portion of the event. Now, I know you probably feel that the only reason I’m interested in this genre of automobiles is to stray from the pack, but believe me when I say, one of the most fascinating aspects of the hot rod community is the attention to detail in their engine bays. It’s the kind of craftsmanship you rarely see in the import car world.

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Take this this 56’ Chevy 210 hardtop for example. Shaved, tucked and fabbed to the tee.

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Or more at the modern end, this 5.7-liter Hemi-swapped 1950s Willys Jeep built by Atlanta native, Jesse Spade. Absolutely battle-ready, yet entirely ready for the show.

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In addition to these types of builds, more than often you’re also greeted with a flawless interior, like the intricate stitching and pristine metal fabrication in this ’36 humpback roadster. Some day I’ll reveal this thing in a full feature…

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Yet with your finely tuned cars, also comes your finely off-the-wall creations.

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Although there were dozens of unique rat rods in attendance, this ’31 Ford stuck out to me the most – most likely because of the ’65 Mercruiser power plant joined with a 5-speed Camaro tranny, an 8-inch Granada rear end and ’56 Ford truck brakes.

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This 1926 Studebaker Big Six also caught my attention.

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It’s incredible to see a machine nearly 90 years old with a presence that appears so modern and aggressive. Aesthetically, I think the only thing it’s missing is a tommy gun.

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Lastly, what would a Southern hot rod corral be without a great American Rambler with a massive blower on top? Keep your eyes peeled for a possible spotlight feature on this bad boy…

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As the excitement started purging, so did the skies, and it was time to hit the road to find shelter. With all said and done, I couldn’t been more pleased with the outcome of the Motorama, and will be sure to have it on my list as a ‘must attend’ for years to come – sh*tty weather and all.

Matthew Jones
matt@speedhunters.com
Instagram: MatthewJonesPhoto

Cutting Room Floor
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29 comments

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1
Speedhunters_Bryn

Nice selection of random stuff, gets my vote. I'm kind of kicking myself because I could actually do a feature on a Monster truck very easily, I have access to two of them. Oh and lawnmower racing? One day...

2

Speedhunters_Bryn Do the monster truck, Bryn. Please do.

3

Why small photos?

4
EricSeanDelaney

I like your randomness. You're really all over the place, from Saturday night circle track, to fancy cars and coffee cars to this. I like it. 

And oh, I saw some lawn mower racing last year for the first time. It's weird, but fascinating at the same time.

5

more pics of the superbird!!!

6
cutterjones13

no more from this guy.....that can't be the most interesting images from the show, and the writings not up to SpeedHunters level.

7

cutterjones13 would you like some cheese with your whine?

8

I love the Matt Jones side of things. The best thing about Speedhunters is the variety of material and the fact that you don't discriminate from any kind of "scene". And I think the Matt Jones stories embody that the best. Just great, off-the-wall, backwoods goodness.

9

I'm more interested in that bike thingy with the number 2 on it. Great stuff.

10
Brentonmartian

love getting a bit of insight into these events, so far removed from what I'm used to and that is awesome!

11

Leebea W much appreciated!

12

I saw some awesome lawn mower racing last year. There seemed to be a couple of classes, most were "stock" looking with some aggressive camber, but there were some with motorbike engines that revved to the clappers and had almost no traction on the wet grass. They looked to be having quite a fun time!

13

Mmmoooaaarrr Monster Truck Madness!!!  Ten dollars buys you the whole seat, but you only need the edge!  :-)

14

Pics are great but could you please work on your prose? For example, link one paragraph to the next, preferably to tell an overall story. Also, using a first person style doesn't mean the story is about you which is how this came across to me. This probably sounds rude but heaps of people make that mistake.

Like I say, great images though.

15

F*cking Yee-Haw! that was awesome, and 2 seats from a whirleybird! thanks Matt Jones 

sure is boring up here in vancouver bc land, kill for a good mower race :)

16

Much better writing on this one Matt, and this long-time reader approves your random content. They may not be the most glorious shows or races, but makes up for it in old-school American soul. 

Would love to see the occasional odd side of racing from the other continents, too *hint hint*

17
Throbbingsunburntplums

And seedless gripes...

18

Cracking smorgasbord of material.
Also i cannot be the only one who wouldn't mind an actual article on Lawnmower racing? I have no idea of class structure or anything. I think it would be great.

19

Moar sickles!

20
GrammarPatrol911

I'm a vintage bimmer fan and also love hot rods!

21
FuriousSmiles

This reminds me of the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona i loved all of the rides EXCEPT for the one with the Rebel Flag.

22
cutterjones13

Throbbingsunburntplums
that's cute, kids. still have same opinion, the dude can't write and the pics are boring.

23

You made a rained out car show even more boring.  Like others have said either start writing and shooting at a level expected of this site or move along.

24

@cutterjones13 you wouldn't perhaps be 13 years old, because i think you might be..

25
cutterjones13

simon potter If you like this fine, but I'm not going to change my mind because some troll wants to bait me out.

26

Not to SpeedHunters level, undeniably.

27

All in all I liked the article.

28

Please don't let opinions of trolls stop you from doing your thing. You are the reason I became a regular SpeedHunters reader. We all know a huge attraction to cars is the culture at events, especially the weird ones. Your writing is awesome, and the different style of photography is refreshing.  There's enough writers doing the same old,  keep it up, Matt.

29

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