‘Vantastic’ weekend for car lovers

VANS ROLL IN: The inaugural Majestic Vanners South Australian State Van Titles will be held this weekend.

THE Limestone Coast will host every car lover’s ‘vantasy’ this week as the inaugural Majestic Vanners South Australian state titles take place.

Mount Gambier will serve as the central meeting point for classic panel and delivery vans, Kombi vans and many more styles from Friday, kicking off three days of cruise events and vehicle displays.

Naracoorte couple Ali and Rod Slotegraaf are spearheading the new event, expecting more than 50 vehicles and around 100 people from across South Australia and Victoria.

The Limestone Coast is home to nine registered ‘Vanners’ with the Slotegraafs hoping to make the event an annual fixture given its fundraising focus, with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to receive this year’s proceeds.

Vans will hit the road Saturday morning, meeting at the Valley Lakes from 10am before cruising to Port MacDonnell at 10.30am.

Participants will also enjoy a lunch at Mount Gambier Community RSL and dinner at Blue Lake Golf Club from 6pm, with the optional theme ‘op shop fashion’ adding to the atmosphere.

Sunday ramps up from 8am with vehicles congregating at the Valley Lake, with the official event – including catering, entertainment, a silent auction and raffle – from 10am to 2pm.

South Australian registered vans are eligible for the title event, while a show and shine will also be held to allow Victorian entrants to compete for top honours.

Ms Slotegraaf – who is a health worker – said the event had strict COVID protocols in place for the “vantastic” weekend, with many Victorians eager to dust off their vans and hit the open road.

“The feedback we’ve had from people is just enormous – they can’t wait to get over here,” she said.

“You can feel the excitement from them and the coming together of the two states.

“Being a border community we have been very aware how (COVID) has affected our Victorian neighbours.”

It has been a whirlwind ride for the couple since rediscovering their love for vans in recent years.

“My husband and I have been married for many years and he once had a panel van that he sold for a house deposit and I don’t think he ever recovered from that,” Ms Slotegraaf said.

“As our kids have left home and we’ve had more time and money, we’ve been able to develop our interest again,” she said, adding Rod had completed a vehicle conversion to a delivery van.

The passion snowballed into the couple travelling to other Majestic Vanners events and independent showcases, with a ‘van-in’ in Port Hughes last year planting the seed for a South Australian title event.

Ms Slotegraaf hopes through the auction, raffle and other fundraising measures – including a gold coin donation for spectators – the event can raise significant funds for the RFDS.

“I see just about on a daily basis that they are present in our community,” Ms Slotegraaf said.

“The number of people I’ve seen them come and collect is significant and a lot of the time it is lifesaving for those people,” she said.

Search 2021 SA State Van Titles on Facebook for more information.

Registrations are welcomed on the day.