In an age where everything is digital this and online that, it’s often easy to become swayed by the disconnect that the internet can enforce upon us. The ‘Net is the most brilliant tool in the world when used properly, but you must never forget that there’s still no substitute for a good ‘ol fashioned get-together.
For an Any Given Reason story I usually just take some photos, lay down some words, click publish and a few days’ later I might check some stats about how many people have read it. But who are these people? Surely some of them must drive some interesting cars? And that’s basically about as complicated as Burger Meet has ever been – to get the various online AGR readers and Facebook followers together so we can all have a look at each others’ cars over a burger and a beer.
Given how Burger Meet started three years ago as an after-work Friday night gathering in a supermarket carpark in Blackwood, it’s safe to say that I am truly humbled by the response to Any Given Reason’s latest meet at Penny’s Hill in McLaren Vale. It keeps getting bigger and bigger each year, and the turnout keeps catching me completely by surprise. Burger Meet V on December 27 was so big that I didn’t even have a chance to count numbers of cars, let alone how many people actually attended. At an easy guess I’d conservatively estimate maybe 350 cars, and probably 500+ people. A huge thank you to everyone who attended and made the evening what it was – you guys are champs.
Despite the growth Burger Meet has never been about numbers and it never will be, it’s about assembling the widest range of the most eclectic and interesting vehicles that we possibly can. Variety is most definitely the spice of life, and one of my favorite experiences of the past 12 months was watching the sheer variety roll through the gates at Penny’s Hill the other evening.
Whilst on the topic of early French cars, it’s difficult to overlook Simon’s immaculate Renault R8 Gordini. These Australian delivered Gordini’s were only sold to buyers who held a CAMS competition license and could prove intent to use it for motorsport, yet somehow this example slipped through the cracks and was never seriously raced.
Whilst on the subject of motorsport, we were truly privileged to have several cars with significant competition histories present at Burger Meet. Jeremy’s Lancia Fulvia 1.6 HF Rallye is a genuine ex-works Lancia factory rally car that was driven to second place outright in the 1972 San Remo Rally by Sergio Barbasio.
Penny’s Hill owner Tony Parkinson is a noted petrol head, and his 1955 Austin Healey 100S took pride of place not only at the meet but on the event poster too. The 100S came from the factory as displayed here in full race spec (the GT3 RSR of its time, if you will) and is one of 55 built and just 32 remaining today. Tony’s 100S chassis 3906 was first owned by Stan Jones and has an incredibly extensive history, including competing in the 1956 Australian Grand Prix and the 2007 Millie Miglia in Italy.
Mike Lowe drove up in his incredibly rare 1959 Abarth 750 Zagato, which was delivered new to the Bahamas. It was raced extensively there and all across the United States in period, before eventually finding its way to Adelaide.
They weren’t the only veteren cars at Burger Meet – I don’t even know what this is but it has wooden spoked wheels, a supercharger and modern scruitineering stickers for racetracks and hillclimbs all around the country.
It ended up getting so busy that photography became almost a secondary thing for me, and unfortunately my photos are a little rushed. I missed a stack of cars – there’s some awesome stuff that I didn’t get photos of, and some cars I’ve only now just noticed in some other photos that are beginning to pop up around the place. But I guess that’s half the fun.
Penny’s Hill turned out to be the perfect venue for Burger Meet. Other than a bit of a traffic bottleneck for a half hour as everybody turned up at the same time, the picturesque winery provided ample space for parking and requisite socialising.
And not to mention the burgers themselves, which I’m sure everyone will agree were light-years better than last year. Max at Penny’s Hill runs an incredibly tight ship and was a pleasure to deal with, along with his talented team of true professionals…
The bigger that Burger Meet gets, the more of a collaborative effort it becomes. I’m just a guy who likes cars and I really don’t have any idea how to organise an event for 600 people, but little by little we’re getting there. In addition to the team at Penny’s Hill handling the catering and venue side of things, I had some help from a small team of people to turn our ideas into reality.
Trav Harris came on board through his charity Racing for James, which raises both funds for Novita and awareness of the issues faced by children who live with disabilities in South Australia. He put together a team of four other volunteers to direct traffic, and thanks to the donations of those who attended they raised a staggering $935!
An event poster is something I’ve wanted to do for Burger Meet for a while, so this year I decided to make it happen and got Sean from Sean Kane Design to whip something up. Tom Gilbert of Adelaide Hills Toyota didn’t hesitate in sponsoring the poster, which meant I wasn’t personally out of pocket for the various costs that come with holding an event like this. Thanks Tom – head up to Mount Barker and see him for your next Toyota!
And thanks to Luke Jaksa who’s helped me organise this event from six months ago. His attention to detail is excellent, right down to the repeated sampling of Penny’s Hill wine and the beer to make sure it was up to the level expected of an Any Given Reason Burger Meet.
But mostly, thanks to all the AGR readers out there for coming and proving again the popularity of Burger Meet. With support like this it gives us the confidence to keep improving and delivering a better event each time – watch this space. And the sheer volume of positive comments on the various social medias after the event has been a little overwhelming, so thanks for giving your feedback.