There are many things that can be said about the events run by Downtime Entertainment, but in the interests of simplicity, we’ll keep it to just one word — fluid. That’s how the old ‘divide’ between various sectors of the automotive scene have been gradually merged together by events like AutoFest and SummerJam. A relative newcomer onto the local automotive event promotion scene, Downtime Entertainment has avoided the pitfalls inherent in the automotive event game, making good on a drive to cater to both the import and V8 scenes.
The brains of it all, Alan and Paretauira Togia, are upfront about the fact that they hope to create a Kiwi automotive festival at the level of the renowned Australian Summernats festival. What sets them apart from those who have tried and failed in the past, though, is a sober realization of the magnitude of such a task, and with both SummerJam and AutoFest, realistic targets are set while that end goal is always kept in mind.
It’s the AutoFest event, held in March, that holds top honours as the big one, while SummerJam was introduced as a warm-up — pun not intended — to take place toward the beginning of summer. With the inaugural SummerJam held toward the end of 2016, the team was pleasantly surprised by the event’s success, and quickly vowed to make the follow-up even better. They didn’t disappoint. For 2017, the show formula remained largely unchanged, but the event took place at an all-new venue, foregoing Mystery Creek Events Centre in the Waikato for ASB Baypark in Mount Maunganui.
The event included enough to keep even those with just a passing interest in cars satisfied, offering an extensive selection of vehicles — both of the V8 and import varieties — to cater for petrolheads keen on just about every conceivable style of vehicle.
Of course, the turnout was nothing to be sneezed at. Low-riders, street machines, burnout weapons, and the myriad Japanese performance cars provided an interesting automotive landscape to wander through.
You never really knew what you’d find tucked away in the hardpark, located on the periphery of the venue — cars like this wild pro-street Chev Nova.
And the same went for the outdoor show and shine. Check out Rob and Lisa Cooper’s tough Holden VK Commodore — a modern interpretation of Holden’s iconic ‘Big Banger’ Commodores, powered by a staunch LS and T56 six-speed combo.
And Hayden Wilson’s quick VL Commodore is another surprise, albeit a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The worked RB30ET easily runs in the 10s, and we doubt it’s going to be too long before we see this thing crack a nine.
And how about this slick Toyota Crown (MS60) coupe! This has got to have been a comprehensive restoration, because what would be the chances of barn-finding something this exquisite?
But for all the huge crowds filtering through the ASB Baypark gates over the course of the day, the most concentrated gathering of people covered the grandstand seating around The Rock FM’s burnout pad.
Of course, even with the high calibre of entrants, who could hold a candle to Rob Toheriri’s ‘AGROXB’ Falcon coupe, with 468 supercharged cubes to vandalize the treads with.
While Rob was the clear winner, he had a bit of competition, especially from Steve Ellicott’s ‘L0R0TA’ Mazda 808 wagon — a tough little car that was probably the crowd favourite, and certainly put up a fight, with Steve skidding the thing as brutally as he built it to.
You can catch the full SummerJam 2017 event report in the next issue of NZV8 [Issue No. 154], and make sure you lock the date of Saturday, March 3, for when AutoFest rolls around to Mystery Creek Events Centre.