Almost three hundred cars descended on Lazy Ballerina Winery on Saturday December 27, 2014 for Any Given Reason’s Burger Meet 4, an informal gathering for AGR readers and their interesting cars.
With a late afternoon golden summer sun dipping below a rural horizon, a huge contingent of wildly eclectic cars formed one of the most diverse gatherings I’ve ever seen. And to think this happened at our own Burger Meet was humbling. To all who came – thank you.
Huge was the only word to describe it. It’s funny to think that Burger Meet started just a couple of years ago with a quick text message to some friends and a Facebook invite resulting in 45 cars at Blackwood after work one Friday. Just four Meets later and we’re pushing 300 cars and what must have been 400 people, which is getting to the stage where I actually need to start organising it as a proper event. But more on that later.
Burger Meet is first and foremost about the cars, and it really seems to be carving out a reputation as a meet for the weird and wonderful. That is none of my doing – that’s all down to everyone who brings along the coolest stuff they can lay their hands on. This 997 GT3 RS, in signature Porsche viper green, attended Burger Meet 2 and it was great to see it back again.
Mike has recently moved to Adelaide from Western Australia, and has brought with him a small collection of highly desirable classic Italian cars. He came along to Burger Meet in his stunning Fiat Dino Spider which he has restored over a period of many years, and it was an instant hit.
Parked up next to the Dino on the hill was Troy Ryan’s MGB, which other than its chin spoiler and superbly chosen Dunlop Jaguar D-Type style wheels hid more than a few secrets under its flawless green paintwork. It’s actually what’s known as an MG LE50 Plus, built in Abingdon by Frontline Developments. They start with a brand new MGB GT bodyshell from British Motor Heritage, seam weld and gusset it, and then fit a modified, quad-throttle 2.0 Mazda engine that produces 238hp and screams all the way to 7,800rpm. Throw in a six speed gearbox with a Quaife LSD and a kerb weight of just 941kg and this looks like a whole lot of fun.
Ben Fenwick’s old Ford F250 was one of the more original builds in attendance, and that big drop tank at the back is a good hint. This truck is actually built to handle, and it can regularly be seen tearing up Collingrove Hillclimb.
The most popular car of Burger Meet, by a long margin, was Alex Thomas’ tiny little 500cc Honda utility which he drove all the way from Adelaide’s northern suburbs. The little Honda is currently powered by a 500cc Subaru motor while Alex tracks down parts to complete the factory Honda engine.
The owner of this Jeep Grand Cherokee easily takes the prize for the furthest distance traveled to attend. Coming from Queensland, he is on a round Australia trip and timed it so that he could be in Adelaide for Burger Meet. How cool is that?
In fact, the thing that made Burger Meet so enjoyable is the same thing that is making this post almost impossible to write. Pretty much every car was interesting and noteworthy, but there just isn’t space here to write about them all.
I figured we might be able to fill the main park and that we had an overflow park if we needed it, however the main parking area was pretty much full by 6pm. As nervous as I was getting, it was thoroughly exciting to see what was streaming through the gates. 180’s followed by 911’s and Escorts and Fiat’s and Chasers and AMG’s and MR2’s and 86’s and everything in between. And everything was quality, which was great to see.
Now is the time to mention a quick point about friend of AGR, Michael Katsikitis. Michael, as some of you might know, is the owner/curator of a chronically clean Alfa Romeo 33 16V and a Sud track car. Every time the camera is pointed at him he has the innate ability to pull a stupid face, so we decided to immortalise him in the official Burger Meet sticker.
These little stickers were handed out at the meet, but I only had 200 so they ran out pretty quickly. You can hardly tell on the actual sticker, but if you blow it up and look carefully at the ballerina’s head on the bottle you just might notice him there, slumped lusciously over his chair.
It was great to meet a lot of readers and see your cars, but apologies for not having the time to properly talk to everyone (anyone?). It was all I could do to get these photos and keep an eye on the event as a whole, and I just didn’t have time for conversation. It was a little nuts there for a while.
And for the small group of people who were initially refused entry in a rather rude manner and left stranded on the roadside, please accept my sincerest apologies. There was a small misunderstanding regarding maximum capacity between a few of the staff members at the winery, who were all under pressure and doing the best they could to keep us happy. The arrangement we had was for a maximum number of people in the licensed part of the venue, but as many people as we liked in the car park. At one point a staff member thought the venue was over its legal capacity by about 250 people and was concerned about the whopping great fine that could result for them, but she wasn’t aware of our car park arrangement and it was quickly sorted out. Nonetheless, please accept my apology.
But I guess that’s all part of the Any Given Reason story, right? I’m not a professional photographer or writer and, as it turns out, not a professional event planner either. This whole blog is a big learning exercise, and so is Burger Meet. I can’t promise Burger Meet 5 will be a polished show, but I can promise that each one will be better than the last one. One day we’ll eventually get there!
Burger Meet 5 won’t happen for a little while, but when it does it will probably be a little different. It’s either going to be intentionally smaller, or intentionally bigger but with more organisation. We’ll see how it pans out.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles
Many thanks to James and his team at Lazy Ballerina Winery for hosting us, and their good humor about an event that was way bigger than they ever expected. Check out their website for more info.
Also a huge thanks to Luke Jaksa, Chantelle Franklin, Karl von Sanden and a few kind attendees who jumped in to direct traffic. You’re all champions.
It’s a long story that isn’t yet finished. After the long lines for food at Burger Meet 3, we needed better catering. Unfortunately Burger Meet 4 coincided with an Adelaide food truck convention and there was not an available food truck in all of Adelaide on the night of the 27th. I called them all. No stress – I found Nick who ran a catering company, and he promised great things with (apparently) plenty of experience serving quality gourmet food at major events. We struck a deal for his company to cater for definitely 200 and possibly up to 300 people, and I personally paid a sizable cash deposit to secure his attendance and cover supplies for 300 serves.
The short version is that he didn’t deliver on our agreement, and quite frankly his company’s service and product was more than a joke; it was an embarrassment. They arrived late, they didn’t have the capacity to cater for even half the numbers we agreed on and the product, when finally delivered after a ridiculously long wait, did not include most of the ingredients that were promised (caramelised onion, fancy lettuce, special sauces etc) and was frankly pretty shitty. They ran out of fries early on, and those that did get them could have counted the number on one hand. It was an embarrassment. It’s worth mentioning that the staff at the winery, Lazy Ballerina, had nothing to do with the catering but were left to deal with the major headache that resulted on the day.
I’d like to pass on the sincerest of apologies to everyone who wasn’t able to get a burger, to everyone who had to wait an unacceptably long time to get a burger, and everyone who paid good money for a sub-standard meal. But more than my apologies, I’d like to pass on my thanks for your good humor and understanding of the situation.
It’s now more than a week later and I still haven’t been able to even speak with our friend Nick about the issue. But when I do, I’ll be looking for some money back from him. And if it comes through, it will be spent on returning the favor to all of you as a measure of goodwill. Watch this space.