Revisiting Racewars: What Makes A Good Event?
Making Assumptions

Is it a fair assumption that most of us here have been to more car events than we can count? Can I also assume that that within that near-infinite list of semi-forgettable functions lies a short-hand list of must-attend events that stand out? Have you paused to consider what elevates these highlights?

Yeah, me neither. Until now.

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The catalyst for this deep reflection, as you’ve rightly assumed, is my latest Racewars adventure. I covered it comprehensively last year, but the elevator pitch for the fast-growing Western Australia event is a bunch of  crazy Gatebil-esque builds descending on a remote 1.8km-long airstrip and competing in various high speed competitions.

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The 1000m V-Max Challenge is the main event, and for this test automobiles of all vintages, budgets and disciplines compete for both top speed honours and the fastest run.

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It’s raw, it’s fast, it’s furious, and that’s no coincidence. It’s Australia’s interpretation of a particular scene from an early ’00s Hollywood blockbuster. I’m sure you’ve already figured it out.

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After a quick walk through the paddock, one might mistake that movie for Mad Max, though. Doing their absolute worst to blend in with the traditional cars one expects to see on parade was a rusty LS-swapped Volvo, junkyard Ford Falcons, and even a carbon fibre diesel-spewing ute. It was absolutely mad, but refreshingly wonderful at the same time.

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If anyone was left unsatisfied with the eclectic mix of modified junkers, classics and sports sedans hurtling towards maximum velocity, there was the sideline event, too.

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Monday morning’s Supersprint, which despite being reasonably well organised is little more than an excuse for adults to spend a morning breaking speed limits, blazing tyres or a combination of both on public roads.

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Legally, of course.

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Typically, I’m all about corners, so it makes no sense for me to be excited for an event that’s almost exclusively focused on blasting down a straight line. But with that said, 2017’s Racewars was rock solid and a highlight on my calendar.

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Before heading along to this year’s event, I wondered if it would live up to expectations, but I was wrong to even think it wouldn’t. After all, what’s not to like when you have Australia’s most diverse group of modified vehicles racing against breathtaking scenery. It almost sounds like a movie. Ultimately, the event overdelivered, and in the process cemented itself in my personal top three Australian events.

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The Top Three

What shows top Racewars I hear you ask? Currently, if you’re in Australia, or thinking of making an automotive pilgrimage, I’d recommend the Bathurst 12 Hour. It’s not just the pinnacle of Australian racing, but also an opportunity for a somewhat petrol-centric, semi-religious experience. Memories of GT cars bathed in the golden glow of sunrise, belting past you across the peak of Mount Panorama will stay with you for as long as you live.

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Closely behind the 12 Hour endurance is almost the exact opposite racing format. Rather than watching several classes go door-to-door for an entire day, I’d recommend you watch single cars on their all-or-nothing physics-defying sprints that have led to World Time Attack Challenge’s global success.

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Curiously, my freshly crowned, third favorite event is mostly a form of drag racing. A format that’s never really managed to entice me into following a specific team or driver.

So how did an event in a remote part of the country, attended almost exclusively by strangers, that revolves around something I don’t usually get excited about leapfrog so many other events on a very packed calendar?

Fun. Bucket loads of fun. For both big kids, and small. Racewars is an event that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, and the vibe that creates is second to none.

Saying it’s fun is a simple statement, potentially one that may sound dumb to list as a single reason. But as simple as fun is, it’s sadly a very often overlooked aspect of hosting an event.

Fun is something that somehow even manages to fall between the cracks of smaller events these days. People seem to be more focused on giving punters the impression that they’re dealing with a more significant, more experienced entity over delivering a good time.

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You’ve heard what I’ve had to say, but now that you’ve had time to consider it, what’s the stand-out quality that in your mind defines a great event?

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham
matt@mattheweveringham.com

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43 comments

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1
Dave the pilgrim

Great write up Matt, you summed the event up well. It is the sum of its parts, the largest of those being fun. I will most definitely be returning again, intrigued to see how much #stepupyourgame is left in the tank considering the calibre of machines presented this year.

