Any Given Reason reports on so many other events that I guess it’s only fair that the tables should turn and AGR should host an event once in a while. Enter Burger Meet, an annual gathering for interesting cars and their owners in a relaxed atmosphere, where enthusiasts can just relax and check out some machines with a burger and drink in hand. There’s no planned drive or registration or entry fee, in fact all of that stuff is hastily avoided. It’s about getting the widest selection of automotive intrigue assembled with as little organisation as is necessary.
It’s about a shared love of cars and the belief that whilst everyone has their preferences, a true enthusiast can appreciate anything automotive that’s a little out of the ordinary. And with the sixth Burger Meet having just taken place at Penny’s Hill Wines on Boxing Day 2016, the concept seems to be holding tight.
Burger Meet has traditionally moved to a different venue each year, but after the 2015 event I was left pondering just why we’d bother shifting from Penny’s Hill. A sympathetic petrol-head owner welcomes Burger Meet with open arms, the venue is perfect and it just happens to be located right in the middle of one of Australia’s most picturesque wine regions in McLaren Vale. So for 2016 we returned to Penny’s Hill, with the aim of tweaking a few little details to hopefully improve the experience.
First up was the Burger Production. Burgers are in the name and henceforth are an integral part of the meet, and chef Tom Boden stepped in and revolutionised things. Tom has just started his own fine-dining restaurant at Penny’s Hill called The Kitchen Door, and managed a small team who knocked out with military precision what are likely the best burgers in Burger Meet history. As a nice little side note, all of the major components of the burger were sourced locally in the McLaren Vale region, and you could taste the difference.
Tom used his connections to ply the event with local south coast Swell beer. It was purely a lucky coincidence that it happens to be one of my favorites, I swear. These joined locally produced wines from Penny’s Hill and The Black Chook on the drinks menu.
Traffic management has never been something we’ve had to properly consider, but last year there was a bit of a queue to get in and as an old car owner myself I was very conscious of the angst that a stationary idling old or modified car can bring. We were determined that it wouldn’t be an issue this year, so we actually came up with a traffic management plan (look how grown-up we are) and it all seemed to flow pretty well.
… and for the second time we made a poster which was on sale at the meet. We worked with graphic artist Matthew Hoss (@10.and.2 on Instagram) across in Denver, Colorado who created the cool side profile drawings of six local Adelaide cars, Luke Jaksa and myself adapted the Lancer Evolution VI logo into a Burger Meet logo and then put it all together into the poster. For the second time running, Tom Gilbert at Adelaide Hills Toyota came on board and with his support made the poster production a reality.
But at the end of the day none of this really matters. That first Burger Meet in the carpark of the Blackwood Coles was about an appreciation of cars, and six Burger Meet’s later it’s no different. It’s a real bring-what-you’ve-got affair and every year I am nothing short of astouded by what rolls, scrapes, hops and jolts through the gates. 2016 was no different, and it’s a heartwarming indication of just how much cool stuff is hiding in the sheds of Adelaide.
It’s had a run at the Legend of the Lakes hillclimb at Mount Gambier and the Twilight Tarmac Rallysprint at AIR, but as you can probably tell from it’s cleanliness it is yet to run on gravel. It will likely make it’s gravel debut in 2017.
The trio of Abarth’s was rounded out by Mike Lowe’s Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, which is a legitimate LHD Abarth factory built rally car. The Assetto Corse is usually kept in New Zealand, but Mike has temporarily imported it to Australia for the recent Classic Adelaide and for Targa Tasmania in 2017. Oh, and for Burger Meet of course.
And this here is proof that Karl was not the last person to remove his Classic Adelaide stickers. Having seen him commuting to work in the city on more than one occasion over the past couple of weeks with his Classic stickers still on (“I missed the bus again”), I never truly believed that they would be removed before the New Year. But here we are.
Penny’s Hill owner Tony Parkinson arranged a few from his own collection inside the barn usually used for wedding functions. His genuine Healey 100S sat alongside an Audi R8, a new generation Ford Mustang…
Easily the award for furthest distance traveled goes to Cam, who drove down from Darwin to come to Burger Meet. Well, not quite. Cam is on a month-long road trip in his Kombi, and has so far driven from Darwin across to Cairns and then down the East Coast. I think it’s pretty cool that he stopped by Burger Meet on his trip.
The first forecast a few days out slated the temperature at over 40deg, and I’m sure that caused a lot of people to change their plans. And for good reason too, I’d never endure a 40deg drive in my Fiat again.
The BOM then revised their forecast away from 40deg, but instead predicted heavy rain for most of the day. I was almost convinced that we were going to be rained out, but there was a slight glimmer of hope when I checked the radar at lunchtime and could see that the rain enveloping most of South Australia was somehow skirting around McLaren Vale. I left a drenched Adelaide and hoped for the best.
Well, it started spitting for about five minutes but stopped soon after. It was just enough rain for the convertible owners to go and put their roofs up and for me to get a little concerned that our luck might have run out.
The forecast rain never eventuated. I was a little bummed that we wouldn’t get a spectacular sunset like we did last year, but the overcast conditions created some beautiful diffuse light that changed every few minutes which nicely aided those taking photos. Given the amount of rain we had the following day, I still can’t quite believe that we somehow managed to dodge not just the 40deg day but also the predicted storms. The God’s must be petrol-heads.
At this exact moment it was raining quite heavily down in Adelaide, and a few of us had about ten minutes to run around and snap the remaining cars before the dark clouds obscured the sun. When I woke up that morning to pouring rain, I never quite imagined the day would end with golden rays. I don’t think we could have been any luckier.
Speaking of being lucky, my girlfriend Chantelle and Luke’s father Viano kindly volunteered their time to man our little merch tent. And not to mention all of the work that Luke Jaksa has put in to make this event a reality, a lot of things would not have happened it if weren’t for his tireless efforts. Thanks, team!
A limited number of Burger Meet shirts, stickers and posters are still available – email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Also flick me an email to the same address with any comments or suggestions for next year.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles.