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Hot Rod Events

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1st Street Rod Nationals - 1973 - Narrandera, NSW.



When Mal Christie, a Narrandera rodder first spoke vaguely of holding a "National Street Rod Function" - one that would gather together all of Australia's hot rod and custom enthusiasts for a weekend of fun and good, old fashioned street rodding - he had little inkling of what he was starting.

His audience for that remark was John English, a Victorian who was a veteran drag racing and street rod enthusiast, passing through the small Riverina township of Narranderra on his way to Surfers Paradise for a drag meeting.

The idea appealed to John who had seen what a little organisation could do for drag racing, and saw also the possibilities for street rodding - if run properly on a national basis.
He suggested that Mal contact Trevor Edmunds, then the boss of the Australian Hot Rod Federation, the governing body of hot rodding and drag racing in this country.

Trevor was anxious to hear any suggestions about how to promote street rodding - and especially looking for a project his naional body could get their teeth into and demonstrate that it had an interest in the guys who helped get the whole hot rodding/drag racing thing off the ground in the first place.

The idea of a national run sounded just right. It had all the features Trevor's group wanted. It was an untried idea, but it had the possibilities of developing into something really worthwhile.
Meantime Mal had contacted the local council, which was obviously interested in anything likely to bring custom and public interest to their normally peaceful little town.

Trevor was soon in touch with Mal again, and things began to roll, but slowly at first, as the very size of the project began to make itself felt. Although planning on something much smaller than the final result turned out to be, organisational problems began to multiply with every passing day.

When Trevor stepped down from his job, the problem was handed over to the AHRF's Show/Street director Bob Dykes. Bob was a dedicated street Rodder with a long history in the Victorian scene, and felt sure of the possibilities of the event.

With a plan in his mind and the bit between his teeth, Bob dug in and began to expand the necessary official organisation in every State, making sure that each shared its portion of the load. During the early months of 1973, the final picture began to take shape and evolve into something much greater than planned.
In almost every town in the country, garages were the scenes of frantic activity as cars destined for the country's greatest-ever street Rodding event were prepared.

Once over though things weren't finished though. Planning was begun straight away for the future of the event! When and where? How big? How long? How much and how run? These were all questions, which had to be tackled and sorted out before the fine details could begin

In Easter '73 it finally happened. In spite of seemingly overwhelming problems, they rolled in across the Riverina from the North, South, East and West, determined to make it a never to be repeated occasion.

With more than 250 street rods and customs present, as well as many thousands of rodders just along for a look see, the four days of the run were successful beyond the organisers' wildest dreams. The problems seemed to dissolve before the onslaught of goodwill and camaraderie that was evident, and everyone came away with nothing but praise for the organisers and their brainchild.

Once again Narrandera was chosen as the site. It had the big advantage of being central, plus having a friendly and co-operative heirachy of local government officials. Every two years seemed best to ensure that enough time was available for planning. The now experienced team of organisers felt that they could handle anything that came their way and attendances of possibly five hundred rods were spoken of!

While everyone went back to their local program of street Rodding entertainment, the dedicated few worked on, preparing for the weekend still almost two years away.

Taken from the souvenir magazine "STREET ROD NATIONALS", text : Robert Riggs, photos : David Cook, Keith Burgan, Geoff Paradise (original cost 70c)

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