Author2
Matthew Everingham

We're twelve months away, but I'm also already planning a return to Albany. :) Next year I might even try to organize a group of East Coasters to join me to experience the madness first hand, too.

3

Pretty sure there is plenty of #stepupyourgame left in the tank, judging by the last few years. Hopefully the wind isn't as much of an issue next year too.

4

Fun. That is the number one thing I want to focus on this year when attending automotive events. If I ask myself 'Did I have fun today/this weekend?', if the answer is a firm no (outside of freak weather storms ruining it) I don't think I'll go back a second time.

We all work hard to be able to afford our cars and how we modify them. There is enough stress that can be left at work when we clock out at 5 on a Friday, why are we not going out and enjoying ourselves and our cars and time spent with friends / family and having fun?

This year I attended the third annual 'Winter Drift' local to me, basically a track plowed out of snow on a lake.Due to high winds the track was sheer ice, but it was fun, I had a blast. I wasn't very good, my chosen ride was mediocre, but everyone there was there to hang out and have fun, and now I can't wait to go back next year and attend more actual drift events this year and hang out with people and have fun.

I think too many events are shooting themselves in the foot by almost taking the fun out of the event trying to make it seem like a larger big show production, especially grassroots events. I fully understand safety and passing tech, but things can still be 'fun', but when every volunteer is running around looking mad and frustrated and yelling at people, it quickly sours the mood for everyone involved.

Author5
Matthew Everingham

*Virtual High Five*
100% Safety should always be taken seriously and be well thought out in advance, but outside of that fun should be king.
Where are you located, Tim?

6

I am in the literally middle of Canada in Saskatchewan. I was looking forward to attending the season opener for drifting this year locally but I have a wedding to attend the same day :/ I will make it to a few days otherwise.

7

I'm a sucker for anything with a traditional HKS livery on it, so I'm totally in love with the R32 with HKS Super Oil livery..such an iconic design!

8
Sockkkkkk Racing

The wrap has now been removed :-(

9
Jonathan Murray

Winfield Dart King livery is surely impending!

10

Andrew Hawkins doesn’t do what Andrew Hawkins does for Andrew Hawkins. Andrew Hawkins does what Andrew Hawkins does because Andrew Hawkins is Andrew Hawkins !
- Andrew Hawkins

11

Great article! Check your grammar in the first paragraph, "Is it a fair assumption that most of >us< here have been to more car events than we can count? Can I also assume that ...." Just trying to help out!

12

Good read, very nice event so it seems. It made my chuckle as we also have a Racewars in Belgium but it's at the complete other end of this scale. Takes place at the track in Zolder which is a mickey mouse circuit, the only racing which takes place is a drag race of a quarter mile. It always cracks me up that the participants with very modest cars spend hours and hours of waiting in line just for one drag race. Now that's commitment!

13

I think it's great how that Corvette ZO6 is already prone to heating issues has a front plate blocking the opening.

14

Fun definitely out ranks intensity and/or competitiveness imo.

Fun will bring the people and brings them back, likely with everyone they've told how much enjoyment they've had.

15

The thing that people reading this probably don't realise is that in Western Australia our laws and regulations regarding modifying your car are suuuuuuper strict, and hooning is very much a crime! The fact that so many of the cars at Racewars are fully registered means someone somewhere has had to do a whole shit load of paperwork and deal with the hellish Department of Transport just so they can run an exposed filter or something equally as small.

16

I just need the keys belonging to that Motul R34 please and i'm all good.
And i will never forget to say "thank you" (my parents would be proud they raised a polite man).

Whenever over organizing happens the event will die slowly and the "boyz" will make a new committee and have fun again. Unless you can find some creative ways to keep the buzz.

17
Jonathan Murray

Great write up Matt. Striking the balance between something viable and something enjoyable isn't an easy thing. I think it's a credit to the people who get involved, sign up and come down to race just as much if not more than the event team for keeping it on the fun and frivolous side of the ledger.

People have always by and large done the right thing which means things have always been able to organically progress without too much interference or restrictive rules to deal with the 1% of idiots who ruin it / make it hard for people. Providing people keep doing the right thing events can keep being fun. As soon as people start making issues to deal with sadly things come to a grinding halt very very quickly. Especially in somewhere like Australia where cars and car culture is literally the devil.

18
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Aaaaaaand another year that I miss this. Great coverage Matt, looked like a ton of fun!

19
Jonathan Murray

Matty & his mate Bez have been drafted in to develop something completely new for 2019...

Author20
Matthew Everingham

New and improved....

21

you're perfect just the way you are Matt xoxo

22

Killa work thank you Matt, appreciate your work and love the shots of the skyline

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23

Great write up matt love the snaps of my foz you have mad skills behind the lense!!!

24

Long live the AU and step up your game for next years racewars!

25
Jonathan Murray

You mean actually make a pass without rods exiting the block? We can try, unsure if we can deliver!

26

I've been entering RW since the beginning and every year is an improvement on the previous. What really makes the event tick over smoothly is the support from the greater community, especially the residents of Albany. To give some perspective on where I'm coming from, this year my family and I rented a short-stay house in the centre of town. The curse of the lowered car is the steep driveway, which this place had, so it was street parking for me. So I'm out there giving the car a clean Friday evening after driving it down from Perth, and an elderly lady from a neighbouring house comes out the front and starts talking to me. I mention that we're down for "the big race event out at the airport" and that I was entering this car. "This car!?" she said in disbelief. I'm thinking, 'yes this car, what's wrong with this car? It's a good car!', but it turns out she hadn't really known what sort of cars race, and was happy to have something in mind now! I apologised in advance for the noise of the car, given I'd be up early Saturday and Sunday to head out, but she wasn't phased. She wished me luck for the weekend and that was that.

When you are welcomed like that rather than with the loathing that many people now have for 'hoons' and bogans, how can you not have a good time? Racears is a great event, but Racewars in Albany is a great weekend.

27
Jonathan Murray

Having the local support matters, there's no way we could roll the show in to just any community like we do in Albany without having to worry. Albany loves it, and we love Albany because of that.

28

Epic post!! Must try to come check this event out one day...

29

Looks like another fantastic event for all involved - competitors and spectators! Wasn't able to attend this year but the social media presence made it still decent to follow along I must say. After going to Racewars 17 it is nothing short of a great weekend away in a simply beautiful part of the world - Albany. Will be coming back for another holiday long weekend for Racewars 2019!

30

Here because I got told Matt was buying me free beer?

Author31
Matthew Everingham

I'm not buying. I'm drinking.

32
Jonathan Murray

You're comment #24. He's got a carton to get through now! :D

33
Matthew Everingham

I’m more of a shots kinda guy. Can we switch beers for tequila?

Author34
Matthew Everingham

Ah man, there's another Matthew Everingham in here! :O

35

Mr Jon, give me back my child workforce now that RW18 has concluded

36

Tom’s secondment has ended and he’s been returned to his substantive position as a full time mummy.

37

Have to say, seeing so many GTR’s in one place made me all tingly in the crotchular region. Special shout out goes to Simon’s black R32 going 290kmh. His car, like mine, runs a sequential and stock bottom end RB26 with 700+hp, but unlike mine is yet to run a 9 second pass. One day he shall reach great heights like I have, but for now he is doing ok for someone in the lowly 10-sec club of peasants.

38
Jonathan Murray

Marbles gets all tingly in that region every so often. Sometimes it's Hawko, sometimes it's saving money, sometimes it's bees. Whatever floats his boat I guess.

39

Because that pic of the Huracan is only a pic of the Huracan and nothing else *wink*.

Author40
Matthew Everingham

STOCK BOTTOM END!

41
Jonathan Murray

Stock bottom end RB25 NEO goes 300+ in a 32 Sedan, stock bottom end in 32 GT-R goes 291 with stonking E/T. Stock bottom end in AU goes bang... Wait wut... Still went better than half the big buck built shit anyways! :D

Stock 4 lyf!

42

Thanks for the coverage and thanks so much for making the images available for (easy) download. I was driving the Starlet and I'm going to frame the start line image next to the SW20 for my wall in the garage. Cheers.

43

Was an absolutely amazing weekend down south, cant wait too go back next year

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